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Con Edison Joins EPA and Other Northeast Utilities in Calling for Full Disclosure of Environmental Data

At a press briefing in Washington, D. C. yesterday, United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Carol M. Browner joined Consolidated Edison Company of New York Inc. (Con Edison) and other utility industry leaders from the Northeast to discuss the impact of new reporting requirements for electricity generators. The companies, members of the Clean Energy Group, gathered in the nation’s capital with representatives of the EPA and the National Resources Defense Council to endorse the full public disclosure of environmental data.

Administrator Browner congratulated Con Edison and the other companies for "going well beyond the regulatory and statutory requirements for reporting," and praised their actions as being "truly in the spirit of the Community Right-to-Know Act."

The information will be compiled by the EPA and included in its annual Toxic Release Inventory (TRI), which is available to the public to help Americans know more about the substances present in their local environment. Con Edison, long-recognized as one of the cleanest utilities in the country, has no intention of resting on its record.

"The men and women of Con Edison can be justly proud of the company's environmental performance, which is the result of hard work and attention to detail at every level of the organization. I am confident that our employees' continuing and conscientious efforts will propel us to even greater performance in the years ahead," said M. Peter Lanahan, Con Edison's vice president of environment, health and safety.

In almost every environmental category, the company achieved new performance records for 1998. For example, state-regulated opacity (smoke) events decreased by 44 percent; chemical releases dropped by 80 percent; and dielectric fluid leakage from high-pressure feeders was the lowest in the company's history - a 48 percent reduction from 1997.

In addition to having a full staff of subject-matter experts covering every aspect of environmental performance and compliance, Con Edison has placed trained and responsible environmental managers in every operating organization in the company.

In addition to other environmental initiatives it instituted, Con Edison also has:

  • adopted an environmental policy that calls for going beyond compliance to achieve "environmental excellence"
  • created an environment and safety committee that reports directly to the chairman of the board
  • developed no-dig technology, enabling the running of new gas lines and electric ducts underground without excavating, thereby minimizing environmental impact
  • enhanced pollution prevention programs to further reduce waste and increase recycling of waste
  • established a corporate Ombudsman program that gives the Ombudsman the authority to investigate any environmental matter brought to his attention
  • perfected new oil tank testing technology, which allows for the detection of pin-point leaks in multi-million gallon oil tanks

Con Edison is one of the nation's largest utility companies, with more than $7 billion in annual revenues and $14 billion in assets. The company, a subsidiary of Consolidated Edison Inc., provides electric, gas and steam service to more than three million customers in New York City and Westchester County, New York.

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