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Ellsworth Air Force Base joins EPA program for environmental leaders

Release Date: 10/31/2006
Contact Information: Mary Byrne USEPA, 303 312-6491; Richard Mylott USEPA, 303 312-6654; Lt. Lauren Wright, Ellsworth AFB, 605 385-5056

First Air Force Base in nation to join Performance Track

{10/31/2006 -- Denver, Colo.} At a ceremony today, Ellsworth Air Force Base became the first Air Force installation in the nation to be awarded membership into the Environmental Protection Agency’s Performance Track, a voluntary program that recognizes facilities that consistently exceed regulatory requirements and excel in protecting human health and the environment.

"Congratulations to each of the individuals who have contributed towards making Ellsworth Air Force Base a model of environmental performance," said EPA regional administrator, Robert E. Roberts. "You deserve the satisfaction of knowing that you are investing in environmental quality for our children and grandchildren."

Ellsworth Air Force Base, located near Rapid City, S.D., is the fifth South Dakota facility to join the more than 400 Performance Track program members nationwide. Ellsworth was selected for membership because its environmental programs have succeeded in integrating substantial energy, material use, and emissions reduction goals into base operations. The base reduced total energy use by 47 percent from 2003 to 2006 – 17 percent beyond the goal established by the Department of Defense. Ellsworth has also reduced total non-hazardous waste generated and sent to the local landfill by teaming with a local recycling facility to increase the waste diversion rate by 44 percent over the past two years.

Performance Track members also focus on opportunities for continuous improvement. Ellsworth Air Force Base has committed to significantly reduce hazardous materials use, including an effort to minimize or eliminate the use of film-process chemicals. In addition, the base has initiated a program which will cut hazardous waste generation by reducing the disposal of shop rags by 50 percent. Instead of disposing of rags, a system will wash hazardous components from rags, capturing them for filtration and reuse. And, to further reduce the use of hazardous materials, the base has purchased hydraulic fluid recycling units.

During today's ceremony, the commander of the 28th Bomb Wing, Colonel Jeffry F. Smith accepted program membership from Robert E. Roberts. Colonel Drew Wright, the deputy director of installations and mission support at Headquarters Air Combat Command (ACC), Langley Air Force Base, Virginia, and Steve Pirner, director of the South Dakota Department of Environment and Natural Resources, were among other distinguished guests.

To qualify for Performance Track, facilities must adopt and implement an Environmental Management System; demonstrate specific past environmental achievements; record sustained compliance with environmental requirements; and commit to continued environmental improvement, public outreach, and performance reporting. Members receive a range of incentives such as public recognition and low priority for routine EPA inspections. Facilities are also eligible for several kinds of administrative flexibility and streamlined administrative requirements that reduce costs and enable members to achieve better environmental results. In addition, members benefit from special services, including a learning network composed of top environmental performers that has a mentoring program, tele-seminars, EPA roundtable discussions and newsletters. Program information, summary of member benefits, application guidelines, and a complete listing of facilities that are Performance Track members can be found at: http://www.epa.gov/performancetrack/.

For more information on Ellsworth AFB, visit
http://www.ellsworth.af.mil/ .