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EPA Outlines Five-Year Plan

Five strategic goals will help the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) meet its plans for reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, protecting U.S. waters, advancing sustainable development, reducing chemical risks and enforcing environmental laws under the agency’s new five-year plan.

The fiscal year (FY) 2011 to 2015 strategic plan is focused on five strategic goals for advancing the agency’s environmental and human-health mission. These are:

–Taking action on climate change and improving air quality

–Protecting America’s waters

–Cleaning up communities and advancing sustainable development

–Ensuring the safety of chemicals and preventing pollution

–Enforcing environmental laws

These goals are accompanied by five cross-cutting fundamental strategies, which set clear expectations for changing the way EPA does business in achieving its results including:

–Expanding the Conversation on Environmentalism

–Working for Environmental Justice and Children’s Health

–Advancing Science, Research, and Technological Innovation

–Strengthening State, Tribal, and International Partnerships

–Strengthening EPA’s Workforce and Capabilities

The five-year plan includes new benchmarks that track progress against EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson’s seven priorities.

These include taking action to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases and adapt to climate change, protecting America’s waters, increasing the use of smart growth and sustainable development strategies in communities, building and maintaining strong state and tribal partnerships, working for environmental justice, and ensuring that chemical health and safety information is available to the public.

One of the EPA’s biggest efforts over the past two years to cut carbon emissions was finalized in 2010. The new EPA rules require power plants and other large stationary greenhouse gas (GHG) sources to obtain GHG permits, starting in January 2011, which has been challenged by several states and industry groups.

Another recent effort to meet Jackson’s priorities include the launch of its Web-based chemicals database, ToxRefDB, which allows anyone to search and download thousands of toxicity testing results on hundreds of chemicals. This is part of the EPA’s new policy to increase the transparency of chemical information.

In August, Jackson  announced the agency’s top six global priorities, which include preventing and properly managing e-waste, reducing carbon emissions, improving air quality, improving water quality, reducing toxics exposures and building stronger institutional frameworks.

Strategic measures under the new five-year plan for addressing climate change calls for the reductions of 99 MMTCO2 equivalent under the light-duty vehicle greenhouse gas rule by 2015.

In April, the EPA, together with the DOT, announced rules that passenger cars and light trucks will have to comply with federal GHG emissions standards for the first time.

Other EPA programs will promote practices to help Americans save energy and conserve resources, leading to GHG emissions reductions of 740.1 MMTCO2 Eq. by 2015 from a baseline without adoption of efficient practices, according to the plan. This reduction compares to 500.4 MMTCO2 Eq. reduced in 2008.

The plan also details CO2 emissions reductions under the EPA’s industrial, Smartway and Pollution Prevention programs. It also outlines reductions in air pollution by 2015, including:

–Reduce emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx) to 14.7 million tons per year compared to the 2009 level of 19.4 million tons emitted.

–Reduce emissions of sulfur dioxide (SO2) to 7.4 million tons per year compared to the 2009 level of 13.8 million tons emitted.

–Reduce emissions of direct particulate matter (PM) to 3.9 million tons per year compared to the 2009 level of 4.2 million tons emitted.

–Reduce emissions of air toxics (toxicity-weighted for cancer) to 4.2 million tons from the 1993 toxicity-weighted baseline of 7.2 million tons.

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