Current EPA Regulatory Practices and Future Directions
The regulatory approach to environmental protection has been responsible for much of the environmental progress made to date in the US during the past 35 years. It continues to be the foundation of environmental protection in the US. This process of environmental laws, regulations, permits, inspections, and enforcement requires an understanding of the political and legal framework in which we operate, the application of good science, and the art of creative environmental management. The course will provide an overview of the principles governing the regulatory approaches used by EPA, state, and local governments. It will be taught mainly from the perspective of the federal government and be supplemented by viewpoints of other stakeholders [eg, the regulated community, state/local government, civic/environmental groups]. Using real-life examples from programs such as air, water, and hazardous waste, this course will provide an understanding of environmental legislation and regulations, considerations in writing permits that will ensure results, the processes used by agencies when taking enforcement actions, and how these agencies balance regulatory and non-regulatory approaches. It will discuss the evolution of environmental protection and how the government sets priorities, ensures high- quality data, practices good science, promotes environmental justice, conducts criminal investigations, and utilizes various approaches to ensure optimal results. Government officials and other stakeholders will present their perspectives. Included in the discussions will be some of the USA’s more intractable environmental problems [eg, impacts from coal mining, non-point source runoff, urban ozone, climate change] and how regulatory approaches may be able to address these issues]. Students will be expected to assume the role of a government regulatory official. As such they will evaluate an actual environmental problem/program and will make proposals for improving the program using the concepts learned.