and the

Committee on Incorporating Sustainability in the
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Science and Technology for Sustainability Program
Policy and Global Affairs Division

                          OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES


Washington, D.C.

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine
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Committee on Incorporating Sustainability in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Science and Technology for Sustainability Program Policy and Global Affairs Division

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THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS 500 Fifth Street, N.W. Washington, D.C. 20001 NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance. This study was supported by Contract No. EP-C-09-003 between the National Academy of Sciences and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Any opinions, findings, con - clusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the organizations or agencies that provided support for the project. International Standard Book Number-13: 978-0-309-21252-6 International Standard Book Number-10: 0-309-21252-9 Additional copies of this report are available from the National Academies Press, 500 Fifth Street, N.W., Lockbox 285, Washington, D.C. 20055; (800) 624-6242 or (202) 334-3313 (in the Washington metropolitan area); Internet, Copyright 2011 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America

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The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a man - date that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. Charles M. Vest is president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examina - tion of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Harvey V. Fineberg is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy’s purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone and Dr. Charles M. Vest are chair and vice chair, respectively, of the National Research Council.

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COMMITTEE ON INCORPORATING SUSTAINABILITY IN THE U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY Bernard D. Goldstein, M.D., (Chair), University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Leslie Carothers, L.L.B., L.L.M., Environmental Law Institute, Washington, D.C. J. Clarence Davies, Ph.D., Resources for the Future, Washington, D.C. John Dernbach, J.D., Widener University School of Law, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania Paul Gilman, Ph.D., Covanta Energy Corporation, Fairfield, New Jersey Neil Hawkins, Sc.D., The Dow Chemical Company, Midland, Michigan Michael Kavanaugh, Ph.D., P.E., Geosyntec Consultants, Oakland, California Stephen Polasky, Ph.D., University of Minnesota, St. Paul, Minnesota Kenneth G. Ruffing, Ph.D., Independent Consultant, Paris, France Armistead G. Russell, Ph.D., Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, Georgia Susanna H. Sutherland, M.S., City of Knoxville, Tennessee Lauren Zeise, Ph.D., California Environmental Protection Agency, Oakland, California Science and Technology for Sustainability Program Staff Marina Moses, DrPH, Director Dominic Brose, Associate Program Officer Jennifer Saunders, Program Officer Dylan Richmond, Research Assistant Patricia Koshel, Senior Program Officer Emi Kameyama, Program Associate Ruth Crossgrove, Senior Editor Mirsada Karalic-Loncarevic, Manager, Technical Information Center v

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Preface Recognizing the importance of sustainability to its work, the U.S. Environmen- tal Protection Agency (EPA) has been examining applications in a variety of areas in order to better incorporate sustainability into decision making at the agency. The agency has also undertaken several sustainability initiatives, and can claim success in developing processes leading to sustainability. However, to further strengthen the analytic and scientific basis for sustainability as it applies to human health and environmental protection, EPA asked the National Research Council (NRC) to convene a committee under the Science and Technology for Sustainability Program (STS) to provide an operational framework for integrating sustainability as one of the key drivers within the regulatory responsibilities of EPA. Specifically, in addi- tion to being tasked with developing an operational framework for sustainability for EPA, the committee was asked to address how the existing framework rooted in the risk assessment/risk management paradigm can be integrated under the sustain- ability framework; identify the scientific and analytical tools needed to support the framework; and identify the expertise needed to support the framework. In this report, Chapter 2 first provides a brief history of sustainability, Chapter 3 presents the proposed sustainability framework for EPA, and Chapter 4 discusses the processes and tools to support the proposed framework. In Chapters 5 and 6, the committee provides guidance about how the EPA decision-making process rooted in the risk assessment/risk management paradigm can be integrated into this new sustainability framework and includes a discussion of cultural “change management” at the agency. Finally, Chapter 7 closes by examining the relevance and utility of sustainability considerations in EPA’s accomplishment of its mission. This report has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures ap - vii

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viii PREFACE proved by the National Academies’ Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making its published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the process. We wish to thank the following individuals for their review of this report: Michael Callahan, MDB, Inc.; Linda Fisher, E. I. du Pont de Nemours & Com - pany; H. Christopher Frey, North Carolina State University; Howard Frumkin, University of Washington; Gerald Galloway, University of Maryland; F. Henry Habicht, SAIL Capital Partners; Ciannat Howett, Emory University; Pamela Matson, Stanford University; Kathleen McGinty, Weston Solutions Inc.; Hendrik Wolff, University of Washington; Terry Yosie, World Environment Center; and Rae Zimmerman, New York University. Although the reviewers listed above have provided many constructive com- ments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the conclusions or rec- ommendations, nor did they see the final draft of the report before its release. The review of this report was overseen by Robert Frosch, Harvard University. Appointed by the National Academies, he was responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the authoring committee and the institution. The committee gratefully acknowledges Paul Anastas, Alan Hecht, Jim Jones, John Frece, Ira Leighton, Mathy Stanislaus, Randy Hill, and Jared Blumenfeld, of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; Charles Powers, Vanderbilt University; Ellen Gilinsky, Virginia Department of Environmental Quality; Justin Johnson, Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation; Ann Klee, General Electric Company; Linda Fisher, DuPont; Deborah Swackhamer, University of Minnesota; and E. Donald Elliott, Yale Law School for making presentations to the committee. The committee is also grateful for the assistance of NRC staff in preparing this report. Staff members who contributed to this effort are Marina Moses, direc- tor of the Science and Technology for Sustainability Program; Dominic Brose, associate program officer; Jennifer Saunders; program officer; Dylan Richmond, research assistant; Patricia Koshel, senior program officer; Emi Kameyama, pro- gram associate; Ruth Crossgrove, senior editor; and Mirsada Karalic-Loncarevic, manager of the Technical Information Center. We thank especially the members of the committee for their tireless efforts throughout the development of this report. Bernard D. Goldstein, Chair Committee on Incorporating Sustainability in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

