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Issue

Volume 29, Issue 6 — June 1999

Articles

European Community Environmental Law: Environmental Legislation

by Rod Hunter and Koen Muylle

Editors' Summary: This Article is the second of three parts of a discussion of environmental law in the European Community. The first Article, which was published in the September 1998 edition of ELR's News & Analysis, discussed the evolving European treaties and institutions. This Article delves into the particulars of the European environmental regulatory framework. It begins by covering institutional issues and then moves into an inventory of production-related regulation. The Article covers environmental impact assessments, eco-management and auditing, major accident hazards, industrial emissions, ambient air and water quality, and waste management. The third and last Article in this series will be published in ELR's News & Analysis later this year, and all three Articles serve as the introductory chapterof the Environmental Law Institute's European Community Deskbook, 2nd Edition.

Voluntary and Brownfields Remediation Programs: An Overview of the Environmental Law Institute's 1998 Research

by Linda K. Breggin and John Pendergrass

Editors' Summary: One of the most important legal tools in the effort to remediate the nation's contaminated sites is state law that applies to such cleanups. In 1989, the Environmental Law Institute (ELI) conducted a study of this law, and last year, it completed its most recent update of that study. In this Article, two ELI Senior Attorneys discuss the results of that update as it concerns two key aspects of site remediation—voluntary and brownfield cleanup programs. The Article begins with a description of state voluntary cleanup programs, summarizing their legal structure, eligibility requirements, cleanup standards, cleanup activities, and incentives. It then examines state brownfield programs, discussing their inclusion criteria, cleanup activities, cleanup standards, and incentives.

Dialogue

The Government Performance and Results Act and the Future of EPA: A Second Look

by Robert M. Sussman

Editors' Summary: In 1993, Congress passed the Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA), which requires federal agencies to prepare strategic plans and performance reports for achieving program goals. In two companion Dialogues published in the October 1998 and the February 1999 issues of ELR-The Environmental Law Reporter, Professor Rena Steinzor examined GPRA's impact on EPA's strategic planning, budget process, and relationship with the states. Steinzor's Dialogues concluded that compliance with GPRA's requirements could harm EPA, undermine its environmental protection mission, and weaken the Agency's ability to oversee state programs.

In this Dialogue, Robert M. Sussman — the chair of Latham & Watkins' Washington, D.C., environmental practice and a former EPA Deputy Administrator — responds to Steinzor's critique. The author disagrees with Steinzor's conclusion that results-driven strategic planning based on GPRA will weaken EPA. The author argues that the GPRA framework developed by EPA represents an effort to overcome serious weaknesses in strategic planning that EPA has struggled with since the 1980s. According to the author, GPRA goalsetting and performance measures could provide the Agency with a stable and predictable priority-setting process based on sound technical and policy considerations and better enable EPA to survive the pendulum swings of environmental policy. Similarly, specific and credible outcome-based goals could encourage more rational resource allocation for environmental programs and help free the Agency's budget from a politically driven appropriations process. Further, with GPRA's emphasis on environmental outcomes, EPA will develop results-based measures that can be tracked by the public, Congress, and the states. Outcome-based measures can also create a new system of federal oversight of state programs that should prevent environmental degradation while reducing reliance on regulatory "bean counting." Turning to GPRA implementation, the author concludes that while constructive first steps, EPA's initial strategic plan and annual performance plans fall well short of establishing an effective outcome-based system of environmental goals and performance measures and that EPA needs to engage Congress, states, and key stakeholders in a serious dialogue about the challenges and opportunities offered by GPRA.