Steel Manufacturers Association Environmental Committee MeetingOctober 14, 2013 Thomas W. Easterly, P.E., BCEE, Commissioner Indiana Department of Environmental Management
What is ECOS? • ECOS is the Environmental Council of the States. • ECOS is an association of the state environmental agency directors.
ECOS • Articulates, advocates, preserves and champions the role of the states in environmental management. • Provides for the exchange of ideas, views and experiences among states and with others. • Fosters cooperation and coordination in environmental management. • Articulates state positions to Congress, federal agencies, and the public on environmental issues.
The Work of ECOS • The majority of ECOS’ work occurs under six standing committees: Air, Compliance, Cross Media, Planning, Waste, and Water. • ECOS makes formal statements on the consensus position of the state environmental agencies on various topics through resolutions. http://www.ecos.org/section/policy/resolution
The Work of ECOS • ECOS holds two membership meetings a year which are open to anyone, including industry. • You and your representatives are invited to attend these ECOS meetings.
State Budget Concerns • States are concerned about the decline in federal support of the environmental work that states do on the federal government’s behalf. States are particularly concerned over declines in the State and Tribal Assistance Grants (STAG).
State Budget Concerns • On average, federal funding is estimated to be less than one-quarter of the overall cost of state program operation. State environmental agencies seek alternate program funding support through user fees, state general funds, and other means to support program implementation. While state funds and user fees are important, the federal funds remain an essential resource to meet federal requirements for protecting public health and the environment.
State Budget Concerns • Many states have faced this declining federal funding support while also dealing with their own budget reductions resulting in hiring freezes, furloughs, lay-offs, and other budget reduction measures.
State Budget Concerns • States have worked to minimize impacts of these budget challenges through actions such as: streamlining processes through lean/six sigma approaches; sharing work with EPA; using information technology to reduce workloads (i.e. e-permitting) however, in some cases there have been delays in rulemaking and standard setting and increasing permit backlogs.
EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy • Administrator McCarthy spoke to ECOS members at the ECOS Annual Meeting in September.It was the first time she spoke to ECOS as Administrator, and was an opportunity for her to outline priorities and set a tone for interactions going forward.
What Did Gina Tell ECOS? • She is looking forward to strengthening communication with states and re-establishing trust. • She wants EPA to be visible on the ground and therefore relevant in every community – including continuing work with environmental justice communities. • Need to get Toxic Substance Control Act (TSCA) fixed to be able to better address chemical safety.
What Did Gina Tell ECOS? • Water and climate change will be the predominant environmental issues for the near term. Haven’t made steady progress on meeting aging infrastructure and drinking water challenges. • Under the Climate Action Plan, EPA is working to build bridges with all sectors of the economy and with the states. They hope to be able to build on the work of more than a dozen states that already have implemented market-based approaches.
ECOS Air Issues • Since President’s announcement of his Climate Action Plan and his subsequent memorandum to EPA on “Power Sector Carbon Pollution Standards,” ECOS is working to engage with EPA on how the pollution standards and other actions under the plan are going to be implemented.
ECOS Air Issues • Fairly new issue. • Not a lot of chance for involvement/comment yet. • Will be tracking it closely and working to get state views represented and concerns heard. • ECOS has been pushing EPA to address backlog of unapproved State Implementation Plans for meeting National Ambient Air Quality Standards. Getting this backlog cleared up should provide some regulatory certainty for business.
ECOS Air Issues • ECOS just passed a resolution, “On the Need to Ensure that Up-to-date, Protective National Ambient Air Quality Standards and Implementation Rules are Timely Promulgated and Implemented.”
ECOS and TSCA Reform • ECOS has been on record for several years on the need for TSCA reform. Three resolutions on TSCA reform are: • Reforming the TSCA – provides some general principles for TSCA reform. • States have also asked for access to confidential business information under TSCA through Resolution 01-6
ECOS and TSCA Reform • Another supports transferring TSCA authority for managing PCB wastes to waste management and remediation programs under RCRA and CERCLA. • ECOS been pursuing bipartisan discussions on how to potentially move TSCA Reform through in this Congress.
