- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has launched a new Smart Sectors program in its Office of Policy, an initiative aimed at reassessing the agency's relationship with the industries it regulates.
- The program will work with more than a dozen industries, including oil and gas extraction and utilities and power generation.
- The program, based on the EPA Sector Strategies program, fits alongside the Trump Administration's promises to do away with burdensome regulations that restrict energy production and fossil fuel development.
The Smart Sectors program will seek to continue the EPA's core mission of protecting the environment, while also doing away with regulations that are slowing innovative solutions, according to a notice from the agency. That's a claim environmental activists are likely to challenge, however, as they have consistently accused the Trump administration of abdicating its duty to protect the environment while giving industry greater reign.
The new program will "re-examine how EPA engages with industry in order to reduce unnecessary regulatory burden, create certainty and predictability, and improve the ability of both EPA and industry to conduct long-term regulatory planning while also protecting the environment and public health," according to an agency notice.
The program will target a bakers dozen of industries: aerospace; agriculture; automotive; cement and concrete; chemical manufacturing; construction; electronics and technology; forestry and paper products; iron and steel; mining; oil and gas; ports and marine; and utilities and power generation.
"Sectors were selected based on each sector’s potential to improve the environment and public health," EPA said.
Last month, President Trump signed an executive order to ease regulatory approval of large infrastructure projects, including speeding permit decisions once an environmental review is complete. The order required that federal decisions for the construction of a major infrastructure project must be completed within 90 days of the issuance of a record of decision by the federal agency leading the review.
The new EPA program will designate experienced staff-level points of contact who will act as liaisons among industry trade associations and companies, EPA program and regional offices, state and local governments, and other stakeholder groups.
EPA said sector liaisons will focus their attention primarily on three main areas: building relationships and improving customer service to sectors; developing additional expertise in each industry’s operations and environmental performance; and informing the planning of future policies, regulations and processes.