Environmental Protection:

Current Environmental Challenges Require New Approaches

T-RCED-95-190: Published: May 17, 1995. Publicly Released: May 17, 1995.

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GAO discussed the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) management and direction, focusing on: (1) EPA ability to target its resources to the highest environmental priorities; and (2) the relationship between EPA and the states. GAO noted that: (1) EPA has not been able to prioritize and target its resources efficiently because it does not have an overarching legislative mission and its environmental responsibilities have not been integrated; (2) EPA has not established coordinated planning, budgeting, and evaluating systems that would help allocate its resources to reduce health and environmental risks; (3) the relationship between EPA and the states has been strained by differences over priorities and limited resources; (4) states have criticized EPA for imposing federal mandates at the expense of state priorities, failing to involve states in decision making, and providing too little technical assistance; and (5) EPA is developing long-range goals and benchmarks for addressing environmental quality, exploring ways to help states address their resource shortages, providing additional administrative flexibility, and supporting state efforts to implement a more integrated approach to environmental management.

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