United States
           Environmental Protection
           Office of Reinvention
'EPAIOO-S-98-bQ-! fij
[March 1998 	rf|
The Changing Nature of
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           Executive Summary

                        or 3 years, EPA Administrator" Carol Browner has le,d,EPA i
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                        an unprecedented agenda for consistently delivering cleaner, cheaper,
                        smarter rfsuits from environmental and public health protection pro-
                        grams. This agenda was developed in response to Vice-President Gore's
                        challenge to all federal agencies to reinvent government so that it works
                        better and costs less for the American people. It involves streamlining and
           innovating within proven programs and testing more integrative, holistic approaches
           with the potential to better address unresolved problems that threaten our people and the
           natural environment.
   EPA's reinvention agenda comes at a time when a
variety of forces are creating pressure for changes to
the nation's environmental regulatory system. This
year's report explains some of the most significant
changes that are taking place in environmental pro-
tection as the twenty-first century draws near, and
what these changes mean for the way EPA does
business. The results — the practical effects for
businesses, communities, and individuals — are
highlighted below.

   Because Americans have a right-to-know about
environmental  risks in their communities and
because an informed, knowledgeable public can
play a meaningful role in solving tough problems,
EPA has expanded public access to environmental
   Expanded Reporting on Toxic Releases —
Another 6,400 facilities, representing seven addi-
tional industry sectors, are reporting information on
toxics released into their communities through an
expansion of the nations Toxic Release Inventory.
  Informing Citizens About
the Safety of Drinking Water
and Swimming Conditions —
Community water suppliers
soon will be required to report
to their customers on whether
their drinking water meets feder-
al public health standards while
new assistance for the States aims
to strengthen water monitoring
and public advisory programs for
beaches and coastal areas.

  Established "Plain English" Labeling
Requirements — New labeling requirements for
the pesticides industry provide consumers with
clearer information for selecting and properly using
pesticides and other common household products
in and around their homes.
   In an effort to obtain better results, EPA is pro-
viding businesses and communities with more flexi-
bility in how they fulfill their public health and

             environmental protection responsibili-
             ties. By conditioning this offer on a
             record of proven performance: and
             public accountability, EPA provides
             assurance that strong protection will
             be maintained and creates an incentive
             for facilities to improve performance.
               Testing New Ideas — Through
             Project XL, EPA is working with 27
             companies to develop or test innova-
             tive management strategies that offer
promise for getting better environmental results than
what would be achieved under current law. ; . '
   Promoting Trading — New policies and pro-
grams allow and promote market-based trading as a
more cost-effective, environmentally protective
option for helping businesses and communities
address a variety of problems, such as smog, habitat
loss and water pollution.
   Offering Options in Rulemaking — The
nations first ever integrated (or multimedia) environ-
mental rule, just issued for the pulp and paper indus-
try, allows companies to delay compliance with more
stringent water pollution control requirements if they
commit to installing more advanced technologies.
whereby firms obtain regulatory relief and other
benefits in exchange for going beyond compliance
— this action, potentially affecting 11,000 metal
finishing shops nationwide, could voluntarily cut
toxic emissions from the industry by up to 75 per-
cent compared to 1992.
   Encouraging Voluntary
Action —A new voluntary
agreement with the car indus-
try means that, later this year,
all vehicles sold in the
Northeast and District of
Columbia will be designed to
emit 70 percent less pollu-
tion. By 2001, these vehicles
will be available throughout the country,  providing
Americans with safer, cleaner air.
   Supporting Community Brownfields Cleanup
and Restoration — Cleanup of Brownfields —
abandoned, contaminated urban property — has
accelerated with over $24 million in seed grants and
technical assistance awarded to 121  communities. A
new tax incentive and an additional $300 million
investment announced last year will help  revitalize
some 5,000 more communities in the future.
   Because many of todays problems cannot be
addressed through regulatory action alone, EPA is
reaching out to diverse stakeholders to bring all
available expertise and resources to bear on the job
of protecting public health .and the environment.
   Established New Working Relationship with
State Agencies — EPA worked with states, its most
critical partners, to create a new framework for joint-
ly collaborating on environmental priority-setting
and decision-making to ensure that public health and
the environment are best protected. Participation in
the National Environmental Performance Partnership
System rose from 6  pilot states in 1996 to a majority
of 30 states participating last year.
   Implementing Sector-Based Approaches ---
Through the Common Sense Initiative, EPA reached
an agreement with the metal finishing industry

  With 1997 bringing the largest fines ever collect-
ed in the history of the Agency, EPA's record of
enforcing against irresponsible polluters is stronger
than ever before. At the same time, EPA is making
it easier to comply with environmental regulations
through targeted compliance assistance programs.
EPA recognizes that most businesses and communi-
ties want to operate in an environmentally responsi-
ble  manner — in some cases, they just need extra
help or incentive to succeed.
  Compliance Assistance Centers — Compliance
assistance centers are being established or expanded
to provide small communities and businesses in
eight sectors with quick,  easy access to information
on how to control and prevent pollution.
  Providing Incentives for Finding and Fixing
Problems — To promote environmental compli-

                  ance, EPA is reducing penalties for compa-
                  nies (not engaged in criminal activity) that
                  show good faith towards finding, publicly
                  disclosing, and correcting environmental
                  problems. To date, 247 companies — rang-
                  ing in size from Fortune 500 companies to
                  small businesses — have voluntarily dis-
                  closed violations at more than 760 facilities.
                     Support for Local Environmental
                  Enforcement — To help communities
           guard against environmental violations, EPA is
           working with local law enforcement agencies to
           support joint investigations and to increase under-
           standing of environmental crimes.

              To ensure that environmental managers in the
           public and private sectors can focus on the greatest
           risks, EPA is simplifying and reducing paperwork
           and regulatory requirements that detract from pub-
           lic health and environmental protection.
              Eliminated Unnecessary Requirements —EPA
           has eliminated more than  1,300 pages of environ-
           mental requirements representing nearly 20 million
           hours of regulatory burden — that's the equivalent of
           returning more than a half million work weeks, widi
           an estimated value of $600 million, back to business-
es and communities for more
productive use.

  Avoided Issuing Millions
of New Permits — A com-
mon sense, risk-based
approach to storm water
management prevented millions of small businesses
and communities from becoming subject to new
permitting requirements.

  Speeding the Cleanup of Toxic Waste —
Through aggressive administrative action, the
Superfund Program has cleaned up twice as many
contaminated sites in the past five years than in the
first 12 years of the program. Cleanups are now 20
percent faster and less costly.

  Increasing Efficiency Through Electronic
Reporting — To modernize the current paper-
based reporting system, EPA is working with the
states to provide all regulated facilities with a more
efficient electronic option for reporting regulatory
information within five years.
     For more information, contabt the Office df Reinvention at
  202 260-1849, send an e-mail to reinvention@epa.gov, or look on
  our web site at . Fori copies of the full
  report,  The Changing Nature of Environmental and Public Health
  Protection, call the National Center for Environmental
  Publications and Information at 800 490-9198 and ask for publi-
  cation number EPA100-R-98-003. Our web site also provides
  access to the report electronically.
   United States
   Environmental Protection Agency
   Washington, DC 20460
   Official Business
   Penalty for Private Use
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