Evaluation of Pollution Control Policies in U.S

ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION 17

Evaluationof Pollution Control Policies in U.S

Evaluationof Pollution Control Policies in U.S

ExecutiveSummary

TheEnvironmental Policy Act (EPA) under the Pollution Prevention Act (P2Act) that was formed back in 1990 has taken self-evaluation of itsinitiative to incorporate pollution policy within environmentalprograms, which include all sorts of toxics, air, the hazardous wasteand water that greatly affect Ohio’s citizens.Another focus of this kind of evaluation is to evaluate whether theAgency’s efforts can manage and promote pollution preventionapproaches at other Federal Agencies with the authority from thePollution Prevention Act. The P2 Act has mandated the establishmentof the national policy, which states that all pollution should beprevented and bereducedat their sources whenever feasible.

Muchof the focus withinthe evaluation is put on the P2 Act provisions addressing theintegration of Pollution Policy Act into the Federal programs thusthe provisions made are used to shape evaluation questions. The P2forms the basis for many sustainability efforts, and evaluation linkpollution prevention integration activities with the sustainabilitypolicy developments. The paper focuses on designing regulatory policyused to solve nonpoint source (NPS) water pollution problems. Thereare several cost-sharing programs that have dominated nonpoint sourcepolicy for couple of years though neither of them is proven to beefficient nor effective.

Performance-basedapproaches are likely preferred to design-based by most of theeconomist since they allow firms to choose the least-cost hiatuspractices. Nevertheless, nonpoint sources are rarely incorporated inperformance-based programs. This is because of high cost expensesused to monitor the performance of every individual nonpoint sourcepolluters within the Ohio region. The EPA, and National Oceanic andAtmospheric Administration (NOAA) work hand in hand to ensure thatprompt evaluation is conducted on the nonpoint pollution controlprograms within the coastal region of the Ohio. The two bodies haveapproved the country over the time and efforts made towardsdeveloping programs that help them address the coastal nonpointsource pollution.

Majorityof the countries rarely embark on a serious and objective evaluationof the public programs, Ohio being one of the affected countries. Thegeneral rule is that the organizations, which have their stakes in aprogram, shy from jeopardizing their interests by resorting toevaluating whether the efficiency or effectiveness of the program isworthwhile. Though few organizations have an explicit responsibilityfor carrying out evaluation of programs (like the General accountingoffice of USA), but even these organizations do not initiateevaluation on a broader level (ClarenceDavies, 2014).

Nowthe same is the case when it comes to the regulatory system ofpollution control in the United Sates. For many years now, the EPA(Environmental Protection Agency) has featured an evaluationdivision, but this division is essentially involved in the managementconsultancy for EPA programs, rather than performing any real programevaluation which marks the core responsibility in tackling pollutionissue within the coastal region of Ohio. Ensuring clean environmentis one of the most key issues as well as challenges faced by thehuman society. The invention of factory machines, chemicals throughtechnology has benefited human race, however, the benefits areassociated with negative effects to the environment such as air,water and land pollution. This research focuses on evaluation of thepollution policies that States should develop in order to maintainthe coastal region of Ohio at a perfect standards with theenvironment policy body i.e. the Environmental Protection Act.

Problemstatement

Theregulatory system for pollution control policy in United States isvery complex and large. There is certainly a debate whether, in mostof the aspects, it can even be termed as a system or not. We take isas an interrelated completely because it has different constituentsand parts which interact as a whole. The federal agency forenvironmental protection (EPA) operates as the controller of thesystem. It functions to implement the laws that are enacted by thecongress. The laws, which prescribe functions to the EPA, arebyzantine as they are the accumulation of 40 years of law making bythe congress. There have been no efforts for simplifying the laws,and they have become more complex during this period. The state lawsfor pollution are normally just to prescribe a framework for thestates as each of the state has its unique touches to the programs.

Thestate programs are allowed to be more rigorous than the federalstandards and cannot be less stringent. Each state has its own agencyfor pollution control, and the functions are neither a solely federalnor solely a state responsibility (Hoornbeek,2012).A large number of groups that are non-governmental have some of theirinterest in the pollution control programs. All the business groupsare subject to the regulations except for the small localenterprises, and some of the groups are even regulated. The pollutioncontrol agencies of the government have to come to terms with a largediversity and number of organizations that are in theirjurisdictions.

