Performance Track May Have Fallen Off Track

In a March 16 memorandum to members of the Performance Track program, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa P. Jackson said the agency will halt the current program in order to refine its concepts for the future. The program began in June 2000.

To earn membership, Performance Track applicants must demonstrate and commit to maintaining a strong record of environmental compliance, set three-year goals for continuous improvements in environmental performance beyond their legal requirements, have internal systems in place to manage environmental impacts, engage in community outreach, and consistently report results.

Jackson stated that EPA will convene a multi-stakeholder subcommittee under the National Advisory Council for Environmental Policy and Technology to focus on the future of EPA environmental leadership programs. The agency will continue an evaluation of the program by the RAND Corporation, whose study should "advance understanding of environmental leadership programs as viable tools for protecting the environment."

Staff also will communicate with members of Performance Track, states that participate in the program, and other parties affected by the action.

"Performance Track was developed in a different era and may not speak to today's challenges," she said.

Among the more recent members in the program are Xerox; the U.S. Postal Service; Xanterra; Baxter Healthcare; Frito Lay Inc.; as well as the city of Dallas, Texas.

As of 2008, membership has grown to 548 members in 49 states and Puerto Rico, and members have set more than 4,000 goals to benefit the environment. EPA has said in earlier releases that Performance Track members have reported greenhouse gas reductions of 310,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent, reductions in nitrogen oxides of 13,000 tons, and reductions of hazardous waste of 52,000 tons.