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Personal Observations of Environmental Engineering at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on the Occasion of Rensselaer’s 50th Anniversary Environmental Engineering Colloquium. K. Jack Kooyoomjian, Ph.D. RPI Class of 1974. EPA IMPLEMENTATION OF ENVIRONMENTAL LEGISLATION.

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k jack kooyoomjian ph d rpi class of 1974

Personal Observations of Environmental Engineering at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agencyon the Occasion of Rensselaer’s 50th Anniversary Environmental Engineering Colloquium

K. Jack Kooyoomjian, Ph.D.

RPI Class of 1974

epa implementation of environmental legislation
  • Creating A Law Requires an Act of Congress and Agreement by the President of the U.S.: Events & Issues Create Such Legislation
  • The Agency Operates in a “Fishbowl”: It’s A Very “Public” Process
  • Creating A Regulation Implements the Legislation
  • The Whole Process Creates a Need for Technical Staff/Support
  • Must Study & Understand Issues
  • Stakeholder & Public Involvement
  • Develop Federal Register Notices of Proposed & Final Rules
  • Prepare Technical Background Docs, Preamble, Public Docket, etc.
  • Effluent Guidelines Example
  • Superfund & RCRA Regulatory Support Examples
environmental legislation
  • 1899 Rivers and Harbors Act (Hazards to Navigation & Commerce)
  • 1947 Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act
  • 1948 Water Pollution Control Act (PL 80-845)
  • 1955 Clean Air Act
  • 1965 Shoreline Erosion Protection Act
  • 1965 Solid Waste Disposal Act
  • 1965 Water Quality Act (PL 89-234)
  • 1966 Clean Waters Restoration Act (PL 89-753)
  • 1969/70 National Environmental Policy Act:

Signed into Law Jan 1,1970

EPA is created as well as NOAA and CEQ

  • 1970 Pollution Prevention Packaging Act
environmental legislation1
  • 1970 Resource Recovery Act
  • 1970 Water Quality Improvement Act (PL 91-224)
  • 1971 Lead-Based Paint Poisoning Prevention Act
  • 1972 Coastal Zone Management Act
  • 1972 Marine Protection, Research, and Sanctuaries Act
  • 1972 Ocean Dumping Act
  • 1972 Water Pollution Control Act (PL 92-500)
  • 1973 Endangered Species Act
  • 1974 Safe Drinking Water Act
  • 1974 Shoreline Erosion Control Demonstration Act 1975 Hazardous Materials Transportation Act
environmental legislation2
Environmental Legislation
  • 1976 Resource Conservation and Recovery Act
  • 1976 Toxic Substances Control Act (PL 94-469)
  • 1977 Clean Water Act (PL 95-217) & Its Amendments
  • 1977 Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act
  • 1978 Environmental Research, Development, and Demonstration

Authorization Act (ERDDAA, 42 USC 4365)

  • 1978 Uranium Mill-Tailings Radiation Control Act
  • 1978 Asbestos School Hazard Detection and Control Act
  • 1980 Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act
  • 1982 Nuclear Waste Policy Act
  • 1984 Asbestos School Hazard Abatement Act
environmental legislation3
  • 1986 Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act
  • 1986 Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act
  • 1987 Water Quality Act (PL 100-4)
  • 1988 Indoor Radon Abatement Act
  • 1988 Lead Contamination Control Act
  • 1988 Medical Waste Tracking Act
  • 1988 Ocean Dumping Ban Act
  • 1988 Shore Protection Act
  • 1990 National Environmental Education Act
  • 1990 Oil Pollution Control Act
  • 1990 Pollution Prevention Act …others, and
  • 2002 Homeland Security Act
presidential executive orders
  • Presidential Executive Orders Overlay the Process …see examples
  • Indian Tribal Governments below
  • Marine Protected Areas
  • To Protect Migrating Birds
  • Regulations That Significantly Affect Energy Supply, Distribution and Use
  • Federal Workforce, Transportation
  • “Greening” the Government & Transportation Efficiency
  • “Greening” the Government thru Leadership in Environmental Management
  • Environmental Review of Trade Agreements
  • Developing & Promoting Bio-based & Bioengineering
  • “Greening” the Government thru Efficiency Management
presidential executive orders1
  • “Greening” the Government thru Waste Prevention, Recycling & Federal Acquisition
  • Coral Reef Protection
  • Protection of Children from Environmental Health Risks & Safety Risks (Exec Order 13045 April 1997)
  • Energy Efficiency & Waste Conservation at Federal Facilities (Exec Order 12902, March 1994)
  • Federal Actions to Address Environmental Justice in Minority Populations and Low-Income Populations (Exec Order 12898, Feb 1994)
  • Federal Use of Alternative Fueled Cars (Exec Order 13101, Nov. 1993)
  • Presidential Executive Orders Can & Have Been Issued & Recalled, Depending on Administration Policy
ceq regs implementing nepa
CEQ Regs Implementing NEPA
  • NEPA of 1969 as amended (Pub. L. 91-190, 42 USC 4321-4347, Jan 1, 1970, as amended by Pub. L. 94-54, July 3, 1975, …)
  • Environmental Impact Statement
  • NEPA & Agency Planning
  • Commenting
  • Pre-Decision Referrals to the Council of Proposed Federal Actions Determined to be Environmental
  • Agency Compliance with NEPA
state local government role in environmental programs
State/Local Government Role in Environmental Programs
  • States Administrate Many Environmental Statutes & Regulations
  • State Laws, Administrative Rules, Regulations, Codes & Statutes
  • Standards Cannot be Less Restrictive than the Federal Government, but May be More Restrictive
  • Localities Administer Ordinances, Codes & Statutes, Comprehensive Plan Process
  • States & Localities Deal With All Manner of Issues: e.g., Agriculture, Air Pollution & Air Quality, Acid Deposition, Dams, Ecosystem Management, Endangered Species, Energy Conservation, Environmental Conservation, Environmental Remediation, Environmental Treaties, Fisheries Conservation & Management, Environmental Health, Hazardous Waste Management, Land-Use, Municipal Landfills, Natural Resource Management, Non-Point Sources, Public Health, RCRA Implementation & Compliance, Solid Waste Management, “Smart-Growth,” Storm-Water Management, Suburban Sprawl, Sustainability, Superfund Site Cleanups, Transportation Issues, Water, Wildlife Management – & many others.
environmental protection agency
Environmental Protection Agency
  • A Decentralized Organization: 10 Regions, Labs & Field Offices
  • “Stove Pipe” Legislation Still Does Heavily Drive Programs
  • Work With the States in Implementation of Programs (e.g., RCRA Permitting, NPDES Permits, Wetlands issues, etc.) is Essential
  • Other Agencies, Dept., Commissions are Involved [e.g., CDC, HDS, DOD (includes U.S. Army Corps of Engineers), DOE, DOI, NIH, NRC, NIST, USDA, etc.]
  • Need for More Integrated Cross-Media Problem-Solving and Issue Management, as Risk Assessment/Risk Management Coordination
  • Emphasis on Risk Reduction, Harmonization, Integrated Risk, Benchmarking & Sustainability
  • Since 9/11, More Emphasis on Homeland Security Issues (Water Supply, Wastewater Treatment Plants, Information Security, Web Access, etc)
science advisory board
  • Established by Congress in 1978 by the Environmental Research, Development, and Demonstration Authorization Act (ERDDAA, 42 USC 4365)
  • Emphasis on Providing the Administrator & the U.S. Congress with outside, independent advice on scientific, engineering &, economics & social science issues that impact the technical basis for EPA positions, regulations, research plans, etc.
  • Since It’s Inception, the SAB has Published over 600 Reports, Commentaries, Advisories, Consultations, etc.
  • Among Many of the SAB “Messages” is that Ecosystem Health is as Important as Public Health, More Attention Needs to be Paid to Cross-Media Issues, and Integrated Risk Assessment is Difficult to Achieve, but is to be Encouraged.
science advisory board1
  • The Board (Currently around 35 members)
  • Standing Committees Include DWC, EPEC, EEAC, EEC, EHC/IHEC, RAC, & Separately Chartered CASAC & COUNCIL (totals around 100)
  • Many Ad Hoc Panels: (Includes Approx. 300)

