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ua14no94 FEDERAL EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY (FEMA)...
<DOC> ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY (EPA) Administrator's Preamble to the Regulatory Plan Over the nearly 25 years since its formation, the Environmental Protection Agency has overseen a remarkably successful effort to rid our Nation of the most unsightly and obvious effects of pollution. Many of America's rivers and streams are now restored to healthful recreational uses, and on any given day the air most Americans breathe is pure enough for all but the most vulnerable populations. We have made a good start in cleaning up the most threatening incidences of abandoned hazardous waste, and we have in place a ``cradle-to-grave'' network to control the indiscriminate disposal of new waste. Undeniably, we have made a great deal of progress in a very short time. Not only have we committed ourselves to the cleanup of pollution, we have formed the national will to prevent its recurrence by thoughtful management and prevention. The Job Ahead As good as this record is, it does not tell the whole story. In some areas population growth and its accompanying environmental stresses have outpaced our efforts. In others, even as we have dealt successfully with many of the largest and most palpable sources of pollutants, we have uncovered evidence of other, more subtle dangers that continue to threaten our health and well-being. For example: <bullet> Thirty years after Rachel Carson warned us in her book, ``Silent Spring,'' to reduce our dependence on pesticides, we have doubled our use of pesticides. <bullet> Twenty-five years after the garbage-filled Cuyahoga River spontaneously caught fire, 40 percent of our rivers and lakes are not suitable for fishing or swimming. <bullet> In 1993, residents of major U.S. cities--Milwaukee, New York, and Washington, DC--were ordered to boil their water. In Milwaukee, thousands got sick from contaminated water; some died. <bullet> Twenty years after passage of the Clean Air Act, one in four Americans lives in an area where air quality does not meet Federal standards. Meanwhile, asthma--a condition aggravated by this remaining pollution--is on the rise. <bullet> Fourteen years after Love Canal, one in four Americans lives within four miles of a toxic dumpsite. So, despite our success to date, much remains to be done. Following the President's Lead As one of the principal regulatory agencies in the Federal Government, EPA is acutely aware of its responsibility to protect public health and the environment in a flexible manner that does not place undue burden on the economy. The President has pointed out that the long-term strength of our economy is inextricably linked to the health of the environment, and vice-versa. Nevertheless, the current costs of our environmental investments are substantial, and the decision to pay those costs is often a difficult one. Therefore, EPA subscribes to the principles the President laid out in Executive Order 12866 to ensure that regulatory agencies exercise their authority prudently. EPA seeks nonregulatory solutions whenever they can assuredly achieve environmental goals. When regulation is required by either law or circumstance, the Agency seeks to produce rules that forthrightly implement the law, protect public health and our Nation's ecosystems, and--when legally allowable--specifically account for the costs imposed on society. In setting environmental priorities and levels of control, EPA routinely analyzes the risks of pollution when legal and appropriate. In addition, the Agency continues to increase its outreach to partners in State and local government, as well as to environmentalists, industry, and other affected parties, to make sure environmental decisions reflect the best information available about both the problem at hand and appropriate, affordable solutions. EPA's Common Sense Initiative One of the specific ways in which EPA is addressing the President's directives is through the Common Sense Initiative, in which the Agency and outside groups will undertake a cooperative investigation of cheaper ways to provide cleaner outcomes. One consequence of EPA's historical approach to regulation is that any given regulated entity may find itself bound by a number of environmental requirements that are not coordinated to achieve efficiency at the point of compliance. A firm may find itself responding to air, water, land, and toxic- substance controls that appear duplicative or unnecessarily burdensome. As a result of the regulatory burden, however, these firms are discouraged from making investments that might very well protect the environment better at a lower overall cost. While there are good reasons to impose multiple requirements from the perspective of national program management, EPA is looking for solutions to problems that make sense not only nationally, but also locally, where real people make real investments to protect the environment. EPA's Common Sense Initiative will do something about this. The Agency is reaching out to several sectors of industry to examine the real impacts of multiple requirements at the industry/local level. For this initial round of discussions EPA has selected the following industries: auto manufacture, electronics, iron and steel, metal finishing, petroleum refining, and printing. Agency staff and managers intend to listen to industry, environmentalists, State and local governments, and others to learn just how multiple environmental requirements are working at their points of intersection. When this process turns up ways to improve the environmental performance of these industries by providing cheaper, more flexible ways to comply with our requirements, EPA will work to bring about this ``cheaper'' solution. In return, the Agency will look to these industries to identify even more effective strategies to control pollution in their plants and communities, so that the public benefits from a ``cleaner'' solution as well. By pursuing this ``cheaper, cleaner'' strategy with these initial industries, EPA hopes to learn how to better effect national environmental controls that also make sense locally. Some of the areas the Common Sense Initiative will explore are: pollution