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Contents SUMMARY 1 1 INTRODUCTION 7 EPA’s Mission and Role, 8 Committee’s Task, 11 Committee’s Approach to the Task, 11 Structure of the Report, 13 References, 14 2 HISTORY OF SUSTAINABILITY 15 Conservation in the United States, 16 Environmental Protection in the United States, 17 Sustainable Development, 19 Findings and Recommendations, 29 References, 29 3 A SUSTAINABILITY FRAMEWORK FOR EPA 35 Introduction, 35 The Sustainability Framework, 36 The Sustainability Framework: Level 1 Components, 40 Findings and Recommendations, 49 References, 50 ix

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x CONTENTS 4 SUSTAINABILITY ASSESSMENT AND MANAGEMENT: PROCESS, TOOLS, AND INDICATORS 53 Elements of Sustainability Assessment and Management, 53 Findings and Recommendations, 72 References, 74 5 HOW RISK ASSESSMENT AND RISK MANAGEMENT RELATE TO THE SUSTAINABILITY FRAMEWORK 79 Inference Guidelines and Operational Procedures, 81 Limitations of the Risk Assessment and Risk Management Paradigm, 82 Evolution of the Risk Assessment and Risk Management Paradigm, 82 The Interface Between the Risk Assessment and Risk Management Paradigm and Sustainability, 86 Findings and Recommendations, 89 References, 90 6 CHANGING THE CULTURE IN EPA 93 Effecting Cultural Change in the Agency, 93 Research and Development, 96 Findings and Recommendations, 106 References, 108 7 BENEFITS OF A SUSTAINABILITY APPROACH AT EPA 111 Daunting Challenges, 112 Probable Benefits of a More Robust Approach to Sustainability, 114 Conclusion: The Journey Ahead, 117 Findings and Recommendations, 122 References, 123 APPENDIXES A THE COMMITTEE ON INCORPORATING SUSTAINABILITY IN THE U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY 127 B STATEMENT OF TASK 133 C GLOSSARY 135 References, 137 D SUSTAINABILITY IN THE OECD 139 References, 140 E SUSTAINABILITY INDICATORS 143 References, 149

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xi CONTENTS TABLES, BOXES, AND FIGURES Tables 5-1 Differences Between Features of Risk Assessment and Risk Management and Sustainable Development, 88 E-1 Policy-Based Sustainable Development Indicators, 145 E-2 Outcome-Oriented Sustainable-Development Indicators, 146 Boxes 2-1 International Sustainable Development Conferences, 22 2-2 2009 Monitoring Report of EU Sustainable-Development Strategy, 24 3-1 Examples of Management System Frameworks for Sustainability, 39 3-2 Selected International and National Sustainability Principles, 42 3-3 Goal, Indicator, and Metric, 48 4-1 Biofuels, 54 4-2 Scenarios for Global Biodiversity, 65 4-3 Indicator Attributes, 70 6-1 Everglades Restoration: The Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Project, 94 6-2 Redevelopment of Boston’s Fairmount Rail Corridor: Addressing Environmental Justice Issues Through Multi-Agency and Community Collaboration, 100 6-3 Approving New York City’s Water Supply Protection System, 101 6-4 An Example of EPA’s Role in Facilitating State Activities that Achieve Environmental Goals: Improving Air Quality Through Land-Use Planning, 102 6-5 Growing Collaboration on Redesigning Roofs, 103 6-6 Presidential Green Chemistry Awards, 105 7-1 Green Infrastructure: Sustainable Water Quality Solutions for Cities with Combined Sewer and Storm-Sewer Overflows, 115 7-2 Using EPA Technical Assistance to Aid Advances in Stormwater Best Practices, 116 7-3 Energy Savings Permit Cleanup of Polychlorinated Biphenyl (PCB) Contamination in New York City Schools Without Layoff of Teachers, 117 7-4 Sustainable Solutions to Air Pollution Associated with Public Transit Bus Depots in Northern Manhattan: An Environmental Justice Issue and Community Response, 118

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xii CONTENTS 7-5 The Sustainability Remediation Forum: A Private Sector Effort to Incorporate Sustainable Practices into Remediation Efforts, 119 7-6 IBM: Early Mover on Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability, 120 7-7 Climate Change Mitigation and Sustainability, 124 Figures S-1 A framework for EPA sustainability decisions, 4 3-1 A framework for EPA sustainability decisions, 37 3-2 A framework for EPA sustainability decisions (Level 1), 38 3-3 Reorganization themes of the Office of Research and Development, 46 4-1 A framework for EPA sustainability decisions (Level 2), 54 5-1 Elements of risk assessment and risk management in the Red Book, 80 5-2 Framework for risk-based decision making, 85 5-3 Correspondence between sustainability assessment and management elements and risk assessment and risk management (RA/RM) framework, 89