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September 28, 2010

WASHINGTON -- A new initiative to help Wisconsin communities weather recent economic hard times has earned national recognition for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

The DNR's Wisconsin Plant Recovery Initiative -- a statewide effort to provide environmental and economic assistance to communities and companies struggling with closed manufacturing plants and facilities -- received one of four State Program Innovation Awards from the Environmental Council of States (ECOS), a non-partisan organization based in Washington, D.C.

"We are very proud to receive this national award from our peers," said DNR Secretary Matt Frank. "This initiative highlights ways the DNR can partner with Wisconsin's private industry to retain local business and protect the environment."

Frank said the Initiative expedites the agency's cleanup of environmental contamination and protection of public health in areas of the state most impacted by plant closings.

"Through quick action, we can help communities prepare these properties for a productive future and avoid creating brownfields that might languish for decades," said Frank.

The Wisconsin Plant Recovery Initiative was launched in March 2010 by the DNR Remediation and Redevelopment Program and offers technical assistance along with financial and liability tools for the cleanup and eventual redevelopment of shuttered factories and plants.

"Contamination can stall any potential new development at a property. Through proper assessments and cleanup, we can help communities ready themselves for economic recovery," Frank said.

The Environmental Council of States announced the award during its annual meeting in Whitefield, New Hampshire. The council is non-profit association made up of state agencies from across the nation with a role in protecting the environment. Other 2010 honorees include the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Environment and Colorado Department of Public Health and the Environment.

More information is available on the Remediation and Redevelopment Program pages of the DNR website.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Andrew Savagian, Remediation and Redevelopment Program, 608-261-6422

Last Revised: Tuesday, September 28, 2010

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