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IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release No: 437-96
July 19, 1996

DOD KICKS-OFF PRESIDENTIAL INITIATIVE ENVVEST

Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Environmental Security Sherri W. Goodman will host the kickoff event for a unique new pilot program to achieve greater environmental protection, at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. on July 24, 1996. Known as ENVVEST, this program is jointly sponsored by the Department of Defense and the Environmental Protection Agency, under President Clinton's Reinventing Environmental Regulation.

The ENVVEST concept, part of the President's overall Reinventing Government initiative, allows military installations, in conjunction with federal, state, and local regulators, to test cost-effective practical alternative approaches to achieving environmental protection. Vandenberg Air Force Base was the first DOD installation to sign an agreement with EPA and plans to redirect environmental compliance funds into water conservation, air, and water pollution prevention projects.

ENVVEST is the future of environmental management in the U.S., Goodman said. It creates a partnership among federal, state, and local officials, the public, and military installations to design the right combination of environmental actions to meet the needs of local communities.

EPA and DOD signed a Memorandum of Agreement last November that established the framework for EPA to provide relief from selected regulatory requirements. In turn, DOD will invest in cost-effective alternatives to strengthen the Department's environmental efforts overall. ENVVEST will initially be tested at three to five DOD installations. Installations in Alaska, Florida, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Washington State have been nominated to participate.

Steven A. Herman, assistant administrator, Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance for the EPA will also participate in the Vandenberg event.

ENVVEST represents a commitment from both EPA and DOD to explore new ways to move our nation's military installations into a leadership role in environmental practices. We are working together, and alongside state and local officials, to reach an agreement that will yield real benefits for the people of California and its environment, one that combines flexibility with accountability, Herman said.

When a final agreement is approved, this project at Vandenberg Air Force Base will significantly reduce both air and water pollution at the base, making the Air Force both a better, and cleaner, neighbor to surrounding communities, and providing lessons to move us into the 21st century of environmental protection, Herman added.

DOD will conduct an independent evaluation to measure progress of this program. Goodman noted that if ENVVEST is successful, both DOD and EPA hope to duplicate this effort nationwide. This is a very exciting time because the federal government is changing the way it helps communities. The era of one size fits all to environmental management is ending. Instead, innovation, pollution prevention and partnerships should guide environmental policy. ENVVEST opens the door to creative solutions for local problems. In 20 years, we will look back at this event, and wonder why we didn't do this sooner.