EPA at 50: Disaster Recovery and Mitigation Efforts Help Communities Build Back More Resiliently
WASHINGTON (September 28, 2020) — This week, as part of its 50th anniversary commemoration, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Office of Homeland Security is highlighting the agency’s efforts to recover from and mitigate against natural and manmade disasters. The agency provides mitigation and recovery support to state, local, territorial, and tribal partners when needed, through a number of headquarter and regional programs and under its National Oil and Hazardous Substances Contingency Plan (NCP) authority and responsibilities.
“The goal of our program is to build long-term resilience to disasters by applying EPA’s expertise and streamline federal action to support communities with both pre-disaster planning and promoting sustainable and resilient rebuilding after disasters,” said EPA Office of Homeland Security Associate Administrator Ted Stanich. “With the right planning and community engagement, our mitigation and recovery investments have the potential not only to strengthen resilience to disasters, but also to protect human health and the environment.”
EPA and FEMA have two Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) that guide the help we provide both before and after disasters. One is to help communities hit by disasters rebuild in ways that protect the environment, create long-term economic prosperity, and enhance neighborhoods. The second is establishes a framework for the EPA funded Clean Water SRF and Drinking Water SRF programs to streamline coordination between FEMA and the SRFs to enable funding to support essential infrastructure projects to be made available as quickly as possible.
The agency focuses on linking environmental and human health within disaster mitigation and recovery by:
- Assisting federal, tribal, state, and local partners to develop better plans before disasters.
- Assessing and if necessary, responding to waste management and cleanup sites.
- Informing communities about rebuilding.
- Collaborating with other agencies to streamline federal oversight related to permitting, review, and/or enforcement requirements.
- Partnering with environmental justice communities to ensure meaningful engagement in recovery operations and planning.
- Assessing drinking water and wastewater facilities to determine operational status and environmental impacts and then provides funding for repairs through our State Revolving Loan Fund (SRF) program.
- Providing analytical support, technical and scientific expertise, and tools.
- Providing funding for issues such as wastewater and drinking water infrastructure; debris management and planning; and brownfields assessment and project implementation.
As mandated under the Stafford Act, EPA utilizes our own authorities such as the Clean Water Act and the Clean Air Act to support state and local recovery and mitigation efforts. Theses authorities are used in connection with the Agency’s roles and responsibilities under the National Mitigation Framework (NMF) and National Disaster Recovery Framework (NDRF) to support Presidentially declared disasters, undeclared disasters, and to mitigate damage and impacts prior to disasters.
EPA’s central hub for disaster and hurricane information is available at https://www.epa.gov/hurricanes
For more information on EPA’s homeland security efforts, visit https://www.epa.gov/homeland-security.
For more on EPA’s 50th Anniversary and how the agency is protecting America’s waters, land and air, visit: https://www.epa.gov/50, or follow the agency on social media using #EPAat50.