Environmental Protection Agency

How to Reform EPA

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Community Member

Federal agencies spend considerable man hours and invest significant budget dollars in promulgating millions of pages of regulations. That said, I respectfully contend regulations are largely a waste if not enforceable nor enforced. To be effective, one must achieve compliance in the regulated community. To believe merely enacting requirements do the job, either by legislative or administrative means, is inefficient as well as ineffective. To be more efficient and effective, government needs to cut back on overly prescriptive command and control regulations. Regs need to be fewer and simplified into plain English, thus made easier with which to comply. Regs should set reasonable, broad goals and only set enforceable requirements that actually will be enforced. More resources for inspection and vigorous enforcement; less money and time spent on the many ways to count success, tell success stories, do public relations, etc. Program offices should always include strong compliance assistance components. Program offices must be held accountable for compliance rates. This creates incentive for efficient, effective rules. Take compliance assistance out of enforcement programs. Enforcement shops should be funded for adequate corps of inspectors to cover regulated community and attorneys to do enforcement followup. All enforcement by State programs against the Federal government, including the Defense Department, should be supported by grant funds from EPA -- not the regulated entities. State enforcement must be made accountable as well. Enforcement programs also should be central shop for compliance monitoring data from Regional and State programs. High priority on good quality compliance data leads to efficiency and effectiveness. Look at Netherlands' environmental program as potential model.

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Idea No. 16955