Companies in 5 Cities to Get Incentives for Telecommuting

Companies in Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, Philadelphia and Washington DC will be able to get air pollution credits by allowing employees to telecommute, thereby keeping those employees off the road and reducing auto emissions.

How the Program Works

Under the program offered by the Environmental Protection Agency, employers will be able to avail themselves of an incentive that utility companies already have. Utilities can obtain government credits for reducing pollution coming from their power plants. Now, companies in the five metropolitan areas can obtain similar credits by keeping their employees' cars off the road. The companies can then sell or trade those credits.

Telecommuting Reduces Auto Emissions

EPA Administrator Christie Whitman said that the five cities were chosen because of the large number of workers who have especially long commutes, and because the areas contain many businesses well suited for telecommuting. By working from home instead of driving to and from work, telecommuters in these cities will help make the air cleaner, while becoming more productive. According to Ms. Whitman, if the incentive program works, it will "create a growing economy and clean environment."

How much cleaner?

According to the National Environmental Policy Institute, a Washington DC research and advocacy group, the program could reduce auto emissions by 2,613 tons a year for every 100,000 people who participate.

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