Check It Out: DNR’s new Economic Development and Green Environment (EDGE) program

The DNR’s new Economic Development and Green Environment (EDGE) program combines the benefits of three DNR programs to create a unique and sustainable economic development tool that incentivizes manufacturing companies that capitalize on the reuse and redevelopment of brownfield sites.

EDGE offers environmental certainty to businesses and developers, supports local economic development and leverages the unique benefits of redeveloping brownfields, which are often in areas with existing infrastructure and access to a skilled workforce.

This pilot program provides incentives to Wisconsin’s manufacturing economy in three ways:

  • Green Tier provides unique benefits for organizations that voluntarily commit to go beyond compliance and strive to achieve superior environmental performance;
  • Registration Operation Permits (ROPs) are a simplified air permit that are issued to cover air emissions up to certain levels at eligible facilities. These permits are fast and flexible, enabling businesses to avoid additional permitting and quickly respond to changes in their business; and
  • Voluntary Party Liability Exemption (VPLE) is awarded for completing environmental clean-ups of contaminated property by individuals, businesses, developers, or local governments.

To participate in the EDGE program, a company must meet the following three requirements:

  • Join Green Tier;
  • Build or modify a manufacturing facility that is eligible for any ROP; and
  • Redevelop a VPLE brownfield site.

EDGE developments can be large or small, ranging from an existing facility on a small brownfield to several new facilities in an industrial park redevelopment. All potential EDGE development structures contain the certainty of maintaining a healthy environment through responsible development and good corporate citizenship.

In addition to the benefits of the component programs, participants who meet the EDGE criteria secure a 10-year extension from making changes to their air pollution control requirements, unless necessary to meet federal Clean Air Act requirements. If state laws change, EDGE participants are allowed the additional time to plan for the cost, installation and operation of new control devices.

Nearly every Wisconsin community, from small rural areas to large urban neighborhoods, has underused, abandoned industrial and commercial areas in need of revitalization. Sustainable EDGE developments can be implemented in urban or rural communities, revitalizing our local economies and putting brownfields back to work for Wisconsinites.

Let’s build sustainability in Wisconsin. Learn more about the EDGE program on the EDGE web page or by contacting Weston Wegener at 608-284–0908 or

The new Green Tier Registration Permit (ROP-G) is a product of the EDGE program and is designed to expand the eligibility of larger facilities to join the program.

More broadly, any Green Tier participant who joins Tier 2 and is looking to make fast and flexible changes to their permitted operations while remaining committed to a clean environment should consider applying for coverage under this innovative permit.

The ROP-G is the registration permit that allows the greatest amount of air emissions at 80% of the major source threshold and is the only ROP that allows for source-specific conditions. The ability to include source-specific conditions is a benefit for Green Tier sources that might otherwise be ineligible for another registration permit. There are many additional benefits of registration permits including:

  • Final determination of eligibility and coverage within 15 business days of receiving a complete application;
  • Flexibility to construct, move or modify equipment without requiring additional permitting;
  • No expiration date; and
  • Low annual fees of just $400.

Owners and operators of innovative businesses interested in becoming environmental champions are encouraged to look at the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources’ new permit option.

To learn more about ROP-G and to find the application materials, visit the Registration Permit Options web page.