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TMDL Implementation and The Precautionary Principle May 5,2004 Waterkeepers Northern California Photo courtesy USGS.

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Presentation on theme: "TMDL Implementation and The Precautionary Principle May 5,2004 Waterkeepers Northern California Photo courtesy USGS."— Presentation transcript:

1 TMDL Implementation and The Precautionary Principle May 5,2004 Waterkeepers Northern California Photo courtesy USGS

2 Waterkeepers Northern California Protecting the San Francisco Bay and Delta

3 The Precautionary Principle… Look before you leap. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Better safe than sorry. A stitch in time saves nine. Photo courtesy of NASA

4 1970s - vorsorge = foresight 1980s - Principle Embraced in Europe 1990s - Principle Applied Internationally Rio Declaration: U.S. Embraces Precautionary Principle Photo courtesy BLM History of the Precautionary Principle

5 Rio Declaration, 1992 Where there are threats of serious or irreversible damage, lack of full scientific certainty shall not be used as a reason for postponing cost-effective measures to prevent environmental degradation. Photo courtesy NOAA

6 The Problem Determining when there is sufficient evidence of harm to initiate a protective action.

7 Risk Assessment vs. Alternatives Assessment –Risk Assessment (most commonly used) Based on acceptable risk/ assimilative capacity Quantifies risk instead of problem solving Poses false dichotomy between economics and the environment/ human health Allows society to bear burden of harm tolerate How much harm can we tolerate? – Alternatives Assessment (called for by the Precautionary Principle) Examines costs and benefits of all available options Context: who will suffer/ pay and who will benefit Encourages development of alternative options/ technology Encourages economic growth and environmental protection avoid How much harm can we avoid? Photo courtesy Sam Sargent

8 Avoiding Negative Externalities Photos Courtesy of USDA and EPA

9 Shifting the Burden of Proof Current Practice: threats that go beyond the allowable limitation identified in the risk assessment must be definitively proven by the public before actions to curtail or replace a product are taken. Precautionary Principle: it must be demonstrated that any potential threats are acceptable in the context of all available options. Photos courtesy of USDA and EPA

10 Waterkeepers would like to thank the following for their support and assistance: San Francisco Foundation Katie Silberman, Esq. of the Center for Environmental Health Davis Baltz, M.S. of Commonweal Jared Blumenthal, of the San Francisco Department of the Environment The Northern California Precautionary Principle Working Group Sara Hilbrich Photo courtesy DPR


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