US EPA issues new 4-year strategy, focused on climate change

10 April 2014 19:03  [Source: ICIS news]

WASHINGTON (ICIS)--The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said on Thursday that its top strategic focus over the next four years will be climate change, what administrator Gina McCarthy termed “the biggest challenge for our generation and those to come”.

In its new four-year strategic plan, the agency said that addressing climate change and improving air quality top its list of major goals for the 2014-2018 period, followed by protecting US waters, cleaning up communities and advancing sustainable development.

In addition to those top three strategic objectives, the agency also listed “ensuring safety of chemicals and preventing pollution” and “protecting human health and the environment by enforcing laws and assuring compliance”.

Those goals are largely the same as the EPA’s most recent four-year plan, issued in 2011.

This is the agency’s seventh four-year strategic plan since its first in 1995.  The plans are issued every two to four years.

McCarthy, appointed to head the EPA by President Obama just last year, said that the agency would focus on combatting climate change “by building strong partnerships at home and around the world”.

“We are working to mitigate this threat [of climate change] by reducing carbon pollution and other greenhouse gas emissions and by focusing on efficiency improvements in homes, buildings and appliances,” she said.

Many of EPA’s existing and pending rules targeting climate change and greenhouse gas emissions are already facing legal challenges and pushback from Congress.

She said that EPA will focus “on common sense, flexible approaches that rely on sustainable solutions, such as green infrastructure, and build resiliency to help us adapt to the effects of a changing climate”.

The new four-year strategy also has as a priority on “environmental justice, continuing to focus on urban, rural and economically disadvantaged communities to ensure that everyone … has access to clean water, clean air and the opportunity to live, work and play in healthy communities”.

Paul Hodges studies key influences shaping the chemical industry in Chemicals and the Economy

By: Joe Kamalick
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