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Release Date: 04/24/2000
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Innovations in traditional regulatory programs at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency have led to substantial environmental benefits and cost reductions over the past decade, according to a report issued today by the Agency, “Innovation at EPA: A Decade of Progress.”
“We’re a different agency than we were 10 years ago. A new emphasis on innovation has changed the way we think and operate at EPA, leading to significant environmental improvements and cost reductions, and common sense ways to protect public health and the environment. Future dividends will be even greater,” said Administrator Carol M. Browner.

The innovative approaches outlined in the report have resulted in
- more flexible and less expensive environmental requirements,
- assistance in understanding regulatory responsibilities,
- stronger partnerships with states, businesses and communities,
- greater public access to more meaningful environmental information, and,
- wider public participation in environmental decisions.

EPA has dramatically increased the amount of environmental information available to the public and has expanded access at EPA offices around the country and at public libraries. A redesigned EPA web page ( is providing a wide array of news and nine information pathways within the Agency and in Congress. There also are Spanish-language web sites. The annual Toxics Release Inventory provides a publicly-accessible national database of facility specific information on toxic releases, and citizens in 85 cities can now get real-time information on local environmental conditions.

Cleanup of Superfund sites is now faster, fairer and less expensive. As a result of administrative reforms that began in 1995, the average time and costs associated with cleanup have fallen by more than 20 percent. Moreover, $1.5 billion has been saved as a result of actions that make it possible to select and use the most efficient remedy for cleanup.

Partnerships are paying off, proof that a healthy economy and a healthy environment can be achieved together. More than 7,000 business organizations participate in one or more of EPA’s voluntary partnership programs. In 1998, participants in various EPA voluntary partnership programs collectively saved $3.3 billion and also conserved 1.8 billion gallons of water, eliminated 7.8 million tons of solid waste, and cut air pollution
by an amount equivalent to taking 13 million cars off the road. Working with EPA’s Project XL, a number of businesses are lowering costs and improving environmental performance by testing new, more flexible alternatives to existing regulations.

States now have greater latitude to target high-priority environmental problems. Federal agencies are working together more effectively to protect children from environmental risks in their homes, schools and day-care centers and in hospitals.

EPA is providing leadership to help communities grow and prosper in ways that preserve environmental quality. Through involvement in the national Smart Growth Network and other initiative, the Agency provides technical tools and information that allow communities to understand the environmental consequences of growth.

The report is available at: Printed copies can be requested from the National Service Center for Environmental Publications at 800-490-9198.

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