The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is again accepting applications for its Small Business Advantage Grant Program to aid small businesses looking to conserve energy and prevent pollution, said Rep. Tina Pickett (R-Bradford/Sullivan/Susquehanna).

Under the program, businesses can apply for a 50 percent matching grant of up to $9,500 for taking actions to promote implementation of pollution prevention and energy efficiency practices.

Applicants must be a for-profit corporation, limited liability corporation, partnership, sole proprietorship or other legal entity with 100 or fewer full-time employees. The grant-supported project must be in a Pennsylvania facility owned by the applicant and must save the business at least 25 percent, plus $750 annually as a direct result of implementing the grant supported project. All grant projects must be completed by June 30, 2013.

Applicants may be manufacturers, retailers, service providers, mining operators or agricultural businesses. Eligible projects include HVAC and boiler upgrades, high-efficiency lighting, solvent recovery systems, waste recycling systems and auxiliary power units deployed as anti-idling technology for trucks.

The application deadline is Sept. 26. Eligible applications will be approved on a first-come, first-served basis until funds are exhausted.

Applications must be mailed or hand-delivered to the Department of Environmental Protection, Office of the Small Business Ombudsman, Attn: Small Business Advantage, Rachel Carson State Office Building, 400 Market St., P.O. Box 8772, Harrisburg, PA 17105-8772. Faxes or electronic submissions will not be accepted.

For more information about the grants or to apply, visit Pickett's website at RepPickett.com.

Submitted by Rep. Tina Pickett