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EPA Administrator and NAS President Recognize EPA 40th Anniversary, Announce Groundbreaking National Research Council Study

Release Date: 11/30/2010
Contact Information: LaTisha Petteway (News Media Only) petteway.latisha@epa.gov 202-564-3191 202-564-4355 Dale Kemery (News Media Only) kemery.dale@epa.gov 202-564-7839 202-564-4355

WASHINGTON – Today, at an event recognizing the Environmental Protection Agency’s 40th anniversary, EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson and National Academy of Sciences (NAS) President Ralph Cicerone announced that EPA has commissioned a National Research Council (NRC) study that will help the agency build upon its expertise in protecting human health and the environment. The study will define how to incorporate sustainability concepts into EPA programs.

The event is part of EPA’s week-long commemoration of the agency’s 40th anniversary. The week began with an event at the Aspen Institute, which unveiled a list of 10 ways EPA has strengthened America. The administrator and EPA offices across the country will be participating in events to highlight the impact of its efforts to clean up the air Americans breathe, the water they drink and the communities they live in. These events will also focus on some of the unfinished business of the environmental movement.

The agency has asked the NRC to develop the Green Book, a groundbreaking effort to incorporate sustainability into the way the agency approaches environmental protection. This tool will assist EPA in its work to find links and coordinate among its various functions, including air, water and land protection. The announcement signifies an important step toward building a society that can meet its needs while preserving the ability of future generations to meet their needs.

The effort parallels the 1983 Red Book, published by the NRC in an effort to systematize risk assessment and risk management into EPA’s work. At that time, EPA Administrator William D. Ruckelshaus delivered a landmark speech to the National Academies, calling for the development of the risk framework and emphasizing its critical role in improving the agency’s effectiveness.

Historically, environmental programs have largely focused on reducing air pollution and water pollution, and how to identify and monitor chemical and environmental risks to human health and the environment. Today’s challenges depend on the sustainable use of energy, water, materials and land, and require solutions that stress the linkages between energy use, water use, environmental protection, human health, quality of life, and the global economy. The Green Book will provide recommendations to EPA that will support the agency’s shift toward viewing this complex set of modern-day environmental challenges through a sustainability lens.

The recently announced Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves Initiative exemplifies this type of thinking. The initiative does not merely focus on reducing risk, but it forges a sustainable solution linking environmental issues such as air quality and deforestation to health and quality of life issues for women and girls. The Green Book will provide the foundation for the agency’s shift toward a sustainability framework.


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