Theresult of this diversity and a large number is that some of theorganization will benefit, and the other will lose from any of thepollution control program, which often results in political dividingof the business community. Similarly, there are a large number oflocal and national environmental groups, which have their differences(Vedung,2008).The diverse and complex legal framework, which regulates pollutioncontrol policies, provides different easy avenues for the groups toutilize litigation as an instrument for furthering their distinctagendas or area of pollution control.

ResearchObjective

Theobjectives aimed at in this research are: to evaluate the preventivemeasures that Environmental Policy Agency has set on the pollutionprevention that integrates other federal agencies with one mission toeliminate pollution within the localities of Ohio especially to thecoastal regions. Secondly, with the help of P2 Act that directs EPAto consider the effects of the proposed programs, evaluation aims toreduce pollution within the state of Ohio.

ResearchQuestions

  1. What is the current state of internal agency coordination on pollution reduction measures? Are there appropriate offices that work towards promoting source reduction practices in other federal Agencies?

  2. Which methodology can agency use in measuring Pollution Prevention Act with respect to P2 integration?

  3. Is Agency considering the effect of pollution prevention programs as well as regulations made on the source reduction efforts?

  4. What is the status of the Agency’s measurable goals towards pollution prevention that relates to P2 integration?

  5. What are the results got from the data collected under the federal environmental statutes and other reliable sources, and what impact do they have on the pollution prevention.

LiteratureReview

Thetwo most commonly utilized, and effective criteria for judging theregulatory system of pollution control are the effectiveness and theefficiency of the system or regulations. Effectiveness is related towhether the system is meeting its goals and has two dimensions. Thefirst dimension for this purpose is that whether the system ismeeting the objectives and goals specified by the regulation andlegislation. In this regard, the available data and monitoring can beused for evaluating the extent to which such goals and objectiveshave been met (Sapru,2004).Thesecond criteria are whether the objectives and goals, which have beendefined by the system, are appropriate goals.

Forinstance, if the overreaching objectives are to mitigate the risk forprotecting the environment, effectiveness will focus on whether thesystem has targeted it efforts towards the highest risks or thegreatest threats for both the environment and the public. One of theprograms that have been organized in Ohio coastal region is theOhio’s coastal nonpoint pollution control program that aims atputting the management measures to eliminate erosion as well assediment control, grazing or even the runoff from the confined animalfeed operations. These management measures are to be addressedthrough the Ohio’s Agricultural Pollution Abatement Program orrather the Pesticide.

Thebest management practices, however, that the State should put in useto implement the agricultural management measures are describedwithin the Ohio’s livestock manure and wastewater management guide.The guide gives full direction on how pollution prevention should beconducted by the agricultural sector industries to ensure that allthe pollution prevention practices are conducted within the standardsof the Environmental Pollution Agency and work in line with thePollution Prevention Act within the coastal regions of Ohio. Ohiodoes rely heavily on incentive-based programs and other voluntaryprograms that encourage the management measure implication.

Nevertheless,it is not clear how the programs set will be used in promoting theimplementation of the management measures. The State, therefore,needs proper evaluation of such policies to ensure that the coastalregion of Ohio is maintained within the standards required. Thesystem used is quite encouraging, since it meets the objectives setto minimize pollution within the State though there are still somerisks associated with the prevention measures that have not beentargeted. The evaluations that are done must be cost effective inorder to meet the goal of maintaining Ohio’s environment at thestandards of the EPA and the P2 Act.

Thefuture of evaluation is important because the system also needs to beassessed for having effectiveness in countering the future risks(Bartonet al., 2014).Until 1960, the ozone depletion has not recognized as an issue or forinstance, the population or economic growth may cause to aggravateproblems for which the system does not have the capability to dealwith. Comparing the United States pollution control system with thepollution control system of other developed countries is also a goodcriterion, which has been used in the study. For this purpose, reviewreports and literature has been utilized to get an idea about how thesystem of the other developed nations operates.

Thepresent system in a broader sense has performed much for improvingthe environmental quality. Regulation and laws have caused to reduceair pollution from the automobiles and from the large point sources.Creative policies such as emission trading and benchmarking gasemission standards by cars and factories have been developed andimplemented over the period of 1995 and 2014. Similarly, othertechniques have been adopted e.g. opening up the system for citizensuits, regulatory negotiations and toxic release inventory checkwhere the amount of toxic released by the factories or facilities ismade public.

