EPA policy on flexible state enforcement responses to small community violations: an assessment of activities and results, 1995-1998
In June of 1998, the Chemical Commercial Services and Municipal Division of the US Environmental Protection Agency determined that there was a need to evaluate the effectiveness of its Policy on Flexible State Enforcement Responses to Small Community Violations ("the policy."). The Center for Watershed and Community Health was identified as an appropriate organization to carry out the evaluation based on the experience of staff with the policy and with the flexible compliance programs in Oregon and Idaho. This report focuses on the programs operating in Nebraska and Oregon. The Nebraska Mandates Management Initiative project (NMMI) and Environmental Partnerships for Oregon Communities (EPOC) both represent well-established programs that have been developed the most fully. NMMI was begun in 1994 and was initiated from the Nebraska Governor's Office. EPOC was begun in 1992 and began in the state Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ). The purpose of this report is to examine how states have implemented the policy and whether the policy itself is effective in outlining parameters in which individual states can have discretion to offer comprehensive multi-media assistance to small community violators. Flexible compliance programs that take a multi-media approach to enforcing regulations are an alternative to the traditional methods of enforcement. By understanding the impact of the policy on these flexible compliance programs, the EPA will be better able to assess the effectiveness of the policy and make revisions as necessary to improve its responsiveness.