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Volume 25, Issue 12 — December 1995


ISO 14001: Application of International Environmental Management Systems Standards in the United States

by Christopher L. Bell

Editors' Summary: After three years of work, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has essentially completed its voluntary environmental management systems standard—ISO 14001. This Article reviews the standard's development, summarizes its goals and key elements, and discusses potential approaches to conforming to the standard. Next, the Article analyzes potential domestic applications of the standard in the context of current federal efforts to encourage private compliance-assurance programs. Specifically, the Article focuses on the role of compliance-assurance programs in emerging alternatives to the "command and control" regulatory system and in enforcement-discretion and penalty-mitigation policies. Stressing that compliance with the standard is not the only way to design and implement an environmental management system, the Article concludes that federal guidance should remain consistent with ISO 14001, but that the government should not adopt the standard as law or guidance. The Article also concludes that regulatory applications of ISO 14001 should not be limited to enforcement considerations. Regulators should recognize the standard's potential as a foundation for regulatory reform.

Regulation of Radiological and Chemical Carcinogens: Current Steps Toward Risk Harmonization

by David P. Overy and Allan C.B. Richardson

Editors' Summary: Until recently, the regulation of chemical carcinogens and the regulation of radiological carcinogens developed independently. Different governmental agencies operating under different statutory directives were responsible for addressing the dangers from these carcinogens. As a result, different policies and practices were developed. This Article explores these differences and the record on resolving them. It first examines the history of federal regulation of chemical and radiological carcinogens and summarizes EPA's approach to risk assessments for them. It then analyzes the traditional risk management approach for radiation, as exemplified by the recommendations of the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP), and compares this approach to the approaches EPA has taken. Finally, the Article compares the results obtained under these approaches. It concludes that EPA's radiation standards, which in many cases were derived under policies applicable to chemical carcinogens, are, for the most part, consistent with the ICRP's recommendations.

NOAA's Latest Attempts at Natural Resource Damages Regulation: Simpler . . . But Better?

by Robert F. Copple

Editors' Summary: The debate about the most appropriate procedures and methodologies to conduct natural resource damage assessments (NRDAs) has continued throughout the last decade among agencies and stakeholders. In August 1995, NOAA proposed the most recent set of regulations to govern NRDAs under the Oil Pollution Act. This Article reviews the history of natural resource damages regulations and the 1995 NOAA proposed rule. It concludes that while NOAA has made a valiant effort to respond to stakeholders' concerns and to simplify the NRDA process, the agency has sidestepped the most controversial issues in the NRDA debate, such as the appropriate scientific methodologies and valuation techniques, and to what extent passive-use values should be compensable.