BELVIDERE, NJ -- BASF Corp.'s automotive coatings manufacturing plant in Belvidere, NJ, has been accepted into the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's National Environmental Performance Track, a program that is designed to motivate and reward top environmental performance. The Belvidere plant manufactures automotive OEM and refinish coatings.

The plant is one of 253 facilities nationwide participating in Performance Track, which the EPA launched in mid-2000, and is the first BASF site to be accepted into the program. The program is described as a "public/private partnership" that encourages environmental excellence, involves communities in environmental protection, and focuses on measurable results. "Performance Track members demonstrate in their daily business operations that economic prosperity and environmental protection can go hand in hand," said EPA Administrator Christine Todd Whitman.

Scott Elliott, site manager at the Belvidere plant, said that to be considered for the Performance Track designation, the plant was required to demonstrate an excellent compliance history, adopt an established Environmental Management System and community outreach program, and show significant improvement in two environmental aspects over the last two years.

Elliott said that in addition to meeting the EPA's criteria, the site is also certified for ISO 14001, the international quality standard for management systems for maintaining and improving the quality of the environment and protecting human health.

EPA Performance Track members have access to conferences and "best practice" workshops that allow a free exchange of ideas that support continuous improvement. Once accepted into the program, members are required to file an annual report to chart progress and can expect one scheduled visit by the EPA every three years. "The Belvidere site embraces this vision as it continues to balance bottom-line performance with being a responsible employer and community member," Elliott said.

BASF Corp., based in Mount Olive, NJ, is the North American affiliate of BASF AG of Germany.