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Collaboration Nation: Piloting EPA’s Small Local Governments Compliance Assistance Policy Ken Harmon, Attorney Office of Compliance U.S. Environmental.

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Presentation on theme: "Collaboration Nation: Piloting EPA’s Small Local Governments Compliance Assistance Policy Ken Harmon, Attorney Office of Compliance U.S. Environmental."— Presentation transcript:

1 Collaboration Nation: Piloting EPA’s Small Local Governments Compliance Assistance Policy Ken Harmon, Attorney Office of Compliance U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

2 EPA and Small Local Governments Local governments are both regulators and regulated Small local governments may find it a challenge to comply with all of the environmental regulations that apply to their activities Conversations and information-sharing with the States of Idaho, Nebraska, and Oregon in 1994 led to the 1995 Small Communities Policy Policy established the framework within which States could work with small communities to identify and correct their environmental violations and resolve the matter with a reduced penalty

3 EPA’s Goals Focus greater attention to small local government environmental concerns Accelerate protection of public health and the environment Encourage small local governments to work with States to: Identify their environmental responsibilities Achieve and sustain compliance Resolve violations with minimal penalties

4 The Small Local Governments Compliance Assistance Policy A State can reduce or waive the usual non-compliance penalty for a Small Local Government (fewer than 3,300 permanent residents) that participates in a comprehen- sive self-audit (all environmental requirements); and Either: Returns to compliance within 180 days (of the commencement of compliance assistance from the State); or Enters into an enforceable compliance agreement (with a schedule) within 180 days.

5 What was new? The 2004 Small Local Governments Compliance Assistance Policy shifted focus to small “local governments” Introduced a 2-tiered population cap Created an EMS option Allowed “fenceline” projects

6 Capacity Test To allow penalty reductions for local governments with between 3,301 and 10,000 residents, the State must develop a capacity test and consistently apply it The Policy recommends 19 factors that the state capacity test should incorporate

7 The EMS Option A small local government can also receive the Policy’s penalty reductions if it elects to address violations discovered during an inspection by Correcting the discovered violations; and Developing and implementing an environmental management system for its governmental operations

8 Fencelining A local government with between 3,301 and 10,000 residents Admitted to participate after the state’s capacity test determines it is eligible May limit the scope of its project (either comprehensive compliance or EMS) to a subset of its governmental operations

9 ECOS Grants In late 2004, OECA provided $50,000 to ECOS for grants to States to conduct pilots implementing the Small Local Governments Compliance Assistance Policy As with all pilot programs, our intent was to provide the recipients an incentive to try something new, and then help them share the lessons they learned.

10 Arizona Small Community Project Focused on helping small local governments develop and implement an EMS Arizona calls a Small Community Environmental Protection Plan (SCEPP) The goal is to promote sustained environmental compliance

11 Elements of Arizona’s Pilot A new Small Community Policy that tracks EPA’s Policy Informative brochures about a local government’s environmental requirements “One stop shopping” Web page Implementation guide for local governments Outreach

12 Arizona Brochures Explain the State’s program and address common environmental violations Written for wide local government audience Distributed widely Have proved useful to other audiences

13 Arizona’s Web Page At www.azdeq, users can link to Arizona’s Small Community Policy, to its brochures, to compliance information for the various government operations, to funding resources, to environmental statutes and rules, to State contacts, and to useful non-state links.www.azdeq

14 Arizona’s Implementation Guide A manual that leads small communities through the requirements of Arizona’s Small Community Policy. Includes: Descriptions of environmental regulations Self-assessment guides SCEPP template Policy Checklist Glossary of terms

15 Arizona’s Outreach Improves the performance of both State And communities by: Assessing the needs of Arizona communities during the design phase Assuring participants have a full understanding of process and responsibilities Assessing the effectiveness of activities

16 Tennessee Stormwater Outreach Project A Train-the-Trainer effort to help small local governments: Understand their stormwater obligations Adopt environmental policies and ordinances Assess in-house technical skills

17 Elements of Tennessee’s Project Needs assessment survey Development of EMS training and materials Steering local governments toward training and discounts available though the Tennessee Pollution Prevention Partnership Outreach, technical assistance, and follow-up Four Train-the-trainer workshops

18 Tennessee’s Survey Questions non-threatening, clearly written, required no technical expertise to answer, offered help High level of interest among the 25% of small communities that responded Most responding communities, had 5 or fewer staff with environmental responsibilities, did not have and EMS, and wanted to attend a free workshop on stormwater compliance

19 Tennessee’s Workshops Explained the need for workshops Gave an overview of stormwater regulations and pollution prevention Reviewed templates for stormwater ordinances Explained Environmental Management Systems Explained the Small Local Governments Compliance Assistance Policy Presented a video showing solutions to stormwater problems Showed local governments how and where to find the necessary resources Participants received a manual and a CD/Rom

20 South Carolina’s Capacity Test Project Following the guidelines in EPA’s Small Local Governments Compliance Assistance Policy, South Carolina developed a test for measuring the technical, managerial, and financial capacity of a municipal drinking water system The State applied its capacity test to 11 small municipal water systems The State and small local water systems used the findings of the capacity test to discuss options for achieving sustained compliance

21 South Carolina’s Findings While most of the eleven small water systems had adequate water capacity Most lacked the technical capacity to remain in compliance with drinking water requirements Half lacked professional managers (only two employed managers who were adequately trained) None of the 11 systems had adequate financial resources and procedures Only one of the eleven systems was judged to possess the technical, managerial, and financial capacity to remain in compliance with drinking water requirements

22 Results from the Pilots Identifying national resources and organizing information about them makes the process easier Using a team approach within the State offices makes it easier to develop the materials needed for small community compliance assistance Identifying common violations and developing targeted written materials helps generate interest, establish credibility

23 Results from the Pilots The smallest communities are the most likely to ask the State for help Small staffs at small local governments make developing and implementing EMS difficult Best to start small, allow local government to have early success, then they realize what more than are capable of doing

24 Results from the Pilots Compliance assistance to small local governments produces results: Improved compliance Improved understanding Improved management practices Improved financial procedures Improved trust Improved confidence

25 Results from the Pilots Materials developed for small communities prove useful in outreach to other sectors of the regulated public States can implement EPA’s Policy I ways that meet the needs of their small local governments Special districts need compliance assistance as much as small local governments

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