ECOS and TSCA Reform • ECOS presented testimony on TSCA Reform at a hearing on September 18, 2013, before the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, Subcommittee on Environment and the Economy. • Primary concerns of states are: • States should not be pre-empted by TSCA revisions beyond those currently in the statute.
ECOS and TSCA Reform • The need for EPA to conduct more chemical assessments. • The safety standard burden of proof should be less onerous. • States should have access to confidential business information.
E-Enterprise • At ECOS Annual Meeting in September officially agreed to kick off work with EPA on an “E-Enterprise” initiative: • To assess and reformulate business processes to take into account modern technologies and practices. • To transition from paper-based to electronic reporting.
E-Enterprise • To develop an interactive portal for regulatory transactions with states and the business community. • One of the goals of E-Enterprise is to enhance service to the regulated community and the public by maximizing the use of advanced monitoring and information technologies, optimizing operations, and increasing transparency.
Sue and Settle/Consent Decrees • ECOS has expressed concern about Consent Decrees that EPA negotiates with parties that impose requirements on states without notice to, or participation by, the impacted states, especially when these requirements are beyond those clearly articulated in rule or statute.
Sue and Settle/Consent Decrees • ECOS passed a resolution in March of 2013 about Consent Decrees that: • Calls on U.S. EPA to notify all affected state environmental agencies of citizen suits filed against U.S. EPA that allege a failure of the federal agency to perform its nondiscretionary duties.
Sue and Settle/Consent Decrees • Asks EPA to provide an opportunity for state environmental agencies to participate in the negotiation of citizen suit settlement agreements to allow states to protect their role in implementing federal environmental programs and for the administration of authorized or delegated environmental programs in the most effective and efficient manner.
Sue and Settle/Consent Decrees • Calls on U.S. EPA to support the intervention of state environmental agencies in citizen suits and meaningful participation in the negotiation of citizen suit settlement agreements when the state agency has either made a submission to EPA related to the citizen suit or when the state agency either implements, or is likely to implement, the authorized or delegated environmental program at issue.
Sue and Settle/Consent Decrees • States that the membership of ECOS believes that no settlement agreement should extend any power to U.S. EPA that it does not have in current law. • Provided testimony in June on HR 1493 “Sunshine for Regulatory Decrees and Settlements Act of 2013” to the House Judiciary Committee.
Title VI of the Civil Rights Act • ECOS has been engaging with EPA on their renewed efforts around Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. • State environmental commissioners and officials fully support the implementation of environmental programs in a manner which fully complies with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act. States recognize the importance of Title VI and are committed to its purpose.
Title VI of the Civil Rights Act • However have some concerns about specific actions that are currently being proposed. For instance in a Draft “Adversity and Compliance with Environmental Health-Based Thresholds” policy in the Federal Register on April 26, 2013. • In comments on this policy ECOS stated:
Title VI of the Civil Rights Act “Since its 1998 Select Steel decision (Complaint file no. 5R-98-R5), EPA has treated compliance with the governing health-based standard as creating a “rebuttable presumption” that public health is adequately protected, and, unless the presumption can be overcome, that no adversity exists for the purpose of the Title VI analysis. EPA now proposes to eliminate this rebuttable presumption from its analysis of adversity under Title VI and that there are compelling legal reasons why the rebuttable presumption concept should be retained.”
ECOS and Mercury • ECOS leads a long-standing coalition of state associations in work around mercury pollution through the Quicksilver Caucus. • Worked closely with EPA and industry in setting up the National Vehicle Mercury Switch Recovery Program and the related National Emission Standard for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) for Area Sources: Electric Arc Furnace Steelmaking Facilities.
Questions? Tom Easterly Commissioner Indiana Department of Environmental Management (317) 232-8611 teasterly@idem.IN.gov