ECOS members stressed that state grants from the nonpoint source program and clean water and drinking water State Revolving Loan Funds -- grants with the largest ULO balances -- assist all communities and are vital for improving their water quality and infrastructure. States understand the need to be diligent in spending funds but emphasized that it often takes three to five years to execute construction projects and other water quality improvements following the obligation of grant dollars.
In a separate session on enforcement and compliance issues with leadership of EPA's Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance (OECA), ECOS members touched on several issues. EPA officials shared with states their vision of Next Generation compliance, with states expressing interest in collaborating with EPA on innovative ideas related to enforcement and compliance. After hearing about OECA's plans for disinvestments in FY13, states requested similar flexibility from EPA in light of continuing budget challenges.
In other resolutions, ECOS members adopted a statement recognizing that innovative approaches hold great promise for building upon environmental successes and are often necessary to address the nation's most pervasive environmental problems. States noted that innovation can supplement traditional regulatory approaches to achieve Federal and state environmental and public health goals, including those outside the purview of traditional regulatory systems, by testing new approaches and integrating stewardship and sustainability initiatives. ECOS also updated its resolution on federalism, noting, among other things, that meaningful, timely, and substantial involvement of the states, as partners with EPA, is critical to the development and implementation of environmental programs, budgets, rules, guidance, and interpretation of federal regulations. The states adopted a number of resolutions including the following:
- Concerning Environmental Enforcement Training for State and Local Environmental Regulators
- On Innovative Approaches to Protecting Human Health and the Environment
- State/EPA Commitment to the Full Implementation of the National Environmental Information Exchange Network
- On Coordination with the National Governors' Association
- On Environmental Federalism
- Endorsement of the National Mercury Switch Recovery Program Memorandum of Agreement that Reduces Mercury in the Environment and Provides Flexibility to the States
- Clarification of CERCLA Sovereign Immunity Waiver for Federal Facilities
- Mercury Reduction, Stewardship, and Retirement
- Challenges of Achieving Significant Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions Reductions
- Preserving States' Rights to Regulate Greenhouse Gas Emissions
- Principles of Product Stewardship
- Supporting Work on Contaminated Site Response to Emerging Contaminants and Related Risk Communication Issues
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