Nevertheless,the study has shown us that fragmentation is inherent in the natureof the system. Because of the fragmentation, sometimes the nature ofthe problems makes it almost impossible for the system to respondeffectively. For example, some recent reports have shown that airdisposition of mercury areas like everglades is significantly greaterthan the mercury discharges by the water polluters. The presentregulatory system has not been effective in addressing the situationeffectively because the water pollution laws have shown ignorance inthat capacity. The most evident of the shortcomings is that from theCongress and not from the state or EPA.

Theyhave proliferated the statues set for environmental protection andhave failed to develop an interrelation and correlation between thesestatutes. They have not been effective in prioritizing the risks, andthey have perpetuated the myths of freedom from the risks. The highfragmentation in the laws and the laws governing and implementationbodies have increased the cost of compliance, and has encouraged thecross-media transfer of the pollutants, which results in reducing theeffectiveness of the pollution control system as a whole. Otherflaws, which have been recognized to a significant extent, are in theform of setting of wrong targets.

Wrongpriorities

Thearte of success or gains in terms of the effectiveness of theprograms or policies become hollow if the right targets are notprioritized. Comparing the EPA and the societal expenditures with theecological risks and health rankings, an evident mismatch can beseen. Two of the evident health risks, which top the priority list ofmany experts, are indoor and radon air pollution and these programsare receiving the lowest funding while highest expenditures are beingmade on the ecological risks like hazardous waste sites and oilspills, which are not high on the list of many experts.

Interms of the water pollution, the non-point sources are posing amajor problem, and yet the current system is focusing largely towardsthe point sources. Indoor air pollution serves as a major threat forthe health of the population, and the system is majorly focusing onthe outdoor pollution. However, outdoor air pollution control willsignificantly address the indoor pollution problems, but certainsteps are needed for addressing the indoor issues, which are directlyaffecting the health of the people on a rapid basis. These are only afew of the shortcomings in terms of the priorities that are goingwrong to an extent (Smith,2010).

Inefficiencies

Theinefficiencies in the present system are beyond the wrongprioritization. They are not effectively discouraging pollution andare rather more towards targeting the end treatment. Prevention isobviously more preferable both economically and environmentally. Thepresent system is more prescriptive in telling the sources about howpollution is to be controlled, rather than setting appropriate goalsand allowing the sources to be flexible in terms of meeting thosegoals. There are many evidences that a prescriptive approachincreases the cost of control, which comes directly from the pocketof the people in the form of tax. The direct expenditures of EPA areminimal, and the major costs are borne by the private sector (Middle,2010).

Intrusiveness:

Theintrusiveness in the framework or the implementation of the presentsystem sometimes goes against their objectives and causes to generatepublic resistance. They tell the people how to do things rather thansetting incentives under the guidelines so that the people are moreencouraged to take the desired actions.

TheData Analysis

Datacollected on the evaluation of the pollution prevention measures.

  1. Municipal Solid Waste Management

Thedata collected from the municipal solid waste indicates that therehas been steady rise in the volume of waste within variousindustries, thus calls for source reduction practices. From the datathat was collected by waste office data indicates that there has beenrise in the volume of municipal solid wastes that are generated inUnited States at the rate if four (4%) percent annually. However, thetrend may be reversing in the recent years as a result of the priorplans initiated by the Environmental Pollution Agency on solid wastemanagement. Consequently, declines in the total generation and percapita generation have been noticed. The following table indicatesthe full data on the trend.

Table1: Generation, composting, material recovery, combustion with energyrecovery, and discards of municipal solid waste (1960-2005 inmillions of tons)

Activity

1960

1970

1980

1990

2000

2003

2004

2005

Generation

88.2

121.1

151.6

205.2

237.6

240.4

247.3

245.7

Recovery for recycling

5.6

8.0

14.5

29.0

52.7

55.8

57.2

58.4

Recovery for composting*

Neg.

Neg.

Neg.

4.2

16.5

19.1

20.5

20.6

Total materials recovery

5.6

8.0

14.5

33.2

69.1

74.9

77.7

79.0

Combustion with energy recovery

0.0

0.4

2.7

29.7

33.7

33.7

34.1

33.4

Discards to landfill, other disposal

82.5

112.7

134.4

142.3

134.8

131.9

135.5

133.3

Source:Municipal Solid Waste in the United States: 2005 Facts and Figure&ltwww.epa.gov/msw/pubs/mswchar05.pdf&gt

Thedata presented in the table above shoes that there is a steady trendof handling management solid waste disposal. The State also recordsan increase trend of country’s recovery, which include composting,recycling, and combustion for energy. The evaluation done indicatesthat all recycling as well as the recovery steps that have been madein the P2 Act hierarchy are beneficial in environmental measures.

  1. Pesticide Pollution

Theevaluation of the pesticide pollution states that it requires theunderstanding of both quantity and the relative risk of the type ofpesticide used. The usage of these pesticides have a greater effectin the environment, thus prior prevention measures are highlyrequired. The national pesticide market survey that was conductedfrom 1982 to 2001 indicates a steady drop. The national usage of thepesticide in 1982 and 1987 dropped by 17%. The pollution preventionprograms at EPA initiated the drop.

  1. The mechanics of Pollution charge Systems

Thecharge systems aims at reducing behaviors associated with pollutionthrough imposition of a fixed fee on polluters. The rate of chargesimposed on them should evaluated on the basis of the amount ofpollution they generate to the environment, rather than the pollutiongenerating activities being carried. However, at some point, thecharges may be based on the expected or potential quality ofpollution. There are categories at which these charges would beclassified i.e. the effluent charges that are based on the quantityof discharges: user chargers, that includes payments for the publictreatment facilities the administrative charges, paid for governmentservices such as registration of chemicals among others. Chargesystems ensure that firms internalize the externalities they createduring the production. The pollution has great effects especially tothe real costs to the society on health consequences and the propertydamages. The charges that are imposed do provide strong incentivesfor the firms to develop new and improved control technologies.

  1. Adoption of Charge Systems

Ohiohas not adopted the charge systems however, few states within theUnited States have adopted green tax policies that aim at generatingrevenue rather than discouraging pollution. Even though majority ofthe States within the United States call for evaluation of thepollution prevention measures, Ohio has implemented both water andair pollution charges mechanism which aim at generating revenuesother than to discourage pollution within the coastal regions.

Theagencies that ensure that pollution preventive measures are takenhave to explore on the feasibility as to whether there is anytransferability of the air program’s regulatory approaches on thewater or waste pollution programs. The rules that are being set onair programs should incorporate broad classes of the industriesrather than covering a specific or an individual industry-basedemission standard. To be précised, the proposed flexible permittingrule and the proposed amendments need to be evaluated on itefficiency before implementation. The hazardous air pollutants withinthe industries should be controlled in proper time to help curb theocean pollution. However, these can only be enhanced when priorevaluation is conducted.

Whenthe regulatory body focuses on the reduction practices other than theagency will help Environmental Pollution Agency meet its mandatethrough individual environmental performance standards. Theevaluation done would worth exploring as to whether there will be anypotential in environmental conservation through creating P2incentives on a larger scale to manage water or waste regulatoryprograms. The evaluation to be conducted need to be explored withinmeasuring the environmental outcome that results from P2 integrationefforts agency with the Environmental Pollution Act policies. Thebenefits that are associated with the environmental measures are muchrelevant especially to the public even though most of the P2integration are handled by the agency bodies that ensures that theair as well as water conservation.

Recommendations

Thefirst or the foremost thing that the law making bodies should addressis to cut short on the complexity and fragmentation and move towardsa more clear and integrated approach. However, the targets they setare result orientated, but the overall approach is quite segmented interms of the application. The interrelation between the risks shouldbe more thoroughly analyzed and more integrated policies should beestablished rather than diving them into separate land, water, andair categories. We are of course talking about the policymaking levelbecause different bodies may be needed to enforce the policies andgoals. However, the goals setting should be more integrated.

Pollutionis a unanimous issue and all the players of the economy should bebrought on the same platform rather than states brushing their owntouch into the federal statutes. This means that the states should bean effective part of the policy-making procedures and key players ofthe states should be brought on board. A recommendation should bemade that requires that all agency to take short-term action onseveral steps to improve the implementation of pollution preventionpolicies being enacted in place. A commitment should be made on thatintegrate pollution prevention across the agency.

