EPA has opened the comment period on its Strategic Plan. The Federal Register announcement is located here. The comment period closes on 1/3/2014 barring an extension. The Goals are:
Goal 1 - Addressing Climate Change and Improving Air Quality
Goal 2 - Protecting America's Waters
Goal 3 - Cleaning up Communities & Advancing Sustainable Development
Goal 4 - Ensuring the Safety of Chemicals & Preventing Pollution
Goal 5 - Protecting Human Health and Environment by Enforcing Laws and Ensuring Compliance
For our industry (Petrochemical and Oil and Gas) - here are topics that may be of interest:
Under Goal 1 - there is the continued focus on green house gases (GHGs). A priority goal for FY 2014-2015 will be the reduction of GHGs from vehicles and trucks. But, there is still a push to reduce and manage GHGs from large stationary sources, through the implementation and enforcement of permitting requirements.
Under Goal 2 - Two areas directly impact our industries - one the definition of waters of the US and management of underground injection of waters. One may impact how regulators look at water issues and may ultimately impact the availability of water and permit limitations. The underground injection will have a dramatic impact on the oil and gas industry, e.g. fracking. But, management of disposal well injection may also be reviewed.
Goal 4 - This is the revamp of the Toxic Substance Control Act Goal. EPA is looking to review the Act as well as conduct more assessments of chemicals in commerce. There is a proposed expansion of the Chemical Information System.
As for Enforcement and Compliance - the Strategic Plan discusses the next generation compliance but using five strategies:
1. Designing regulations and permits that are easier to implement.
2. Using and promoting advance emission/pollutant detection technologies
3. Shift to electronic reporting
4. Expanding transparency by making information more accessible
5. Developing and using innovative enforcement approaches (e.g. data analytics and targeting)
Anyone who has been following the trend in regulations should not be surprised by this draft strategic plan. The direction appears to be the same. Should keep those of us working in the environmental field busy for awhile longer.