prevention, alternative compliance mechanisms, reform of data management and recordkeeping (especially introduction of electronic reporting), review and reform of existing regulations, coordinating multiple new rulemakings across program lines, multimedia permitting, and the introduction of improved environmental technology. Strategic Themes In laying out its agenda under the Clinton Administration, EPA has been guided by several major concepts that will revolutionize not only the Agency, but also the way all participants think about the design and delivery of environmental protection. Even when a statute directs EPA to undertake rulemaking that will, by all outward signs, produce a traditional command-and-control regulation, Agency managers are using these concepts to guide our definition of the problem, our outreach to the public, and our regulatory determinations. To one extent or another, all of the regulations highlighted in this first Regulatory Plan reflect the central strategic themes described below. A New Generation of Environmental Protection The Vice President has challenged all of us to join him on a bold new path to revolutionize the Federal Government by making it more efficient and responsive to its customers, the American people. EPA has eagerly joined him in this undertaking in numerous ways. Perhaps most indicative of EPA's new direction is its willingness to attempt more flexible methods to achieve desirable results for the environment. All of EPA's policy actions will benefit from these new attitudes and approaches. Ecosystem Protection EPA's mission has always been to protect public health and the environment from the effects of environmental pollution. However, for a variety of reasons, EPA has concentrated a preponderance of its effort on health protection over the past 20 years. Today the Agency is moving to restore the balance between public health and ecological protection, because a natural environment that will not sustain abundant life in all its forms cannot long sustain life for the human species. In this plan there are regulatory actions resulting from EPA's work with States, localities, other Federal agencies, and such private interests as the agricultural community to protect and restore vital ecosystems to nurturing health. Actions emphasizing this theme are those affecting the San Francisco Bay Delta, Great Lakes Water Quality, and Endangered Species. Environmental Justice Social inequity is a fact of life in the United States, as it is throughout the world. When it takes the form of inordinate environmental risk imposed upon those who are poor or otherwise powerless, EPA must engage itself in reversing that injustice. America's young, especially poor and minority children, are frequently at the mercy of a world ordered primarily for the convenience of adults. They are particularly susceptible to long-term damage from exposure to lead--damage in the form of lung disorders, learning disabilities, and more. In this Regulatory Plan, EPA proposes to expand our regulation of lead contamination by identifying lead-based hazards in paint, soil, and dust. While such action will support improved protection for all population groups, a principal beneficiary will be the children of the poor, all too many of whom are unsuspectingly exposed to this insidious hazard. Pollution Prevention In recent years EPA has emphasized the prevention of pollution as the most efficient alternative to cleaning up after the damage has been done. The Clinton Administration is committed to maintaining this eminently sensible direction. If there were ever a prescription for cheaper, cleaner environmental protection, it surely involves pollution prevention at its core. In this Regulatory Plan there are a number of actions that promote pollution prevention as a major emphasis. For instance, EPA is preparing regulations to guide Risk Management Planning for the prevention of accidental chemical releases. This rule will not only assist industry in adopting appropriate safeguards for prevention of accidents, it will also provide further incentive for the minimization of hazardous chemicals in the community. EPA's plan to expand the Toxic Release Inventory (TRI), which will require reporting of more chemicals by more types of facilities, will strengthen one of the most significant tools for pollution prevention yet devised. Since the inception of TRI several years ago, firms using risky chemicals have voluntarily and very creatively reduced their inventories and use of these chemicals. Such firms are thereby improving the safety of their own processes, while affording greater protection to the citizens of their communities. Linked to this rule is a possible small-source exemption that will provide some measure of relief to the reporting community. This exemption will allow facilities releasing small amounts of listed chemicals to be exempt from full TRI reporting requirements. EPA's planned Chemical Use Inventory Rule under TSCA will fill a long-standing gap in our understanding of how chemicals are actually used by both consumers and industry. Such information will assist the Agency and the public to prevent pollution by substituting safer chemicals for more toxic substances now employed in high-risk uses. EPA's Draft Strategy on Waste Minimization and Combustion includes a major initiative to encourage a reduction in the amount of hazardous waste generated in the country and to further ensure the safety and reliability of hazardous waste combustion in incinerators and industrial furnaces. The Draft Strategy is the focal point for a national dialogue both on needed actions to reduce the amount of hazardous wastes generated and on regulatory change to tighten controls on hazardous waste combustors. To ensure the success of the Strategy, the Agency is involving environmental groups, waste-producing industries, waste-management industries, States, municipalities, and all other interested parties in this dialogue. Better Science and Data Prudent environmental management requires good information about not only what we know, but also what we must acknowledge as uncertain. While EPA will continue to respond to public concern about the environment, success in finding cleaner, cheaper environmental interventions depends on the expansion of