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Governing principles of the Coalition for Environmental Mandate Reform.

Unfunded and underfunded federal environmental mandates exact a tremendous financial cost on state and local governments and taxpayers. State and local governments recognize that the cumulative burden of unfunded mandates, coupled with their increasing costs for compliance, risk the loss of public support for comprehensive environmental protection. Strengthening environmental protection with limited financial resources will be achieved only through federal, state and local partnership building. The Coalition for Environmental Mandate Reform supports performance and science-based environmental policies and programs which improve environmental conditions by reducing risks to human beings, plant and animal species, and ecological systems. The Coalition asks Congress and the Federal Administration to enact environmental laws, policies and regulations that reflect the following principles:

Principle 1. Science: Environmental legislation and resulting regulation should be formulated on a well founded, objective, unbiased peer-reviewed science base. Specifically:

* The scientific process shall be utilized in the formation of environmental legislation. This scientific process should consist of five steps:

-perception of a problem,

-funding for investigation,

-scientific investigation,

-release of scientific results for peer review, and,

-communication to public officials and general public.

* Should immediate threats to environmental or public health appear to occur, temporary measures should be authorized and implemented pending completion of scientific review and verification.

* Federal, state and local governments should utilize scientifically objective, unbiased assessment as a tool in determining environmental policies.

* The broader impacts of ecological management practices should be considered before individual mandates are imposed.

Principle 2. Funding: The impact of environmental mandates on state and local governments must be thoroughly understood prior to formation and passage of legislation and regulations. This means:

* Federal government should determine the cost to state and local governments for environmental compliance.

* The ability of state and local governments to pay for unfunded and underfunded environmental mandates be considered by the federal government in the formation of environmental policies.

* Federal, state and local governments should agree on a funding formula to ensure the ability to comply with environmental mandates.

Principle 3. Flexibility: The federal government must recognize that environmental protection can be achieved through various methods. Specifically:

* Government should be committed to environmental solutions that are shown to be the least costly and most effective.

* Consideration of local environmental conditions should be incorporated in the development of environmental legislation, regulation and other policies.

* nd local governments should be permitted to develop alternative approaches to the current "command and control" system and other mandated solutions for environmental compliance. These alternatives should include pollution prevention and market-based inventive measures.

* Barriers that affect the ability of state and local government to comply with environmental mandates should be considered in the development of environmental policies.

* State and local governments should be encouraged to use a regional approach, where problems and conditions are similar, to address environmental mandates or other issues.

* Basic national environmental standards should be set by the federal government. More stringent standards could subsequently be enacted by state and local governments.

Principle 4. Partnerships and Coordination: All levels of government must work together to ensure the public health and environment are protected. Greater emphasis should be given toward building partnerships between federal, state and local governments. Specifically:

* Greater emphasis should be given toward building partnerships between federal, state and local governments.

* The need to more equitably balance national, state and local environmental goals and interests should be recognized.

* The unique nature of local communities as regulators and regulates must be recognized in the passage of unfunded mandates.

* State and local governments should be afforded greater participation in the environmental rulemaking process.

* Authority and responsibility should be consolidated within administrative and congressional committees dealing with environmental issues.

* Cross-media analysis of environmental regulations should be conducted when applicable.

* Consistency between environmental rules if frequently lacking. One mandate should not conflict with another.

* Policy stability and financial sustainability should be considered in the development of the environmental regulatory process.

* State and local governments should be afforded realistic timetables in the implementation and management of environmental mandates.

* Increased inter- and intra-agency coordination is needed at the federal level to accurately assess the impact of regulation on state and local government.

* The environmental permitting process should be streamlined.

Principle 5. Prioritization: Government's limited financial resources must be allocated to address the worst environmental problems first. Given this:

* The federal government should prioritize national environmental issues and mandates; state and local governments should be given the opportunity to prioritize state and local environmental issues and mandates.

* Quality-of-life issues should be given consideration when evaluating the required level of environmental compliance.

* Federal, state and local governments should utilize risk assessment and comparative risk tools in determining environmental priorities.

* The cumulative impact on state and local governments must be considered when environmental rules and regulations are developed by the federal government.

* Cost/benefit analyses should be more fully utilized in the environmental rulemaking process.

* The focus of federal environmental legislation should be shifted to emphasize attainment of desired:outcomes rather than compliance with uniform practices.

Principle 6. Technical Assistance/Information: State and local governments need additional information to identify the various environmental mandates, and to evaluate the success of programs formed to comply with them. The coalition believes:

* The federal government should establish a single, comprehensive, multi-agency data base to assess existing environmental conditions and assist state and local governments with questions regarding environmental compliance.

* Efforts should be made to catalog all environmental mandates affecting state and local governments.

* Attainment of benchmarks, rather than frequency of enforcement, should be used to measure the success of an environmental regulation or mandate.

* A standardized methodology should be used to determine cost impacts to state and local governments resulting from environmental regulations.

* Evaluation of all mandates shall be performed to insure efficient use of funding to achieve environmental improvements.

Principle 7. Public Education/Communication: Strong public support for financing environmental protection is needed. In order to develop this support, the public must understand the financial, environmental and communal impacts resulting from the passage of environmental mandates.

* The public has to become an active partner in the implementation and establishment of environmental standards within local communities.

* Unbiased, objective evaluation of the existing environmental mandates have to be performed to document environmental improvement to the public.

* The federal, state and local governments should encourage citizen participation in all segments of environmental policy setting.
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Copyright 1993 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Nation's Cities Weekly
Date:Oct 11, 1993
Words:1047
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