Another significant area of programming for the EPA is the sponsorship of voluntary partnerships and programs. The regional offices and headquarters of the EPA work with over 10,000 businesses, nonprofit organizations, local governments, and industries on voluntary programs. These groups engage in approximately 40 different programs promoting energy conservation and efficiency, as well as pollution prevention and education. Partners undertake projects in many areas including finding ways to conserve water, reducing greenhouse gases and toxic emissions, recycling solid wastes, mitigating indoor air pollution problems, and better understanding pesticide risks.
In addition to voluntary programs, the EPA promotes several other partnerships, such as stewardship programs, information exchange partnerships, and general partnerships. For instance, the environmental stewardship program provides resources for industry, governments, and other agencies to promote sustainable actions and environmental protection. The Information Exchange Partnership is an internet-based exchange of standards-focused secure data. This resource ensures integrated information, real-time access, and the ability to electronically collect and store accurate information. The Information Exchange Partnership also includes the Central Data Exchange. This allows the EPA and contacted program offices to receive environmental data submissions from state and local governments, tribes, industry, and other collaborative partners. The Central
Data Exchange provides a means for fast and efficient communication between stakeholders and the EPA.
The EPA also participates in several other collaborative initiatives. For example, Binational.net is a program in which the EPA and Environment Canada work to preserve the Great Lakes. This program fulfills the requirements set forth in the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement. The EPA and U.S. laboratories have also formed a voluntary partnership dedicated to improving the performance, environmental sustainability, and energy efficiency of nationwide laboratories. This is called Labs for the 21st Century. A final collaborative program of note is the Office of Pollution and Prevention and Toxics (OPPT) and Tribal Environmental Network. The EPA established this program to better facilitate communication with tribes and to assist Native American tribes with the protection of the environment.
Promoting environmental education is another area of EPA programming. It is the goal of this agency to promote environmental consciousness and respect by inspiring individual responsibility for caring for the environment. To accomplish this, the EPA provides a variety of resources to educators, students, and interested citizens. The Office of Environmental Education promotes grants, fellowships, educator training programs, and the President's Environmental Youth Awards.
The final program goal of the EPA is to publish and disseminate information. This is one way that EPA keeps the public abreast of current activities and the status of environmental regulations. The E-Govern-ment Act of 2002 requires that federal agencies keep an up-to-date inventory of information to be published on their websites, to establish and convey a publications schedule, and to allow public comment on those schedules. The EPA maintains this on their website and makes an effort to distribute publications as soon as printed.
SEE ALSO: Compliance; Policy, U.S.; Pollution, Air; Pollution, Land; Pollution, Water; Regulation.
BIBLOGRAPHY. Stephen DeVito, Present and Future Trends of the United States Environmental Protection Agency: Progress in Organic Coatings (v.35, 1999); S.K. Grossarth and A.D. Hecht, "Sustainability at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency: 1970-2020," Ecological Engineer ing (v.30/1, 2007); U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, www.epa.gov (cited November 2007).
Ellen J. Crivella Vermont Law School
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