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Re: State Deficitis & P2

You have raised some interesting questions. I think most states and EPA
will tell you that we are trying to use "environmental performance" or
results measurements to gauge the effectiveness of environmental
programs rather than traditional "bean counting" measurements like
number of inspections, number of enforcement actions, number of permits
issued, etc. because they are better indicators of environmental
performance. For example, enforcement programs measure "percent of
facilities in compliance", believing it has more relevance than number
of inspections.

Having said that, here in New Jersey about 5 years ago (when USEPA
Administrator Whitman was our governor), our staffs were cut nearly 20%
to meet budget needs. It is recognized that the number of inspections
went down significantly during that time period, then later rose. The
budget problems and layoffs had a clear impact on morale, which may have
been felt most keenly among enforcement staff. 

Oddly enough, although P2 offers clear financial rewards for industry
and government, it is often among the first programs cut when the budget
gets tight. The reasons for this include the fact that most P2 programs
are voluntary (not required by regulation) and because P2 does not have
many political supporters (nor is it politically feasible to cut staff
from other visible programs like enforcement)
Melinda Dower
Research Scientist
NJ Dept of Environmental Protection

>>> "Donald Sutherland" <donaldsutherland-iso14000@worldnet.att.net>
01/22/03 10:22AM >>>
Today's Wall Street Journal has a report "Bush's Home State Faces
Budget 'Mess', stating most states face rising budget deficits.

Yesterday's Boston Globe reported in Massachusetts a state facing over
$2 billion in budget cuts only 27% of facilities holding major
environmental permits have been inspected by state or federal regulators
in the past two years.

Is there a connection between low environmental permit inspection rates
and states facing rising budget deficits?

And if so, does that mean for many states facing growing budget
deficits the tendency is to let industry monitor itself while government
environmental permit enforcement is being scaled down under fiscal
restraint measures?

And if that is the case, what is to prevent a collapse of the integrity
of  state environmental policies and enforcement similar to the collapse
of the conflict of interest riddled, self governoring accounting
industry in the US stock markets?

Thank you for your consideration of my inquiries.

Best Wishes,
Donald Sutherland
Member of the Society of Environmental Journalists

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