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Lean management, speedy review proposal disrupt EPA business as usual

Sources: Environmental Protection Agency; CP staff

Changes sweeping the Environmental Protection Agency under the Trump Administration range from implementing lean management systems and creating an Office of Continuous Improvement to harmonizing regional office activities and reforming science advisory committees to ensure integrity. 

EPA cites the measures in a proposal to streamline and modernize Environmental Appeals Board (EAB) review of permits. Officials aim to facilitate speedy processing of permit disputes through alternative dispute resolution (ADR), a hearing before the Board, or more timely judicial review. The former is structured to promote faster resolution of issues and more creative, satisfying and enduring solutions. The proposal provides parties challenging EPA permits with options to resolve their disputes, including ADR or a traditional appeal before Board. If parties do not unanimously agree on the path forward, a permit becomes final and can be challenged in federal court without going through additional agency administrative channels.

EPA also proposes new deadlines for EAB action and other provisions to promote internal efficiency; 12-year terms for Board judges in lieu of current indefinite terms; a new process to identify which EAB opinions are considered precedential; and, a new mechanism by which the agency administrator can issue a dispositive legal interpretation in any matter pending before the EAB.

“Under President Trump’s leadership, we have made the Agency more accountable to the public and with this proposal we are continuing to build on that success,” says EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler.