Both Virginia and Pennsylvania have launched “Businesses for the Bay,” a program that encourages the adoption of voluntary pollution prevention techniques to reduce the amount of toxics and other pollutants released into the Chesapeake watershed.

By the year 2000, we hope to have 75 percent of all businesses in the Bay watershed working to prevent pollution,” said Virginia Gov. George Allen. “Businesses for the Bay will complement — not complicate — current pollution prevention efforts.”

Businesses for the Bay was developed by a partnership between business and industry leaders in the region and the Bay Program to involve more firms, particularly small businesses, in pollution prevention techniques.

“As you know, clean rivers and a healthy Chesapeake Bay are extremely important to the economic and environmental vitality of Pennsylvania,” Gov. Tom Ridge wrote in a letter to selected businesses in the watershed. “Our quality of life depends on each of us doing our part to prevent pollution of these resources.”

He added, “As the ‘upstream’ state in the Chesapeake Bay restoration efforts, we have a responsibility not only to ourselves, but also to our neighbors, to protect the health of our waters.”

Maryland’s Businesses for the Bay program is expected to be announced soon.

Businesses that participate in the program will receive public recognition for their efforts, including a certificate acknowledging their progress in pollution prevention. Businesses that demonstrate outstanding achievements in pollution prevention will receive Bay Excellence Awards at the 1997 Chesapeake Executive Council meeting this fall.

The Executive Council includes the governors of Maryland, Virginia and Pennsylvania, the mayor of the District of Columbia, the administrator of the EPA, and the chairman of the Chesapeake Bay Commission, which represents the legislatures of the three states.

For information about participating in the Virginia program, contact Tom Griffin at the Department of Environmental Quality, at 1-800-592-5482.

For information about participating in the Pennsylvania program, contact the Department of Environmental Protection’s Chesapeake Bay Program, (717) 783-0540.