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to toxic materials. Current research can be segmented into the categories of risk assessment and risk management. Future research is designed to enhance capabilities in both areas. Five specific milestones are listed for 1995–1998, including the completion of specific studies, the conduct of cooperative research with industry partners, and the implementation of a national program for verifying performance of innovative environmental technologies. Overall, CENR proposes that research in this area increase in FY 1996.


This paper cannot compare every aspect of each of the goals projects for technical consistency. In broad terms, the three projects are roughly consistent. However, as would be expected in undertakings of this magnitude, there are some apparent inconsistencies. Reducing airborne exposures to fine particles, for example, is not emphasized in either the EPA or the PCSD efforts, but is an area of priority in the CENR plan. In contrast, global warming is a key issue in both reports sponsored by the Administration (EPA and CENR), yet it is not accorded major importance in the more broadly based PCSD report. The same general pattern holds for toxic wastes, which are emphasized in both the EPA and CENR reports but treated somewhat less prominently in the PCSD effort.

There are good explanations for some, if not all, of these differences. In the area of fine particles, recent research has raised questions about the potential for serious health effects at relatively low concentration levels. It is thus appropriate that the research agenda (CENR) focus on this question, but it is not appropriate that EPA make it a priority for implementation beyond compliance with the current standard. While revising its ambient standard on fine particles could be an EPA objective, it perhaps is too specific an issue to appear in the goals project as a major milestone.

In the case of global warming, the Administration has clearly made this issue a priority both in terms of meeting its goal of holding greenhouse gas emissions in the year 2000 to 1990 levels and in terms of conducting more research on the issue, including mitigation research. In contrast, many of the members of the PCSD, especially those from the business sector, have not fully embraced global warming as a problem that merits major action at this time. Thus, it is not surprising that the PCSD has only addressed the global warming issue in very general terms.

Differences in the area of toxic wastes are analogous to those in the area of global warming. Consistent with current laws, both the EPA and the CENR give considerable emphasis to the problem. Yet, over the longer term it is not at all clear how much emphasis to accord the issue. While the PCSD does propose a specific indicator on toxic accumulation (the amount of long-lived and other toxic materials released into the environment), toxic wastes do not loom as a major part of its goals or indicators.

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