in the ToxCast program to apply innovative toxicity testing tools to the design of green chemicals.
• Explicitly examine the effects of new regulatory and nonregulatory programs on innovation while ascertaining environmental and economic effects. This “innovation impact assessment” could, in part, inform the economic evaluation as a structure that encourages technologic innovation that may lead to long-term cost reductions. The assessment could also function as a stand-alone activity to evaluate how regulations could encourage or discourage innovation in a number of activities and sectors. It could help to identify what research and technical support and incentives are necessary to encourage innovation that reduces environmental and health effects while stimulating economic benefits.
This report has stressed the importance of sustaining and strengthening EPA’s present programs of scientific research, applications, and data collection while identifying and pursuing a wide array of new scientific opportunities and challenges. Both are needed to address the complexity of modern problems and both are essential to the agency if it is to continue to provide scientific leadership and high-quality science-based regulation in the years to come.
Specific recommendations related to agency budgets are outside the scope of this study, but the committee feels compelled to note, as did the report Science Advisory Board Comments on the President’s Requested FY2013 Research Budget (EPA SAB 2012b), that since 2004, the budget for ORD has declined 28.5% in real-dollar terms (gross domestic product—indexed dollars). The reductions have been even greater in a number of specific fields, such as ecosystem research and pollution prevention.
Finding: If EPA is to provide scientific leadership and high-quality science-based regulation in the coming decades, it will need adequate resources to do so. Some of this committee’s recommendations, if followed, will allow EPA to address its scientific needs with greater efficiency. But the agency cannot continue to provide leadership, pursue many new needs and opportunities, and lay the foundation for ensuring future health and environmental safety unless the long-term budgetary trend is reversed.
Recommendation 7: The committee recommends EPA create a process to set priorities for improving the quality of its scientific endeavors over the coming decades. This process should recognize the inevitably limited resources while clearly articulating the level of resources required for the agency to continue to ensure the future health and safety of humans and ecosystems.