Committee on Incorporating Sustainability in the
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Science and Technology for Sustainability Program
Policy and Global Affairs Division
NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL
OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES
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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, conclusions, 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.
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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
Recognizing the importance of sustainability to its work, the U.S. Environmental 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 addition 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 sustainability 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-
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 & Company; 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 comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the conclusions or recommendations, 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, director 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, program 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
TABLES, BOXES, AND FIGURES