The Environmental Council of the States (“ECOS”) announced on June 12th the release of a paper titled:

Cooperative Federalism 2.0: Achieving and Maintaining a Clean Environment and Protecting Public Health (“Paper”)

The Paper was simultaneously transmitted to various United States Senators and Representatives that serve as Chairmen and Ranking Members of the Congressional Committees with jurisdiction over the statutory programs that the United States Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) operates.

ECOS describes itself as the national nonprofit, nonpartisan association of state and territorial environmental agency leaders. The organization’s purpose is stated to be the improvement of the capability of state environmental agencies and their leaders to protect and improve human health and the environment of the United States.

Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality Director Becky Keogh serves as Secretary-Treasurer of ECOS.

The Paper states by way of introduction that ECOS believes that a “national conversation” is underway as to the best and highest purpose for state and federal environmental regulators from 2017 forward. The organization further states that it is:

. . . convinced a recalibration of state and federal roles can lead to more effective environmental management at lower cost – that this is a call for a Cooperative Federalism 2.0.

The purpose of the Paper is described as the stimulation and advancement of this “national conversation.” The organization believes there is an opportunity to engage the Administration, Congress, and the various other parties and interests in how the states and EPA can “put meat on the bone” and more fully define what is meant by Cooperative Federalism 2.0 from a policy, operational, and fiscal standpoint – and ensure effective public health and environmental protections.

The Paper contains two parts which include:

  • Principles of the Roles and Function of States and EPA in Cooperative Federalism
  • Changes Implied by Cooperative Federalism 2.0

The potential roles of both the states and EPA are discussed in some detail in Part 1.

In its transmittal letter to the previously referenced Committee Chairmen and Ranking Members ECOS states that this recalibration (if properly conducted) could result in:

  • Equal or greater environmental and public health protection and outcomes through smart deployment of resources on critical priorities;
  • Reduced operating costs due to a more efficient division of services, streamlined operation relationships, best practice sharing and elimination of redundancies across states and divisions of EPA;
  • More effective allocation of limited resources by determining the best roles and functions states and the EPA are each best suited to perform; and
  • With time, fewer disputes over who should take credit for successes and achievements, and who is responsible for decisions and actions that result in set-backs.

A copy of one of the Congressional transmittal letters and the Paper can be downloaded here.