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Release Date: 09/22/1999
Contact Information: Amy Miller, EPA Press Office (617-918-1042)

BOSTON - One company in Rhode Island was among 15 in New England recognized today by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for their demonstrated commitment to environmental leadership. Toray Plastics in North Kingston was recognized as part of EPA-New England's StarTrack program, which began in 1996 as a way to encourage facilities to become environmentally efficient while making better use of government resources.

The program works by rewarding those facilities that agree to complete three steps aimed at protecting the environment. The facilities agree to: audit their environmental management and compliance performance each year; publish an environmental performance report each year and have audit results reviewed and certified by an independent third party every three years.

By using a third party auditor rather than an EPA inspector, the company helps make more efficient use of public and private resources. The yearly performance reports increase public understanding of a facility's environmental performance. In return for their efforts, StarTrack companies get such benefits as limited amnesty on penalties for violations and public recognition.

"Companies like Toray Plastics are doing exemplary work developing and monitoring their own environmental systems," said John P. DeVillars, EPA's New England Administrator, who spoke at today's event. "That's good for the environment and good for taxpayers because it allows EPA to channel its energies to other, less environmentally responsible companies."

Toray Plastics has 600 employees and manufactures polyester and polypropylene films.

Companies outside Rhode Island that were honored were:

In Massachusetts: EG&G Optoelectronics in Salem; GAF Materials Corp. in Millis; Spalding Sports in Chicope; Texas Instruments/ Materials &Controls Group in Attleboro, and the US Coast Guard Air Station on Cape Cod.

In Connecticut: Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. in Stamford.; US Postal Service in Hartford and Unilever HPC in Clinton.

In Maine: BOC Gases of Kittery and International Paper Company's Androscoggin Mill of Jay.

In New Hampshire: Dexter Corporation/Polymer Systems in Seabrook; Dexter Corporation/Electronic Materials in Londonderry; Environmental Soil Management Inc. in Loudon; and the Sanders A. Lockheed Martin Co. with plants in Hudson, Nashua, Litchfield, Manchester and Merrimack