Jump to main content or area navigation.

Contact Us



Round 3-7: Establish Lead Regulator for Federal Facilities

Reform Description
A Federal facility cleanup may be governed by multiple authorities (e.g., Superfund, the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), and/or State laws). Although Federal and State agencies involved in a cleanup share the same goals of protecting human health and the environment, their processes, and even cleanup standards, may be different. In addition, overlapping authorities may duplicate efforts and use resources inefficiently.

This initiative:
  • Establishes clearly defined roles for regulators at Federal facilities;
  • Reduces duplicative efforts and inefficient use of resources; and
  • Promotes cooperation between EPA Headquarters, Regions, and States.

[Back to Top]

Reform Status
check mark Implementation of this reform is complete.

[Back to Top]

To support this initiative, EPA developed a policy (see Documents below) that promotes the single regulator concept, defines roles, and outlines the general principles and guidelines that Federal and State partners should assume in overseeing cleanup responses.

An interagency workgroup comprised of EPA Regions, Federal agencies, and State representatives advised EPA in developing the policy. The Agency dissolved the workgroup upon issuance of the policy in November 1997.

EPA Regions 4, 8, and 10 have made considerable progress negotiating agreements with Federal agencies and States that designate a single regulator with lead oversight responsibilities.

[Back to Top]

Success Stories
Regional Successes

There have been notably two major cleanup agreements re-negotiated at Department of Energy facilities that incorporated major aspects of the reform. At the Rocky Flats Environmental Technology Sites (RFETS), the old agreement was replaced in July 1996 by the Rocky Flats Compliance Agreement which designated the state of Colorado as the lead regulator for the "industrial area" and EPA as the lead regulator in the "buffer zone." The bifurcation of responsibilities settled a long-standing disagreement with Colorado and provided them with responsibility for areas that were of most interest to them. As a result many long-standing projects that had been stalled were able to begin moving forward. The original closure/completion date for RFETS has been accelerated from 2025 to 2006. The new structure of regulatory oversight has helped to move the cleanup date forward.

The second major facility is the Hanford Reservation in Washington state. The "tri-party" agreement there has been modified to recognize the state's RCRA authority and to divide oversight responsibility between EPA Region 10 and the state. This division of responsibility has eliminated duplicative oversight of the projects.

A third example is at Robbins AFB in Georgia. EPA Region 4 sent a letter June, 11, 1999 deferring oversight to the Georgia Environmental Protection Division as all the CERCLA requirements had been met for Operable Unit 2. The remaining work is for risk assessments of wetlands areas under the State's RCRA authority.

Region 4 plans to continue to work with the States in its Region to establish lead regulator responsibility for all Department of Energy (DOE) and Department of Defense (DOD) sites.

Regions 5 and 6 have been working with Ohio and Texas, respectively, to implement lead regulator agreements.

Since October 1994, Region 10 has had an agreement with the State of Washington that divides the sizable Federal facility workload between EPA and the State.

[Back to Top]

Title: Lead Regulator Policy for Cleanup Activities at Federal Facilities on the National Priorities List
Date: November 6, 1997
Synopsis: This policy clarifies roles and minimizes overlapping Federal and State regulatory oversight of cleanups at Federal facilities on the NPL to encourage more efficient use of Federal and State oversight resources.

[Back to Top]

Solid Waste and Emergency Response Home | Superfund Home | Innovative Technologies Home