October 1, 2013, the first day of the 2014 fiscal year, activity at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA’s) has come to a screeching halt. The first question to ask is – is this a good thing or a bad one? And, the answer is – it depends. It depends upon your point of view. According to postings on news sites only 7% of EPA’s workforce has been deemed essential, and it is really unclear as to what the tasks being performed by those individuals really are. But, what we do know is this:
It is commonly said that uncertainty may be our biggest hindrance to overall improvement. While nothing is100% certain, as the level of uncertainty increases, the paralysis to implement new technology, new innovations, and improvements also increases. Thus, while the EPA is shut down, the “mice don’t play” as many would expect, the mice freeze in place. This freeze while it may provide temporary relief, may also be a harbinger of doom.
As environmental professionals, we can’t let the ice settle. We need to use this time to plan and evaluate potential options. We can look at those scenarios that we have been discussing. We can look at ways to improve current compliance. We can refine our processes. We can clear some of that clutter that has been accumulating. Take this time to examine your current state of regulation, and develop your plan –it will allow you to prepare for the potentials that are around the corner rather than react to them because you haven’t had the time for thoughtful analysis.