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Volume 28, Issue 10 — October 1998


The Food Quality Protection Act: A New Way of Looking at Pesticides

by Kenneth Weinstein, Jeffrey Holmstead, William Wehrum, and Douglas Nelson

Editors' Summary: In 1996, the Food Quality Protection Act (FQPA) made major changes in the law governing pesticide residues in food, including elimination of the zero-risk standard for carcinogenic food additives. The FQPA instead imposed a new safety standard—a reasonable certainty that no harm will result from aggregate exposure to the pesticide—for establishment of "tolerances" setting maximum allowable amounts of pesticide residue.

In this Article, the authors assess the significant regulatory challenges this new standard poses. They examine the factors EPA must consider in establishing tolerances, including information on the aggregate exposure to a given pesticide and the cumulative effects of pesticides with a common mechanism of toxicity. The authors trace EPA's efforts to begin implementation of the new law and explore the practical and scientific difficulties of developing reliable information on which to base tolerance decisions. They conclude that establishment of tolerances under the FQPA will be challenging, but workable, if EPA relies on and provides sufficient time for collection of good data.


The U.S. Supreme Court's 1997-1998 Term

by Marc A. Yaggi

Editors' Summary: Every year since the advent of modern environmental law, the U.S. Supreme Court has been called on to resolve controversies surrounding a variety of subjects, such as hazardous waste cleanup, water pollution, air pollution, water rights, mining claims, and land use. And every year, the Court seems to decide one or more environmental or environmentally related cases that significantly affect the field of environmental law. The Court's 1997-1998 Term was no different. This Term, the Court issued opinions in seven environmental or environmentally related cases, and denied review in over 50 such cases. The opinions issued covered a variety of important issues ranging from citizen suit standing to parent corporation liablity under CERCLA. This Comment surveys the environmental and environmentally related cases the Court reviewed or chose not to review during its 1997-1998 Term. The Comment also discusses certain implications of the cases for environmental law and the environment generally.


Reinventing Environmental Regulation Via the Government Performance and Results Act: Where's the Money?

by Rena I. Steinzor and William F. Piermattei

Editors' Summary: In 1993, Congress passed the Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA), which requires federal agencies to prepare strategic plans containing mission statements and statements of their goals and objectives. The plans must explain how the agencies will achieve these goals and must describe the resources they need to do so. The statute also requires agencies to begin preparing annual performance reports in March 2000 that compare their goals and performance indicators with their actual program performance.

This Dialogue examines the impact of GPRA on EPA, and specifically on the Agency's strategic planning and budget processes. The Dialogue begins with an explanation of GPRA and the part the statute plays in recent efforts to "reinvent" government. It then examines historical trends in EPA's budget, especially in light of congressional mandates imposed on the Agency. The Dialogue considers the Agency's 1997
Strategic Plan and 1999 Annual Plan, and discusses the nexus between these documents and the actual fiscal allocations proposed by EPA. In an upcoming Dialogue, the authors will examine GPRA's impact on EPA's relationship with its state counterparts.