EPA Reaffirms Commitment to Partnering with States on Environmental Protection
Published March 22, 2021
In one of his first public appearances as the Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Michael S. Regan reaffirmed the Agency’s commitment to working in partnership with the states to protect public health and the environment.
“The strength of the federal-state relationship will determine whether we rise to meet the challenges of today and those that lie ahead. EPA is committed to building on the values of transparency, respect, and an open dialogue that are the cornerstone of a successful federal-state partnership,” said Administrator Regan during remarks to the Environmental Council of the States (ECOS).
The event marked the start of cooperative work with the new EPA leadership, highlighted by the extension of a formal Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) reaffirming a partnership between EPA, ECOS, and the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) to advance cooperative initiatives in pursuit of environmental health.
“This agreement will help ensure that we remain closely coordinated at a time when robust partnership is vital to supporting our underserved communities, protecting Americans from environmental hazard and harm, and developing solutions to our most pressing challenges. The partnership we reaffirm today serves as a model for how to get things done,” Administrator Regan continued.
During the past five years, the MOA has served as a catalyst for , strategically design projects aimed directly at those challenges, and deliver the tools, models, and other research results that state environmental and health agencies need to reduce risks and improve public health. The collaborative projects between EPA, ECOS and ASTHO have targeted a wide range of important subjects, including COVID-19, PFAS, harmful algal blooms (HABs), and wildfire smoke.
Here are a few examples of work the partners have collaborated on:
COVID in Wastewater Issue Brief
In 2020, ECOS and ASTHO created an issue brief summarizing activities and results in three states to introduce the use of SARS-CoV-2 monitoring in wastewater as an early warning system for increased infections in communities.
PFAS Risk Communication Hub
In 2019, ECOS and ASTHO compiled existing tools, materials, and strategies for a per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) Risk Communication Hub containing guidance materials for risk communication (toolkits, fact sheets, templates) and a collection of state and federal resources.
Case Studies on State-Level Risk Communication of PFAS and Harmful Algal Blooms
In 2018, ECOS and ASTHO interviewed environmental and health agency staff about risk communication strategies and lesson learned for PFAS and harmful algal blooms (HABs).
- ECOS - Case Studies on State-Level Risk Communication of PFAS and HABs
- ASTHO - Risk Communication and Waterborne Contaminants
Wildfire Smoke: A Guide for Public Health Officials
The Wildfire Smoke Guide provides states and local communities information to prepare for smoke events and, when wildfire smoke is present, information to communicate health risks and take measures to protect the public. ECOS and ASTHO “test drove” the guide from 2016 to 2017 and used their experience to provide feedback to EPA for the 2019 updated Guide.
For more details on each of these projects, read the EPA-ECOS-ASTHO Annual Accomplishment Reports.
EPA’s interactive Story Map compiles support stories to illustrate the success of partnerships with state environmental agencies and public health departments. These stories provide examples of how states, tribes, and communities are using Agency research results, decision support tools, and technical solutions to address a wide variety of environmental challenges.
Through these partnerships, EPA’s mission to protect human health and the environment can be more readily achieved and stretch across every state in the country.