(415 ILCS 5/52.3-1)
    Sec. 52.3-1. Findings; purpose.
    (a) The General Assembly finds that:
        (1) During the last decade, considerable expertise in
pollution prevention, sophisticated emissions monitoring and tracking techniques, compliance auditing methods, stakeholder involvement, and innovative approaches to control pollution have been developed.
        (2) Substantial opportunities exist to reduce the
amount of or prevent adverse impacts from emissions or discharges of pollutants or wastes through the use of innovative and cost effective measures not currently recognized by or allowed under existing environmental laws, rules, and regulations.
        (3) There are persons regulated under this Act who
have demonstrated excellence and leadership in environmental compliance or stewardship or pollution prevention and, through the implementation of innovative measures, who can achieve further reductions in emissions or discharges of pollutants or wastes or continued environmental stewardship.
        (4) Current environmental laws and regulations have,
in some instances, resulted in burdensome transactional requirements that are unnecessarily costly and complex for regulated entities and have proven to be frustrating to the public that is concerned about environmental protection.
        (5) The goals of environmental protection will be
best served by promoting and evaluating the efforts of those persons who are ready to achieve measurable and verifiable pollution reductions in excess of the otherwise applicable statutory and regulatory requirements or who can demonstrate real environmental risk reduction, promote pollution prevention, foster superior environmental compliance by other persons regulated under this Act, and who can improve stakeholder involvement in environmental decision making.
        (6) The United States Environmental Protection Agency
is operating a program entitled "National Environmental Performance Track" 65 Federal Register 41655 (July 6, 2000) (Federal Performance Track Program) to recognize and reward businesses and public facilities that demonstrate strong environmental performance beyond current regulatory requirements. There should be a process that allows regulatory flexibility available to a participant in the Federal Performance Track Program to be also granted in the State if the participant's proposal is acceptable to the Agency.
        (7) A process for implementing and evaluating
innovative environmental measures on a pilot project basis should be developed and implemented in this State.
    (b) It is the purpose of this Section to create a voluntary pilot program by which the Agency may enter into Environmental Management System Agreements with persons regulated under this Act to implement innovative environmental measures not otherwise recognized or allowed under existing laws and regulations of this State if those measures:
        (1) achieve emissions reductions or reductions in
discharges or wastes beyond the otherwise applicable statutory and regulatory requirements through pollution prevention or other suitable means; or
        (2) achieve real environmental risk reduction or
foster environmental compliance by other persons regulated under this Act in a manner that is clearly superior to the existing regulatory system.
    These Agreements may be executed with participants in the Federal Performance Track Program if the provisions are acceptable to the Agency.
    (c) This program is a voluntary pilot program. Participation is at the discretion of the Agency, and any decision by the Agency to reject an initial proposal under this Section is not appealable. An initial Agreement may be renewed for appropriate time periods if the Agency finds the Agreement continues to meet applicable requirements and the purposes of this Section.
    (d) The Agency shall develop and make publicly available a program guidance document regarding participation in the pilot program. A draft document shall be distributed for review and comment by interested parties and a final document shall be completed by December 1, 1996. At a minimum, this document shall include the following:
        (1) The approximate number of projects that the
Agency envisions being part of the pilot program.
        (2) The types of projects and facilities that the
Agency believes would be most useful to be a part of the pilot program.
        (3) A description of potentially useful environmental
management systems, such as ISO 14000.
        (4) A description of suitable Environmental
Performance Plans, including appropriate provisions or opportunities for promoting pollution prevention and sustainable development.
        (5) A description of practices and procedures to
ensure that performance is measurable and verifiable.
        (6) A characterization of less-preferred practices
that can generate adverse consequences such as multi-media pollutant transfers.
        (7) A description of suitable practices for
productive stakeholder involvement in project development and implementation that may include, but need not be limited to, consensus-based decision making and appropriate technical assistance.
    (e) The Agency has the authority to develop and distribute written guidance, fact sheets, or other documents that explain, summarize, or describe programs operated under this Act or regulations. The written guidance, fact sheets, or other documents shall not be considered rules and shall not be subject to the Illinois Administrative Procedure Act.
(Source: P.A. 92-397, eff. 1-1-02; 93-171, eff. 7-10-03.)