Environmental Protection:

Status of EPA's Initiatives to Create a New Partnership With States

T-RCED-96-87: Published: Feb 29, 1996. Publicly Released: Feb 29, 1996.

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GAO discussed the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) initiatives in response to the National Academy of Public Administration's recommendations to change the nation's approach to environmental protection, focusing on EPA attempts to improve its relationship with states. GAO noted that: (1) EPA plans to create a National Environmental Performance Partnership System, which would fundamentally change the EPA-state relationship by setting new goals for environmental protection and giving states broad flexibility to meet them; (2) although this system should allow states more input in decisionmaking, provide for joint planning, and reduce EPA oversight of states that perform well, it is too soon to assess the effectiveness of these partnership agreements; (3) states' attempts to integrate their regulatory activities across programs show potential for reducing pollution and increasing regulatory efficiency; and (4) EPA believes that its proposed consolidated grants should alleviate problems caused by inflexible federal fund allocations and duplicative reporting requirements.

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