(e. g. Children’s Health, Regulatory Environmental Models, Second Generation Model, etc.)

For SAB Reports, Meetings, etc. go to www.epa.gov/sab

fresh water institute beginnings
Fresh Water Institute Beginnings
  • 1965- 1975 Time-Frame
  • “Gull Bay” on East Side of Lake George (Town of Putnam) leased from Mr. Harold Strang (RPI Trustee & VP GE, Retired)
  • Dr. Richard Folsom, President of RPI &
  • Dr. Clayton Dohrenwend, Provost of RPI
  • Obtained NY State Science & Technology Foundation Grant to purchase Specialty Laboratory Equipment
  • Research Theme was discussed with & endorsed by Dr. C. Mervin Palmer, Dr. Cornelius Weber & Mr. Kenneth Mackenthun of the US PHS/ FWPCA
  • RPI’s Proposal for the FWI was taken to Wash., DC and received funding through US DOI’s OWRR & US PHS FWPCA (later FWQA – the pre-US EPA Organization)
fresh water institute beginnings1
Fresh Water Institute Beginnings
  • Multi-Disciplinary, multi-institutional Proposal to US National Committee of the International Biological Program (IBP)
  • Lake George was Selected as a Study Site in the Eastern Deciduous Forest Biome (EDFB) within the US IBP
  • Management for the EDFB resided with the Oak Ridge National Lab, with Dr. Stanley I. Auerbach as the Biome Director
  • The US IBP Received Multi-Year Funding from NSF’s Ecosystem Analysis Division
  • Many Graduate Students were supported by the FWI, not only at RPI, but also at other district-area universities
fresh water institute beginnings2
Fresh Water Institute Beginnings
  • Dr. Alfred E. Emerson. Noted Pioneering (retired) Ecologist from the University of Chicago was “Honorary Advisor” to the IBP Research at Lake George, where he Resided
  • Mr. David M. Darrin Visited “Gull Bay” Lab & become benefactor (and later Mrs. Peggy Darrin) for the Lake George Water Research Center (LGWRC), later named the Fresh Water Institute, which continues today
  • Dr. Ruth Patrick (noted Limnologist) & President of the Philadelphia Academy of Natural Sciences visited the FWI & favorably received its mission
  • An Endowment was Obtained for the FWI from the UPS Foundation (formerly the 1907 Foundation), and continues today. UPS Funded Workshops at Lake George with Acadame, Gov’t & Industry. These Workshops were hosted by Dr. Emil. Mrak, Chancellor Emeritus, UC Davis


  • End of Talk

Identification of Future Problem, Initiating Event,

or Public Policy Mandate


Formulate the Problem

Define Risk Management





Identify and Evaluate

Risk Management Options

  • Public Health Considerations
  • Statutory/Legal Considerations
  • Social Factors
  • Economic Factors
  • Political Considerations



Risk Management








Develop Environmental


Measure Environmental and

Public Health Improvement

Reduced Environmental

and/or Public Health Risk