USA Pollution Research Proposal

USA POLLUTION RESEARCH PROPOSAL 1

USAPollution Research Proposal

ExecutiveSummary

A varietyof substances can be generated and released into the atmospherethrough artificial and natural resources. These substances that mayaffect the public welfare and health are referred to as airpollutants. Emission of toxic substances in Ohio arrived at anall-time high that it prompted the United States to direct EPA tocome up with regulatory standards that measure high concentrations ofair pollutants. They are also involved with selected statistics,which includes data’s quality assurance, and trend analysis of anumber of areas in Ohio. Air pollution in Ohio is blamed on increasedconsumption patterns of natural resources that have threatened tooutpace what has been achieved by the state through environmentstatutes. Bio-accumulative and persistent toxic levels of pollutantsfound in the air and the environment with effects that starts to beunderstood. The waste treatment technology sometimes transferspollutants from the land to the water to the air. The waste sitelegacy represents challenges for remedy, while the dispersed andnon-point sources of air pollution replace some of the intractablechallenges for restoration of the problem. The intent of thisproposal paper is to identify some activities that are aimed atidentify and coming up with a solution measure to the problem of airpollution in Ohio State through emission of toxic substance. Theselection of the materials is a reflection to EPA’s perspective andprograms. While the paper points out on the strides that the statehas made in coming up with and implementing the pollution preventionprograms put in place, there is still a lot to be done to prevent airpollution in itself, while measuring the progress. Since there isstill a lot to be done before permanent solution is found,recommendations are laid out to ensure that air pollution issue isput under control.

The general rule is that the organizations, which have their stakesin a program, 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. A general agreement exist and dictatesthat we must control all forms of pollution, but disputes alwaysarise on the manner in which these controls should be planned and howmuch is enough to handle the problem. The control mechanism UnitedStates has adopted is tended towards detailed technology regulations,which leaves polluters little room in how to attain environmentalgoals. Needless to say, this “command-control” strategy increasespollution controls’ cost and could even slow the whole processtowards a better environment.

In 1970, environmental degradation concern coalesced and triggered apolitical force that resulted in the then President Richard Nixon toestablish the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and one of themajor attempt from the federal to directly regulate pollution – the1970 Clean Air Act (Asheim et al., 2010). The federal responsibilityhas grown immensely since then. These improvements are on a series ofregulation cascades of local government, on the EPA, and the businesscommunity. However, that changed since environmentalists realizedthat the markets are able to allocate reduction of pollutionefficiently across industries and firms. While command-controlapproach is still normal, legislators and environmental lobbyistsconsidered, on occasion, market-based approaches to this matter. Alot of proposals to limit Global Warming, for instance, includeexplicitly market-based approaches to control carbon-dioxideemissions in Ohio. Currently, the case is also when it comes to theregulatory system United Sates. For many years now, the EPA(Environmental Protection Agency) has featured an evaluationdivision however, it is essentially involved in the managementconsultancy for EPA programs, rather than performing any realevaluation.

RegulatoryStandards to Ohio’s

Almostevery single law that is against release of toxic substances such asMercury in Ohio has led the Congress to instruct the EPA to come upwith and execute certain standards of pollution for every airpolluter. These standards are based by EPA generally on a certainnotion of “best achievable” and “best available” technologyfor every source of pollution. Since every air pollutant has a lot ofsources, EPA literally sets hundreds of discharge standards for everysingle pollutant (Bryner et al., 2012). Existing sources of pollutionare required generally to achieve fewer standards than the ones fornew sources, mostly because it is considered expensive to retrofitold factories than it is to build new ones. However, the definitionof a “new factory” further requires regulations since the EPAshould first distinguish, for example, between when utilityrefurbishes or repairs an “old” fuel-fired boiler and the timewhen it replaces sufficient components for making a “new” boiler.

To furthercomplicate matters, the standards for both the current and new onesare stricter more often in the regions where an environment is ofhigher quality. This is because tighter standards based on new orimproved sources may attempt to reduce the incentives to replacethose facilities that are dirty and old. In 2003, the EPA revised therules to pave way for power plants with other major large pollutingfacilities to be upgraded and modernized without issues of fullpanoply of the “review of new-source” requirements (Asheim etal., 2012), especially if modernization does not involved majorchanges in design, or cost more than 25 percent of a new facility.

