First, a warning – we’ll be posting 3 times this week.  There was just too much “looking foward” to fit into one post.  Posts from Nicole and Jeff will be up in the next few days.

So, what to look for from EPA in 2014?  According to its Draft 2014-2018 Strategic Plan, there are five strategic goals:

Goal 1: Addressing Climate Change and Improving Air Quality

Goal 2: Protecting America’s Waters

Goal 3: Cleaning Up Communities and Advancing Sustainable Development

Goal 4: Ensuring the Safety of Chemicals and Preventing Pollution

Goal 5: Protecting Human Health and the Environment by Enforcing Laws and Assuring Compliance

While manufacturers may be impacted by each of these in a number of indirect ways, the ones most likely to affect you directly are the focus on Chemical Safety (Goal 3) and Enforcement (Goal 5).

With respect to Chemical Safety, here are EPA’s specific objectives:

  •  Ensure Chemical Safety. Reduce the risk and increase the safety of chemicals that enter our products, our environment, and our bodies.
  • Promote Pollution Prevention. Conserve and protect natural resources by promoting pollution prevention and the adoption of other sustainability practices by companies, communities, governmental organizations, and individuals.

Anyone who uses chemicals or generates waste is likely to be affected by these efforts. On the other hand, those who are ahead of the game, using green chemistry or implementing significant pollution prevention efforts, will have saved themselves some headaches as well as some money.

With respect to Goal 5, know that enforcement is not going away.  Here’s EPA’s stated objective:

Enforce Environmental Laws to Achieve Compliance. Pursue vigorous civil and criminal enforcement that targets the most serious water, air, and chemical hazards in communities to achieve compliance. Ensure strong, consistent, and effective enforcement of federal environmental laws nationwide. Use Next Generation Compliance strategies and tools to improve compliance and reduce pollution.

So the bad news is that enforcement is increasing. The good news is that “Next Generation Compliance” involves a number of initiatives, but promoting electronic reporting, advanced monitoring, and transparency. EPA also recognizes that by adopting regulations and permits that are easier to implement, there will be higher rates of compliance and “improved environmental outcomes.”

Look for Part 2, coming shortly