Strategiesshould be put in place that ensures that P2 policy are updated inorder to reaffirm P2 as an agency priority bonding the relationshipthat brings sustainability, the chemical security as well asenvironmental stewardship within the coastal region of Ohio. Ohio hasdeveloped various programs to provide technical assistance forpollution prevention. The programs include publication and educationthat promotes environmental conservation. The State has establishedvarious offices that deal with the pollution prevention. Theseoffices ensure that pollution prevention is implemented. The mainfocus is to develop initiatives that focus on the industrial andcommercial entities that will incorporate key pollution preventionmeasures in Ohio Environmental Pollution Agency’s regulatoryactivities.

Thelocal solid waste management body ensures that all individuals livingwithin the localities are informed on the environmental conservationprograms. The Ohio’s watershed programs that are implemented alsofocus on population prevention through technical and availing thefinancial assistance. The State is assured that within two yearsafter implementation of pollution prevention program, the coastalregion will meet the environmental standards according to the EPApolicies. Evaluation practices within the environmental agencies arevery vital for the Ohio environmental bodies to ensure that thecountry especially the coastal regions live within the standardsrequired.

Secondly,as part of the design program, there is a probability that apreliminary assessment was carried out to identify Ohio’sopportunity areas to carry out prevention. Detailed assessment willnow focus on the exact areas targeted by prior assessment. Theassessments should then be assigned to every operational facilityarea to help gather data for analysis later. As is the case withpreliminary assessment, the use of existing site evaluations andwritten materials are a must. However, it is recommended thatproduction process is delved more deeply, which include workersinterview and compilation of necessary data that has been collectedprior.

Again,EPA plan for the problem does not seek to put into considerationspecific emissions of Mercury and other topic substances, instead,the recommended rule sets up reduced limit on the amount of carbonthat could be given out per every megawatt of electricity until 2016,according to Box (2007), to decide on how to reduce air pollution inthe state. Beside increasing energy efficiency or adopting newtechnology, Ohio State should also invest in emissions credits thatare similar to that of cap-and trade system that is currently used inother nine states of the United States.

Thoughthe possibilities for changing the dynamics of the current system aregood, however, the changes may not take place at the pace, which isnecessary. Many Ohio environmental groups have been consistent inbeing archconservatives on the issue of introducing some significantreforms or changes. They have been opposing and such a position hasbeen raising questions on their effectiveness (Asheim et al., 2010).The industry mainly focuses on the bottom line, and thus externalinfluences and motives are needed for motivating compliance. Theindustry is also divided in terms of the basic issues. A politicaldialogue and integration is what is needed for bringing certainreforms, and setting a timeline would therefore be hard for thispurpose. However, the signs of change are present but they will notbe able to show their colors in the near future.

Timeline

Thoughthe possibilities for changing the dynamics of the current system aregood, however, the changes may not take place at the pace, which isnecessary. Many national environmental groups have been consistent inbeing archconservatives on the issue of introducing some significantreforms or changes. They have been opposing and such a position hasbeen raising questions on their effectiveness. The industry mainlyfocuses on the bottom line, and thus external influences and motivesare needed for motivating compliance. The industry is also divided interms of the basic issues. A political dialogue and integration iswhat is needed for bringing certain reforms, and setting a timelinewould therefore be hard for this purpose. However, the signs ofchange are present but they will not be able to show their colors inthe near future.

References

Barton,D., Rusch, G., Ring, I., Emerton, L., &amp Droste, N. (2014).Environmental and conservation policies. EnvironmentalPolicy and Law, 44(4),368.

ClarenceDavies, J. M. (2014). Pollutioncontrol in United States: evaluating the system.Routledge.

Hoornbeek,J. A. (2012). Waterpollution policies and the American states.SUNY Press.

Middle,G. I. (2010). The inefficency of environmental impact assessment:reality or myth? ImpactAssessment and Poject Appraisal, 28(2),159-168.

Sapru,R. K. (2004). Publicpolicy.Sterling Publishers.

Smith,K. R. (2010). Public health benefit strategies to reducegreehouse-gas emissions: health implications of short lived greenhouse pollutants. TheLancet, 374(9707),2091-2103.

Vedung,E. (2008). Publicpolicy and progrm evaluation.Transaction publishers.