However, theregulatory systems to control the release of toxic substances in theUnited States, more specifically, in the Ohio region are more complexand large. There is certainly a debate on whether, in most of theaspects, it could be termed as a regulatory system or not. Our takeis an interrelation completely since it has different constituentsand parts which interact as a whole. The federal agency forenvironmental protection (EPA) operates as the controller of thesystem. It works towards implementation of the laws that are enactedby the congress (Clarence &amp Mazurek, 2014). The laws, whichprescribe functions to the EPA, are byzantine as they are theaccumulation of 40 years of law making by the Congress. There havebeen no efforts for simplification of the laws, and have appearedmore complex during this period. The state laws for pollution arenormally, just to prescribe a framework for the states, as each ofthe state having its unique touches to the programs.

The state programs are allowed to be more rigorous than the federalstandards, and cannot be made less stringent. Each state, forexample, has its own agency for pollution control, and the functionsare neither solely federal nor a state responsibility (Hoornbeek). Alarge number of non-governmental groups have some of their interestin the air pollution control programs (Pearce, 2000). All thebusiness groups are subject to the regulations except for the smalllocal enterprises, and some of the groups are even regulated. Thegovernment air pollution control agencies have to come to terms witha large diversity and number of organizations that are in theirjurisdictions. The result of this diversity and a large number isthat some of the organization will benefit, and the other will losefrom any of the air pollution control program, which often results inpolitical dividing of the business community. Similarly, there are alarge number of local and national environmental groups, which havetheir differences (Vedung, 2002). The diverse and complex legalframework, which regulates pollution control policies, providesdifferent but easy avenues for the groups to utilize litigation as aninstrument for furthering their distinct agendas or area of pollutioncontrol.

EPA seeks to finalize new standards that will need the use of powerplants to get rid of emissions of toxic contaminants. The Congressexpanded Clear Air Act land mark, which requires EPA to takenecessary to reduce the amount of toxic air pollutants, whichincludes mercury. Proposal for a national standard will require allthe power plants to reduce their emissions of toxic pollutants.Emission of Mercury and other toxic substances will require a lot ofpower plants to erect and install available, proven controltechnologies. These will require a slightly more than is neededcoal-fired to be installed equipment capable of deliveringperformance that is necessary to give new standards. All the powerplants have to operate in a certain level that is above the requiredstandards.

While the paper examines the level and effects of toxic substance inOhio, the proposed programs to help tackle the problem continue to bea major issue as far as controlling is concerned. The control of airpollution control in the state has discouraged production and newinvestment since the value of what is not produced is not availableand currently, nobody has come up with the solution. Fortunately, thefederal government is set to propose some practices, for example,private entities and pollution controls’ direct initiatives to beerected (Bryner et al., 2012). The federal government proposed somemeasures to be put in place towards the issue, equipment for solidwaste elimination, and awareness to inform the masses on theimportance of taking care of the environment.

According to Cline (2007), the hardest, yet complex federal policy oncontrol of toxic substance has until now been motor vehicle controlof emissions program. To enforce Congress-set automobile standards,the EPA should first test each of the car models that enters thestate, and should also do random test of samples to those vehiclesthat are already on the roads. The EPA first imposed a mandate oncontrol of exhaust emissions and tightened it for a couple of yearsbut it worked only for a while. Among those programs supported by thefederal within the state, two of them have proved to be complex. Themost complex one is the construction of Municipal Sewage Treatment.Through the program, the government acquired necessary tender andconstruction equipment in the year 2002 (Pezzey &amp Michael, 2002).After a while, the number of municipal plants requiring slightupgrades reduced in number. Until now, the problem has acceleratedsince the involvement from the federal government has declinedgradually over the years.

