Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Supes Opt To Join Business Program

Supes Opt To Join Business Program
By Ben Antonius

FAIRFIELD - In hopes of encouraging environmentally responsible practices, Solano County supervisors agreed Tuesday to join a Bay Area-wide green business certification program.

The agreement was for a trial of the Association of Bay Area Governments Green Business Program, which would be evaluated after two years to determine if it succeeded. Under the program, county workers would help business owners comply with environmental laws and come up with ways to reduce their water and power use and their waste and pollution production.

Major corporations can afford to hire consultants to keep an eye on their environmental practices, Supervisor John Silva said.

"Our small businesses don't have that ability," he said. "If we can benefit those businesses, we can benefit everyone."

The Board of Supervisors voted 4-1 to launch the program, with Chairman Mike Reagan voting against it. With the move, Solano will become the eighth of nine Bay Area counties to certify green businesses.

In the first year, the program will only work with businesses that handle significant amounts of hazardous waste, such as dentists, auto repair shops, dry cleaners and printers.

It would expand in the second year to include businesses that don't produce hazardous waste and those that produce the waste in small quantities.

Officials from the Department of Resource Management said the program wouldn't launch until July at the earliest and estimated it will cost about $40,000 in its first year.

The county should find ways for the program to cover those costs, Reagan said in voting against it.

"I don't know whether we're ready for this action today," he said.

Supervisor Barbara Kondylis, who first brought the matter to the board in October 2006, likened green business certification to being a member of the Better Business Bureau.

"I think that the green business sticker is an inducement (to customers) and a reward for people who want to participate in the program," she said.

Reach Ben Antonius at 427-6977 or

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