clear, well-characterized information about the problems and their potential solutions. While all the regulatory actions in this Plan depend on such knowledge for their success, two are particularly illustrative of this theme. In one instance EPA proposes to update its methods for testing automobiles for fuel efficiency and emissions under actual road conditions. The closer we can simulate the real-world conditions under which automobiles actually operate, the more likely we are to meet our environmental goals without imposing unnecessary costs on either industry or the individual motorist. In another case EPA will reassess pesticide tolerance levels, which will refine controls on the concentration and toxicity of pesticides to be applied in the future. Of particular importance is EPA's intention to consider measurement of tolerances not only in the field, where they are now set, but also in the marketplace, where they would better reflect actual human exposure. Environmental Partnerships While EPA is the Federal Government's chief regulatory arm for environmental protection, we are by no means alone in commitment to this national goal. There are several Federal agencies besides EPA with major environmental responsibilities. States are critical components of our national system for environmental protection, as they issue, inspect, and enforce the vast majority of the permits that lie at the root of our system's effectiveness. Municipalities are playing an increasingly important role, and are bearing a great deal of the cost, serving the public's need for a safe, clean environment. And, to a marked extent, individual citizens are studying the facts and playing out key roles in defining what measures of protection are appropriate and necessary in community and home situations. EPA views all these authorities as partners in an increasingly effective national system of environmental protection. In many of its regulatory actions, EPA is joining forces with such partners to determine the best environmental course to follow. The action to set Radiation Site Cleanup Standards will involve several national agencies in the design of rules to restore polluted Federal facilities to meet public health goals. EPA's response to a petition by the Northeast Ozone Transport Commission will engage the Agency in dialogue with several States on the possibility of imposing additional performance standards on motor vehicles operating in those States. Our redesign of the New Source Review program under the Clean Air Act will make the program simpler and more logical for States to administer. And our revision of RCRA permit procedures will open that program up to far more comprehensive public participation. Finally, the plan cited above to expand the number and type of businesses reporting toxic chemicals, and the number and type of chemicals to be reported, will empower individual citizens to participate in environmental management in their own communities. Enforcement Accountability EPA has traditionally emphasized the need for firm, assured enforcement of environmental requirements. In this Regulatory Plan EPA describes a rule to carry out the mandate of the Clean Air Act for Enhanced Monitoring of air sources. This action will promote fairness and improve air quality by requiring that stationary sources monitor and certify continuous compliance with applicable emissions standards. There is substantial flexibility built into the rule regarding the method of monitoring to support certification. In recognition that most Americans, both corporate and private, fully recognize their duty to obey environmental laws, EPA is complementing its zeal for enforcement with a commitment to support positive efforts to uphold environmental standards throughout society. In a recent reorganization EPA has complemented its vigorous effort to seek out and punish violators by creating a unit to provide compliance assistance to those actively seeking responsible, creative ways to carry out their environmental duties under the law. Seeking Regulatory Alternatives Wherever possible in its regulatory activities, EPA is pursuing the President's and the Administrator's emphasis on environmental quality at an affordable cost. Even though several of our statutes do not admit of cost as a factor in decisions protecting public health, where legal and appropriate, the Agency is exploring market-based means to achieve important environmental ends. Here are some examples: Acid Rain: EPA's acid rain program uses a market-based approach to reduce sulfur dioxide emissions from electric utilities. Utilities are allowed to choose the least-cost method of control, whether installing pollution control devices, switching to cleaner fuels, or buying allowances from other utilities. This reduces overall costs while ensuring the desired reductions of pollutants that cause acid rain. Stratospheric Ozone: In order to phase out ozone-depleting chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) in an orderly, cost-efficient manner, EPA's regulation is based on a system of allowances that encourages marketable permits. This system allows producers, importers, and exporters to trade in situations where cost can be substantially reduced. MACT Standards: Under the Clean Air Act, EPA must issue Maximum Achievable Control Technology (MACT) standards that require sources of air pollution to achieve a relatively stringent minimum level of emissions control. This requirement prohibits the use of certain market-based regulatory strategies. However, provisions to allow ``emissions averaging'' have been and will continue to be incorporated into various MACT rules as appropriate (for example, in the cases of hazardous organics, petroleum refining, and wood furniture). Emissions averaging allows facilities some flexibility to choose which emissions points to control (presumably those for which control measures are cheaper) in order to achieve the overall reductions required for the facility. Consumer Products: EPA is exploring the use of economic incentives in regulations to reduce volatile organic chemicals (VOCs) from consumer and commercial products. The Agency will include its findings from these explorations in a forthcoming report to Congress. The first of
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