Introduction by Kathleen Fenton
EPA is hosting our National Small Business Week on May 4-8. The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) announced this year’s theme as “SBA: Dream Big, Start Small.” Small business owners work hard every day to contribute to the quality of life of many people. Delivering products, services, and good stewardship is an often-practiced work ethic of many entrepreneurs. They make daily decisions to ensure that they operate their processes based on green, economic, and safe choices.
Nationally, the President has issued a proclamation since 1963 declaring National Small Business Week to recognize the critical contributions of America’s entrepreneurs. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said, “It was our small businesses that powered our recovery after the Great Recession.”
With this in mind, EPA Region 7 would like to introduce the Small Business Environmental Assistance Program (SBEAP). SBEAPs provide technical assistance to small businesses, assisting them with air permitting and understanding state and EPA regulatory applicability. SBEAPs are regulated under Section 507 of the Clean Air Act Amendments. In most states, these services are free and confidential. They are funded to help small businesses deliver these goods and services as good environmental stewards. We invited the director of the Kansas SBEAP to share her story of a small business helped by the program.
By Nancy Larson
In Region 7, SBEAPs are operated by various entities. The Iowa SBEAP is operated by the Iowa Waste Reduction Center at the University of Northern Iowa. In Kansas, it’s the Pollution Prevention Institute at Kansas State University. Missouri’s SBEAP is under the Missouri Department of Natural Resources’ Air Pollution Control Program. The Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality oversees the program in its state.
Recently, an auto body shop business asked for help from the Kansas SBEAP. The owners wanted to know if air quality or hazardous waste rules would apply to their new business. Kansas SBEAP staff consulted with the business by telephone and then visited with the owners at their new business site.
Using the applicable air emissions calculator tool at www.sbeap.org, SBEAP showed the owner how to take the needed information from Safety Data Sheets and enter it into the tool. With a few other additional details, including estimating the amount of product to be used, SBEAP was able to calculate the potential air emissions from regulated pollutants. It was determined neither a Kansas construction nor air operating permit was needed at this time. SBEAP then explained an EPA air toxics rule that did apply to their business (40 CFR part 63, subpart HHHHHH) and assisted them with filing the appropriate notifications to Kansas and EPA.
As part of the site visit, SBEAP also helped the owner understand which hazardous wastes might be generated and what performance standards would apply. SBEAP then followed up the site visit with a summary report that included various training and regulatory resources, as well as process efficiency recommendations and alternative material options that may help the owner prevent emissions and save money.
With EPA’s funding, SBEAP is helping out small business owners in a big way to do America’s work! To learn more about the SBEAPs in Region 7, here are the states’ program websites:
Kathleen Fenton serves as the Environmental Education Program Coordinator in EPA Region 7’s Office of Public Affairs in Lenexa, Kansas. She has worked with communities on environmental health issues, environmental education grants, and Healthy Schools projects for over 20 years.
Nancy Larson is director of the K-State Pollution Prevention Institute and Kansas Small Business Environmental Assistance Program, working with the program since 2000. Through these business assistance programs, Nancy works with Kansas industries daily, assisting them with confidential environmental compliance, emissions reduction technical assistance, and cost savings.