Ohio’sToxic Substance Feasibility Analysis

Oncesuggestions have been given and possible prevention options, theyshould then be reviewed and then less beneficial options beeliminated. The remaining options may be examined further for thelast time since emission of toxic substances into the air is acontinuous process, and that the least beneficial practices at themoment could be beneficial in the future. The chosen options shouldagain be studied further to ascertain their overall beneficialfactors. Economic, technical, and environmental feasibility of everyoption, based on the state’s requirements for these evaluationcriteria should then be examined. For instance, EPA in Ohio has itsown standards for evaluation of economy levels of expertise,feasibility for implementation, and operational requirements (Vedung,2002).

Processrelated EPA related

Availability of Existing technology

Goals of pollution prevention

The amount of downtime needed

Maintenance of production quality

Equipment compatibility

Customer’s product acceptance

Availability/utility requirement

Success likelihood

Specific training needed

Creation of environmental concerns

Ease of implementation

Reduction of disposal costs

Quality assurance

Regulatory cost compliance

Payback period

Table 1:Factors considered in determining feasibility

EvaluationCriteria

Once prevention program to stop emission of toxic substances, forinstance mercury, is established, it should be updated continuouslythen evaluated further beyond the norm. The periodic review pollutionprogram should be carried out on all the four stages of the program.This would range from team selection and the management support toimplementation of project. Once these elements have been studied,modification of program follows and goals redefined to improve theoverall effectiveness. The two most commonly utilized, andeffective criteria for judging the regulatory system of control arethe effectiveness and the efficiency of the system or regulations.Effectiveness is related to whether the system is meeting its goalsand with two dimensions. The first dimension is that whether thesystem is meeting the objectives and goals specified by theregulation and legislation. In this regard, the available data andmonitoring can be used for evaluating the extent to which such goalsand objectives have been met (Vedung, 2002).

The second criteria are whether the objectives and goals, which havebeen defined by the system, are appropriate goals. For instance, ifthe overreaching objectives are to mitigate the risk for protectingthe environment, effectiveness will focus on whether the system hastargeted its efforts towards the highest risks or the greatestthreats for both the environment and the public. It is quite possiblethat the system is meeting its objectives and still the risks to theenvironment have increased because the greatest risks have not beentargeted. The cost effectiveness of the reaching the goal is alsoanother criterion for judging the effectiveness. The future ofevaluation is important because the system also needs to be assessedfor having effectiveness in countering future risks (Shulman, 2006).Until 1960, the ozone depletion had not been recognized as an issueor for instance, the population or economic growth may cause toaggravate problems for which the system does not have the capabilityto deal with. Comparing the United States pollution control systemwith the pollution control system of other developed countries isalso a good criterion, which has been used in the study. For thispurpose, review reports and the literature has been utilized to getan idea about how the system of the other developed nations operates.

The progress of the program can be ascertained by carefully study atthe projects and individual activities. Quantitative is one of theways of measuring progress. For instance, examine the actual wastereduction mechanism, in terms of both the change in hazard level andexact change in quantity. The change in quantity is differencesbetween per production unit waste recorded over the year and perproduction unit waste recorded in the previous year. Changes in thehazard levels are based on the level of toxicity, ignitability,corrosivity, and reactivity of industrial hygiene and the wasteexposure to the type of measurements (Shortle &amp David, 2001).These comparison measurements are most useful during evaluation of analternative substitution of material, for example, switching towater-based solvent from an organic solvent. These waste reductionmeasures may not turn out to be more appropriate for every facilityand waste product. Some quantitative measurements are throughoutratio and adjusted quantity change.

In 2010 for instance, the data were collected from the farm operatorsin Scioto River shed in Ohio by use of systematic random sampletechnique to study factors that affect attitudes towards groundwaterand soil pollution. Social learning structure model was thendeveloped to direct the investigation. The overall findings show thetheoretical perspectives that were useful for predicting theattitudes of air pollution in Ohio (Rom, 2012). A number ofaggression analysis showed that eight variables became important atthe level of 0.05 levels in explanation of 33.8% of variance in thecomposite index established to measure the attitude towards Ohio’ssoil and groundwater pollution.

