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 Partnerships With State, Tribal, and
 Local Governments

Note: EPA no longer updates this information, but it may be useful as a reference or resource.


It is important that state, tribal, and local government regulators play a major role in implementing new technologies in their communities. EPA seeks to establish and maintain partnerships with these regulators; that way, the regulators can provide input early in the implementation process. EPA’s partnerships include information and training on new technologies because sometimes regulators are reluctant to accept a given technology due to:

  • Unfamiliarity with the technology
  • Discomfort with the risk posed by the technology
  • Limitations on resources that require permitting, developing regulations, providing technical assistance, and enforcing regulations

EPA’s collaborations with state, tribal, and local governments include the following:

Image: ECOS logoEnvironmental Council of the States (ECOS) – This council is a national nonprofit, nonpartisan association of state and territorial environmental agency leaders. The purpose of ECOS is to improve the capability of state environmental agencies to protect and improve human health and the environment of the United States. ECOS believes that state government agencies are the key to delivering environmental protection afforded by both federal and state law. The council plays a critical role in facilitating a quality relationship between federal and state agencies in the fulfillment of that mission. The role of ECOS is to:

  • Articulate, advocate, preserve, and champion the role of the states in environmental management
  • Provide for the exchange of ideas, views, and experiences among states and with others
  • Foster cooperation and coordination in environmental management
  • Articulate state positions to Congress, federal agencies, and the public on environmental issues

ECOS is actively working on several environmental policy research efforts, both independently and through cooperative agreements with EPA. The research includes the National Childhood Asthma Prevention Campaign, the Forum on State and Tribal Toxics Action, and Small-Community Compliance Assistance. Currently, ECOS has key partnerships with:

  • State/EPA Information Management Workgroup – This workgroup formed the Environmental Data Standards Council in November 1999. It has 10 members: four state, four EPA, and two tribal representatives. The workgroup develops environmental data standards to promote the exchange of information workplace for use by employees of state environmental agencies and EPA. Its purpose is to share ideas and information about information management and other topics of mutual interest.
  • National Environmental Information Exchange Network – This is an information-exchange network among states, tribes, and EPA. Partners on the network share data efficiently and securely over the Internet. This approach provides real-time access to higher-quality data, while saving time, resources, and money for partner states, tribes, and territories.

Image: ITRC logoInterstate Technology and Regulatory Council (ITRC) – The ITRC, which is in partnership with ECOS, is a state-led coalition of regulators, industry experts, academics, citizen stakeholders, and federal partners working together to increase regulatory acceptance of state-of-the-science environmental technologies and approaches. The council is devoted to increasing the efficiency of state permitting for using innovative technologies. Its goal has been to expedite the acceptance of innovative technologies used in the remediation of contaminated hazardous waste sites.

ITRC accomplishes its mission in two ways: it develops guidance documents and training courses to meet the needs of both regulators and environmental consultants, and it works with state representatives to ensure that ITRC products and services have maximum impact among state environmental agencies and technology users.

Recently, the ITRC has broadened its focus to address other environmental issues. With the funding ITRC receives from EPA, the Department of Energy (DOE), and the Department of Defense (DoD), the council has been able to reduce compliance costs, make it easier to use new technologies, and help states maximize their resources.

Image: TARP logoTechnology Acceptance and Reciprocity Partnership (TARP) – This group, which is in partnership with ECOS, involves states early in the technology implementation process, addresses the challenges faced by regulators, and expedites the acceptance and use of innovative technologies. EPA’s focused, efficient, and highly leveraged support of TARP is a “best practice” in real-world fostering of technical innovation, which includes performance testing protocols at the state level.

Scientifically valid information on the performance of new technologies is critical to making state permit decisions, and it often does not exist for new technologies. Uncertain testing requirements and duplicative reviews under traditional state-specific permit review systems increase the cost of commercialization for new technologies. So, the commissioners and secretaries of the eight TARP states (California, Illinois, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Virginia) set up a way for states to develop common testing protocols. Vendors can demonstrate the effectiveness of their technologies, thereby providing a pathway for technology developers to gather credible data; reduce costly, duplicative field-testing; and gain regulatory acceptance.

For example, in the area of storm water treatment technologies, regulators in each participating state oversee field testing of storm water technologies across the country. The host state performs a critical evaluation of the performance data required in the common protocol and then shares its analysis with collaborating states. Results are posted in a searchable database Exit EPA Disclaimer that includes reports, data, and evaluations of storm water technologies. By sharing the workload for review across states, TARP estimates that up to 80 percent of the state’s traditional application review time is reduced.

The State/EPA Nonpoint Source (NPS) Partnership – The NPS partnership provides a framework for states and EPA to work together to identify, prioritize, and solve nonpoint source water problems. Work groups were established through this partnership to focus on topic-specific needs:

  • Watershed planning and implementation
  • Rural and urban nonpoint sources
  • Nonpoint source grants management
  • Nonpoint source capacity building and funding
  • Information transfer and outreach
  • Nonpoint source monitoring

The information and products emerging from these work groups help states to effectively implement their nonpoint source management programs.

See Also

Environmental Council of the States (ECOS) Exit EPA Disclaimer

Interstate Technology and Regulatory Council  (ITRC) Exit EPA Disclaimer

Technology Acceptance and Reciprocity Partnership (TARP) Exit EPA Disclaimer

Stormwater Technologies Clearinghouse Exit EPA Disclaimer

The State/EPA Nonpoint Source Partnership (NPS)


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