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News Releases from Region 09

EPA Launches Agriculture Smart Sectors Program to Achieve Better Environmental Outcomes

10/02/2019
Contact Information: 
Margot Perez-Sullivan (perezsullivan.margot@epa.gov)
415-947-4149

SAN FRANCISCO – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 9 office is announcing the launch of an agriculture focus in its Smart Sectors Pacific Southwest program, a partnership initiative between the agency and regulated business sectors that is aimed at achieving better environmental outcomes. Based on the national Smart Sectors program, this approach provides a significant opportunity for EPA to consider more forward-thinking ways to protect the environment through collaboration and dialogue with key sectors of the economy in Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, Pacific Islands, as well as with 148 tribes in the region.

EPA Regional Administrator Mike Stoker was joined Tuesday by farmers, association members, and EPA and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) senior management at a roundtable discussion at the USDA office in Davis, Calif.

“We are very pleased to work with farmers, ranchers and others who are naturally stewards of our air, land, and water,” said Pacific Southwest Regional Administrator Mike Stoker. “Through our Smart Sectors dialogue, we can better understand the issues and challenges faced by farmers and ranchers and work together for the benefit of all.”

“Today’s launch builds on the success of our national Smart Sectors program,” said EPA Associate Administrator for Policy Brittany Bolen. “We’re excited to expand the program in Region 9, marking the fourth regional program to focus on the agriculture community, while EPA continues to improve regulatory certainty for this and other sectors.”

“I appreciate the time EPA is taking to bring people together to think about common-sense approaches to environmental regulation,” said Paul Wenger of Wenger Ranch.

“This kind of dialogue is something that is long overdue between working groups and EPA,” said Paco Ollerton of Tierra Verde Farms.

“We appreciate being included an any discussion with EPA. As fourth and fifth generation farmers we can’t do it alone, and we can’t be overregulated,” said Dierdre Lefty of Auburn Ravine Ranch.

In the Pacific Southwest, EPA initially began with a focus on the oil and gas sector in April of this year and plans to expand to other sectors in addition to agriculture in coming months. Nationally, Smart Sectors engages with 13 sectors of the economy. EPA focuses on best practices, convening workshops to facilitate communication, raising public awareness and information sharing, and enhancing knowledge of federal environmental programs.

Background

A sector-based approach can provide benefits such as increased long-term certainty and predictability, creative solutions based on sound data, and more sensible policies to improve environmental protection. Staff conduct educational site visits, host roundtables with EPA leadership, analyze data and advise about options for environmental improvement, and maintain open dialogue with business partners and their environmental committees.

Announced nationally in October 2017 and since launched in four regions of the country – EPA Regions 1: New England; 2: New York, New Jersey, and the Caribbean; 8: Mountains and Plains; and 9: Pacific Southwest – the Smart Sectors program provides a platform to collaborate with regulated sectors and develop sensible approaches that better protect the environment and public health.

Additionally, the program is releasing a series of interactive sector snapshots that provide historical environmental and economic data for industries participating in the program. Each snapshot is designed to help the general public, EPA, and sector partners gain a common understanding of sector performance to inform environmental improvement strategies going forward.

More information about EPA’s Smart Sectors program: https://www.epa.gov/smartsectors

More information about the sector snapshots: https://www.epa.gov/smartsectors/sector-snapshots