The farmers that believed that fertilizers and pesticides ingroundwater posed a threat to the family health, and were perceivedthat groundwater and air pollution was a vital environmental issue.The farmers were also willing to urge land operators to usegroundwater and air protection practices, operators that indicatedthey are more acquitted with problems arising from ground water inthe county of residence. They tended to think that pollution ofgroundwater was less worrying as a residential issue therefore, theywere less willing to demand that land operators change their farmingpractices (Pezzey &amp Michael, 2002). At this point, there arefactors that are less useful in figuring out the attitudes towardpollution of groundwater than the social factors of learning.However, a number of independent variables show its significance hasat 0.05 levels. The respondents that cultivated large pieces of land,had more debt to asset ratio, and were more experienced in grainproduction. They perceived that the cost production of the grainwould rise if pollution of air protection practice is adopted so thatit would be less important as environmental issue.

Project Element

Evaluation Criteria

Management support

Statement of support

Project approval

Providing Input

Praise successes

Team aspects

Employee enthusiasm

Supporting projects

Providing ideas

Understanding process

Processes characterized

Flow diagrams

All wastes identified

Waste accounting system

Project Implementation

Project within budget completed

Project completed on schedule

Achievement of waste reduction

Continuing the program

Follow up on established procedures

Employees remain informed

Pollution prevention team rotated

Table 2:Evaluation criteria

  1. Program Modification

To guarantee continuation of progress of the overall plan, individualcomponents should be modified by use of knowledge gained throughexperience. Successful techniques and strategies can be used thesecond time to adapt to other regions where progress is impeded orslowed. The goals from initial pollution prevention program should beredefined or expanded in order to reach for the ultimate target ingeneration of zero waste.

Strengthand Weaknesses of Toxic Substance Prevention Program

The present system in a broader sense has performed much forimproving the environmental quality. Regulation and laws have causedto reduce air pollution from the automobiles and from the large pointsources. Creative policies such as emission trading and benchmarkinggas emission standards by cars and factories have been developed andimplemented over the period of 1995 and 2014 (Pepper et al., 2006).Similarly, other techniques have been adopted, for example, openingup the system for citizen suits, regulatory negotiations and toxicrelease inventory check where the amount of toxic released by thefactories or facilities is made public.

Nevertheless, the study has shown us that fragmentation is inherentin the nature of the system. Because of the fragmentation, sometimesthe nature of the problems makes it almost impossible for the systemto respond effectively. For example, some recent reports have shownthat disposition of mercury into the air 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.

They have proliferated the statues set for environmental protectionand have failed to develop an interrelation and correlation betweenthese statutes. They have not been effective in prioritizing therisks, and they have perpetuated the myths of freedom from the risks.The high fragmentation in the laws and the laws governing andimplementation bodies have increased the cost of compliance, and hasencouraged the cross-media transfer of the pollutants, which resultsin reducing the effectiveness of the pollution control system as awhole. Other flaws, which have been recognized to a significantextent, are in the form of setting of wrong targets.

Wrongpriorities to Ohio’s Air Pollution

The arte 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 in door 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 (Pearce,2000). In terms of the air pollution, the non-point sources areposing a major problem, and yet the current system is focusinglargely towards the point sources. Indoor air pollution serves as amajor threat for the health of the population, and the system ismajorly focusing on the outdoor pollution. However, outdoor airpollution control will significantly address the indoor pollutionproblems, but certain steps are needed for addressing the indoorissues, which are directly affecting the health of the people on arapid basis. These are only a few of the shortcomings in terms of thepriorities that are going wrong to an extent (Krautkraemer, 2005).

However, the State’s problem has been met with wrong priorities bythe United States government. The plan by Obama administration cameafter the state’s legislature had passed a bill that could helpfreeze all the scheduled increases in the amount of electricity theyshould tap from renewal sources of energy, while putting on holdother priorities that needed more attention (Hoornbeek, 2012). Suchwrong priorities would limit proposal, which would seriously curtailthe State’s limit to meet new targets to control pollution.

In this regard, Ohio lawmakers should seek to prioritize the statewith as much control as possible on the manners in which it willimplement the new pollution rule. The bipartisan bill shouldrecommend the state’s EPA director to develop emission standardsfor natural gas and coal power plants – the rules that prevent Ohiofrom closing old coal-powered plants. Prioritizing control ofpollution in the state would set reduced limits on how much gasescould be released per electricity megawatt. Proposed changes to thishave been given to the state until 2016 to figure out how to reducethe problem of toxic emissions into the air (Cohen, 2006). Besidesadoption of new technologies and increasing efficiency of energy,Ohio State should also acquire emission credits through cap-tradesystem that is now used in other regions of the world.

