If general regulatory reform bills were enacted, debates on statute-specific reauthorizations could shift from regulatory reforms to the substantive regulatory requirements of each Act. In this case, regulatory reform could consist of proposals to modify statutory requirements to reduce costs to the private sector and State and local governments, to increase flexibility, and to reduce or compensate regulatory impacts on the value of private property. At issue would be a series of potential tradeoffs, for example among efficiency of environmental regulations, national consistency versus local flexibility, protection of private property rights, and degrees of health and environmental protection.
The Department of Energy (DOE) established the Office of Technology Development in 1989 to develop faster and less expensive technical solutions to the Department's widespread environmental problems, primarily the legacy of decades of nuclear weapons production. Without new environmental technologies, DOE contends, some types of contamination may prove impossible to clean up. The Office of Technology Development, which is part of DOE's Environmental Management Program (EM), manages all stages of the development of new environmental restoration and waste management technologies, from basic research and development through final testing, demonstration and evaluation.
For the 104th Congress, reauthorization of the Clean Water Act would seem likely to be a priority, since the Act was last amended in 1987 and authorizations expired on September 30, 1990. But legislative prospects in the 104th Congress are uncertain. Clean water also was a priority for the 103rd Congress, but, in 1994, Congress ran out of time and did not act on comprehensive amendments. Many of the issues proved to be too complex and controversial to be resolved easily, while Congress also was considering a large agenda of environmental and other bills. Controversies arose in connection with issues specific to the Clean Water Act and a trio of regulatory relief issues that became barriers to a number of bills in the 103rd Congress.
This report discusses the broad-ranging provisions in Title IV of The Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990 (P.L. 101-549), which raise myriad implementation issues, particularly with respect to the system of tradable "allowances."
This report reviews some of the concerns surrounding the environment work program and other environmental issues. It briefly describes work underway in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), and current thinking underlying development of U.S. positions on trade and the environment in the GATT.
Increasingly, efforts to protect integral features of the natural environment that are essential to human well being face a double challenge. First, the magnitude of some conventional and emerging threats to environmental quality is growing, despite solid progress in controlling some causes. This is particularly the concern on a global scale in terms of atmospheric changes and loss of biological diversity. Second, easily-implemented uniform control methods using feasible technologies or other direct regulatory approaches are already in place for many pollution and resource management problems in the United States. Additional progress with so-called command and control policies can be expensive and disruptive, and thus counter productive to overall economic well being. This type of dilemma is common where environmental deterioration results from diffuse and complex causes inherent in technically-advanced high-consumption industrial societies such as the U.S. Solutions to these types of environmental problems are complicated by the diffuse benefits which obscures the net gains of additional controls that have concentrated and highly visible costs. Given this double bind, many policy analysts and academics have for years advocated more cost-effective and flexible approaches relying on market forces to further some environmental management objectives. Although market-based theory and practical environmental policy are still far apart, the incremental approach to environmental policymaking since the late seventies has resulted in some market-type innovations within traditional regulatory frameworks at all levels of government. The most prominent examples are the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) air emissions trading program and the recently enacted sulfur dioxide allowance trading program under the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments.
Date: March 7, 1994
Creator: Moore, John L.; Blodgett, John E.; Copeland, Claudia; Gushee, David E.; Mayer, Susan L.; McCarthy, James E. et al.
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