Note: EPA no longer updates this information, but it may be useful as a reference or resource.
EPA’s international work is focused on evaluating the role and function of EPA technology assistance activities in the rapidly evolving global marketplace. The international technology sector is important to EPA and the United States because of the:
- Direct environmental impact of cross-border pollution
- Expanded use by the United States of technology developed and manufactured abroad
- Economic stimulus potential of the global marketplace for the development of innovative technologies
- New international standards and regulations
Cross-Border Pollution – Because many environmental issues are inherently international—cross-boundary air and water pollution, global climate change, and preventing invasive species growth—the implementation of improved technology in other countries can have a direct impact on the U.S. environment. For example, a diesel retrofit and ultra low-sulfur fuel technology bus project is being tested in Mexico City and is expected to be deployed along the U.S./Mexican border (see Cleaning Up Diesel Emissions in Mexico City).
Expanded Use by the United States of Technology Developed and Manufactured Abroad – Areas such as drinking water and alternative energy systems have been internationalized by the rise of non-American technology developers entering the U.S. market and offering improved technologies for use in this country.
Economic Stimulus of the Global Marketplace – Environmental technology development has been globalized in the last decade. Innovations for the world market, whether developed in the United States or abroad, have enabled the United States to also benefit from the new technologies. Market interests have arisen because the viability and expanding scope of the overseas market encourages developers to investigate technologies that would not be economically practicable for the U.S. market alone.
In addition, emerging product, operational, and waste regulations in Europe that target the environmental characteristics of products are causing entire industries to redesign their products in order to optimize environmental performance. Individual states, most notably California, are producing similar regulations that are resulting in the demand for new environmental technologies in the areas of:
- Measurement and verification
- Risk assessment
- Tools needed to achieve and ensure desired product performance
New International Standards and Regulations – U.S. manufacturers are responding to the product environmental-performance standards and regulations developed in Europe and to the state regulations that emulate the European developments. Differing and possibly conflicting standards will create confusion and impede new technologies on their way to the marketplace. Therefore, in partnership with appropriate state and business organizations, EPA will conduct a major study or series of studies in certain sectors to determine the extent to which these new standards and regulations will affect U.S. environmental and technology requirements. This effort will also determine EPA’s role in harmonizing regulatory approaches and in guiding states, manufacturers, and citizens.
EPA will continue to pursue and expand its policy of addressing international opportunities, particularly in cross-boundary pollution prevention and control and other areas of high priority to EPA, such as mercury control. Such opportunities may arise from priorities developed by other departments and agencies charged with U.S. foreign policy missions.
EPA has demonstrated a commitment to technology information diffusion in selected countries with specific environmental problems, such as air pollution in China and Mexico and waste disposal issues in the Eastern European nations. EPA responds to “targets of opportunity” around the world when these targets are in line with EPA’s strategic goals and objectives. EPA also works with international agencies, such as the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Health Organization (WHO), on specific issues. In addition, EPA’s activities with the United States–Asia Environmental Partnership help to promote cleaner and more efficient cities and industries in Asia.
Furthermore, EPA’s technology verification programs are being strengthened and promoted internationally as a process that offers technically reliable assessment of new domestic and international environmental technologies. In particular, EPA is promoting the use of testing protocols by other nations to allow for the more rapid understanding and diffusion of commonly based performance information.
EPA continues to strengthen its interaction and cooperation with the domestic agencies that are the primary players in the international realm. For example, the U.S. Department of Commerce and the U.S. Agency for International Partnerships are leaders in areas such as foreign aid and capacity building, and they support international opportunities for U.S. environmental technology industries.