Inefficienciesand Regulatory Impact Analysis

The inefficiencies in the present system are beyond the wrongprioritization. They are not effectively discouraging air pollutionand are rather more towards targeting the end treatment. Preventionis obviously more preferable both economically and environmentally.The present system is more prescriptive in telling the sources abouthow pollution is to be controlled, rather than setting appropriategoals and allowing the sources to be flexible in terms of meetingthose goals. 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 (Cline,2007).

Again, pollution controls have diverted Ohio’s resources from otheractivities therefore the potential size of the measured state’soutput is reduced. The value of the environmental resources, as longas, it increase for one dollar for every dollar spent on thecontrols, then value of the goods, environmental amenities, and totalvalue is, therefore, not reduced. First, the EPA or the Congress maydecide to control a few discharges of wrong substances too strictly.To control the State’s problem, Technology Assessment Officeconcluded that an attempt to reach EPA’s goals of reducing Ohio’ssmog could be complex (Clarence &amp Mazurek, 2014). The attempt touse invariant state pollution standards to reduce the amount ofmercury in the air that varies substantially over the seasons andacross geographic regions, there is need to come up with efficientpolicies.

Secondly, regulatory and inefficiencies may result in a veryunreliable patterns of pollution control. Ohio State is known forpolluters that could prove a hard task to reduce, especially mercurypollutants. This may in turn result to discharge of acidic rain,which is going to be hard to control discharge of certain waterpollutant. Inefficiencies in to the control may arise when the burdenis taken away from air to water pollutants. The intrusiveness in theframework or the implementation of the present system sometimes goesagainst their objectives and causes public resistance. They tell thepeople how to do things rather than setting incentives under theguidelines so that the people are more encouraged to take the desiredactions.

Recommendations

The first or the foremost thing that the law making bodies shouldaddress is to cut short on the complexity and fragmentation and movetowards a more clear and integrated approach. However, the targetsthey set are result orientated, but the overall approach is quitesegmented in terms of the application. The interrelation between therisks should be more thoroughly analyzed and more integrated policiesshould be established rather than diving them into separate land,water, and air categories. We are of course talking about thepolicymaking level because different bodies may be needed to enforcethe policies and goals. However, the goals setting should be moreintegrated. Air pollution is a unanimous issue and all the players ofthe economy should be brought on the same platform rather than statesbrushing their own touch into the federal statutes. This means thatthe states should be an effective part of the policy-makingprocedures and key players of the states should be brought on board.

Secondly, as part of the design program, there is a probability thata preliminary 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 (Bryner et al., 2012). Asis the case with preliminary assessment, the use of existing siteevaluations and written materials are a must. However, it isrecommended that production process is delved more deeply, whichinclude workers interview and compilation of necessary data that hasbeen collected prior.

Again, EPA plan for the problem does not seek to put intoconsideration specific emissions of Mercury and other topicsubstances, instead, the recommended rule sets up reduced limit onthe amount of carbon that could be given out per every megawatt ofelectricity until 2016, according to Box (2007), to decide on how toreduce air pollution in the state. Beside increasing energyefficiency or adopting new technology, Ohio State should also investin emissions credits that are similar to that of cap-and trade systemthat is currently used in other nine states of the United States.

Though the possibilities for changing the dynamics of the currentsystem are good, however, the changes may not take place at the pace,which is necessary. Many Ohio environmental groups have beenconsistent in being archconservatives on the issue of introducingsome significant reforms or changes. They have been opposing and sucha position has been raising questions on their effectiveness (Asheimet al., 2010). The industry mainly focuses on the bottom line, andthus external influences and motives are needed for motivatingcompliance. The industry is also divided in terms of the basicissues. A political dialogue and integration is what is needed forbringing certain reforms, and setting a timeline would therefore behard for this purpose. However, the signs of change are present butthey will not be able to show their colors in the near future.

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