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Lessons Learned in the Transfer of U.S.-Generated Environmental Compliance Tools: Compliance Schedules for Poland

June 1997

Citation: ELR 10296

Author: Ruth Greenspan Bell and Susan E. Bromm


Environmental-protection techniques that have been developed in the United States may be useful to other countries. Specific tools such as compliance schedules can help countries bring actual environmental practice in line with ambitious discharge requirements. They can also help domestic phase-in of obligations under accession agreements with entities such as the European Union (EU) that often have more rigorous requirements than new members are able to achieve in the short run. However, the success of these mechanisms is often linked to the availability of other types of institutions available in the United States, including traditions of law, public participation, and transparency.

Because the same combination of elements that form the backbone of environmental protection in the United States is not always found in other countries, effective transfers of tools with a track record of success in the United States require special efforts on the part of both countries engaged in the transfer, as well as in-depth understanding of each other's traditions of law and other domestic conditions. The process of adapting U.S.-developed toolsof environmental protection for use in countries with markedly different legal and cultural traditions provides interesting lessons, not only about their transferability, but more generally about the strengths and weaknesses of environmental-assistance efforts.

Ruth Greenspan Bell is Program Director for International Institutional Development and Environmental Assistance (IIDEA), Center for Risk Management, at Resources for the Future. Previously she was Senior Advisor to the Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans and International Environmental and Science Affairs and served in various capacities at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), most recently as Senior Attorney providing legal and policy institution-building advice to foreign governments seeking to strengthen their regimes for environmental protection. Susan E. Bromm is the Deputy Director of the EPA Office of Site Remediation Enforcement and is a member of the U.S. team of the Polish/U.S. Environmental Enforcement Project. The ideas expressed in this Dialogue are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent EPA's views. The authors wish to acknowledge the leadership and dedication of the U.S. team co-leader, Thomas J. Maslany; the Polish team leader, Zbigniew Kamienski; and their colleague in EPA Region III, Jim Baker. Piotr Wilczynski of the World Bank, increased our understanding of Poland's fee system, and Bogudar Kordasiewicz, Katarzyna Michalik, and Pawel Kunachowicz of the Warsaw office of Hogan & Hartson very patiently helped us understand the nuances of the Polish legal issues described here.

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