[Date Prev][Date Next][Date Index]

E-M:/ RE: / FW: Today's GAO Reports - May 22, 2002



-------------------------------------------------------------------------
Enviro-Mich message from Timberland RC&D <timrcd@iserv.net>
-------------------------------------------------------------------------

Would like Enviro-Michers to know that the GAO not only worked hard at 
coming to these conclusions, they sought and included the input of the 
"front-liners" in the AOC program, most of whom are volunteers

Partly because Michigan has 14 of the 43 (or it might be 42 now, I think 
one of the Canadian sites delisted) Areas of Concern, we also have a 
Statewide Public Advisory Council (S-PAC), ably staffed by the Great Lakes 
Commission. This group of representatives from RAP advisory/implementation 
groups tries to coordinate their actions (particularly in terms of seeking 
funding), and indeed to encourage each other to continue despite having 
pretty much no money and no support. At our last S-PAC meeting, a couple of 
people from the GAO attended and asked informed and insightful questions. 
It was obvious that they had already done enough research to be pretty 
close to the conclusions below, but I have to commend them for considering 
us and putting a human face on it.

In the years I have been involved, I have worked with many wonderful people 
at the DEQ and U.S. EPA Region 5, but have also watched the commitment to 
this program continually diminish. It has been very discouraging, 
particularly as we in Muskegon are beginning to get a handle on the extent 
of our contaminated sediment problem with its astronomical cleanup costs.

We need to include this report as part of a push to get national attention 
drawn to the Great Lakes basin. In addition, it seems to me that Tracy 
Mehan, who has attended many S-PAC functions in the past and is more than 
familiar with the AOC/RAP process, would be in a great position to 
spearhead "ensuring the implementation of RAPs and identify[ing] the 
actions, time periods, and resources" needed.

Cynthia Price
Chair, Muskegon Lake Public Advisory Council

-----Original Message-----
From:	Kostas Alexandridis [SMTP:alexa191@msu.edu]
Sent:	Wednesday, May 22, 2002 3:51 PM
To:	enviro-mich@great-lakes.net
Subject:	E-M:/ FW: Today's GAO Reports - May 22, 2002

-------------------------------------------------------------------------
Enviro-Mich message from "Kostas Alexandridis" <alexa191@msu.edu>
-------------------------------------------------------------------------


A GAO Report that might be of interest. It is a report produced after a
Congressional Request from GAO.

I am posting here a quote from their results:

"Results in Brief: As of April 2002, none of the 26 contaminated areas
in the Great Lakes Basin for which the United States is responsible had
completed all three stages of the RAP process and been restored to
beneficial use. Currently, all of the areas have defined their
respective environmental problems (stage 1), but only approximately half
of the areas selected remedial and regulatory measures to address these
problems (stage 2). The slow progress of cleanup efforts reflects a
general departure from the RAP process specified in the agreement. In a
few areas, the state or local groups continue to follow the RAP process,
although the ultimate remediation of the contaminated areas remains
uncertain. In some areas, citizen advisory councils developed
alternative cleanup plans that completely abandoned the RAP process.
According to state and local officials, the councils abandoned the
process because they lacked the technical expertise or financial
resources to implement the RAPs. In other areas, the states or citizen
groups assumed responsibility for the RAPs, modifying the process to
conform to each area's particular circumstances. Several areas forged
ahead to address some of their environmental problems, with successes
realized through other federal program activity, such as Superfund, or
funding from state or nonprofit sources. EPA is not effectively
fulfilling the nation's responsibility under the Great Lakes Water
Quality Agreement of 1978 to ensure that RAPs are developed and
implemented in the contaminated areas. Even though EPA has been charged
with leading the effort to meet the goals of the agreement, it has not
clearly delineated responsibility for oversight of RAPs within the
agency, and, citing resource constraints and the need to tend to other
Great Lakes priorities, reduced its staff and the amount of funding it
allocates to states for the purpose of RAP development and
implementation. For example, in 1992, EPA transferred the oversight
responsibility for RAPs from GLNPO to the  agency's regional offices,
which it believed to be more familiar with funding and managing such
programs. The regional offices provided initial support and oversight
for the RAP process, but then significantly reduced the number of
assigned staff and the amount of federally allocated funds devoted to
RAP development and implementation. Now, no EPA office claims
responsibility for overseeing this effort. Moreover, reductions in staff
and funding limited the number of areas that EPA can effectively
monitor. According to EPA officials, the agency reduced its support for
RAPs under the assumption that states would continue to fund the RAP
efforts. Instead, the states followed EPA's lead and reduced their
support as well. Subsequently, EPA shifted its attention to other
priorities in the Great Lakes Basin that are required under the
agreement. We are recommending that the EPA administrator clarify which
office within EPA is directly responsible for ensuring the
implementation of RAPs and identify the actions, time periods, and
resources needed to help EPA fulfill its RAP oversight
responsibilities." GAO-02-567 (May 17, 2002).

Following is the website where you can download the entire report.

Thank you,
Sincerely,

Kostas Alexandridis.



The General Accounting Office (GAO) today released the following
reports:

REPORTS

2. Great Lakes:  EPA Needs to Define Organizational Responsibilities
Better for Effective Oversight and Cleanup of Contaminated Areas.
GAO-02-563, May 17. http://www.gao.gov/cgi-bin/getrpt?GAO-02-563



==============================================================
ENVIRO-MICH:  Internet List and Forum for Michigan Environmental
and Conservation Issues and Michigan-based Citizen Action.   Archives at
http://www.great-lakes.net/lists/enviro-mich/

Postings to:  enviro-mich@great-lakes.net      For info, send email to
majordomo@great-lakes.net  with a one-line message body of  "info 
enviro-mich"
==============================================================



==============================================================
ENVIRO-MICH:  Internet List and Forum for Michigan Environmental
and Conservation Issues and Michigan-based Citizen Action.   Archives at
http://www.great-lakes.net/lists/enviro-mich/

Postings to:  enviro-mich@great-lakes.net      For info, send email to
majordomo@great-lakes.net  with a one-line message body of  "info enviro-mich"
==============================================================