Mike Leavitt on Environment

Director of the E.P.A.; former Republican UT Governor


Cap-and-trade for air pollution, as worked for acid rain

With problems such as transported air pollution, the only tool available to some regions is to sue their neighboring states. We need to take the giant step toward national market-based solutions; to do that we need only look to our own experience. The cap and trade strategy was key to the breakthrough against acid rain. It is central to [the proposed legislation] Clear Skies. People do more and they do it faster when they have an incentive to do what’s in the public’s interest.
Source: Introductory Address as EPA Administrator , Dec 2, 2003

Applies Enlibra principles of moving toward balance to EPA

I want to give you a clear view of my plans, expectations and aspirations [as the new EPA administrator]. You’ve all seen the debate reduced to bumper stickers. Two I saw: “Earth First! We’ll Mine the Other Planets Later.” And the other: “Save the Earth Kill Yourself.” Something tells me the American people are somewhere in between. The productive center is the place where the best ideas compete and a fair process for decision-making exists. It is a target between those bumper stickers.

I subscribe to an environmental philosophy called Enlibra. It’s a Latin derivative meaning “to move toward balance.” Former Governor John Kitzhaber, a Democrat from Oregon, and I coined the word after struggling to solve dozens of complex environmental i

Source: Introductory Address as EPA Administrator , Dec 2, 2003

500-day plans with 5,000 day horizons

A brief summary of my management style: I enjoy solving problems. I am guided by selected long-term goals. I then rely on a 500-day plan to create a timetable of short term actions that move toward achievement of the long-term goal. It’s a 500-day plan with a 5,000-day horizon. Every 200 days I re-evaluate progress and make necessary adjustments. It’s a dynamic plan. If we find a better way, we adopt it.

We will release the 500-day plan for air quality soon. In the next few weeks we will do the same for other strategic goals of the Agency. The 500-day plan will answer many of the questions I’ve been asked recently.

Source: Introductory Address as EPA Administrator , Dec 2, 2003

Developed the Enlibra principles of environmental protection

Enlibra is the name of a set of principles for protecting air, land and water. Governors Mike Leavitt (R, UT) and John Kitzhaber (D, OR) took the lead in developing this agreed-upon policy of the Western Governors’ Association.
    Enlibra Principles
  1. National Standards, Neighborhood Solutions-Assign Responsibilities at the Right Level
  2. Collaboration, Not Polarization-Use Collaborative Processes to Break Down Barriers and Find Solutions
  3. Reward Results, Not Programs-Move to a Performance-Based System
  4. Science For Facts, Process for Priorities-Separate Subjective Choices from Objective Data Gathering
  5. Markets Before Mandates-Pursue Economic Incentives Whenever Appropriate
  6. Change A Heart, Change A Nation-Environmental Understanding is Crucial
  7. Recognition of Benefits and Costs-Make Sure All Decisions Affecting Infrastructure, Development and Environment are Fully Informed
  8. Solutions Transcend Political Boundaries-Use Appropriate Geographic Boundaries for Environmental Problems
Source: Western Governor’s Association website, www.westgov.org , Jun 25, 2002

Spruce up, clean up and keep up our state parks

In a world where most jobs can be located anywhere, now, more than ever, preserving our quality of life is an economic imperative. The natural beauty of Utah and opportunities for recreation are a major draw. For this reason I ask you to join me in a major drive to spruce up, clean up and keep up our state parks and monuments. These are our heritage.
Source: 2001 State of the State address to the Utah legislature , Jan 16, 2001

Heritage Waters: 1% of all rivers for recreational fishing

I propose a new initiative to devote one percent of our streams and rivers to truly great fly fishing. By dedicating these waters to quality catch-and- release fisheries, and by devoting the revenue they generate to improving streams and habitat, we can create a system of Heritage Waters that will not only preserve a wonderful part of our culture and recreation, but it will be an economic boon for the areas in which these waters reside.
Source: 2001 State of the State address to the Utah legislature , Jan 16, 2001

More state autonomy on brownfields & Superfund cleanups.

Leavitt adopted the National Governors Association position paper:

The Issue

The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980 (CERCLA), otherwise known as Superfund, was created to clean up the worst hazardous waste sites across the country and to recoup expenses from responsible parties. Since the law was enacted in 1980, the Superfund program has caused significant amounts of litigation, while cleanup of hazardous waste sites has not been as fast or effective as the statute envisioned. In addition, states have not had the necessary tools or funding from the federal government to adequately clean up state sites. “Brownfields” sites—abandoned or undeveloped non-Superfund industrial or commercial sites under state jurisdiction—have gained increasing attention from Congress in recent years as passage of a comprehensive Superfund package has become increasingly unlikely.

NGA’s Position

NGA supports the reauthorization of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980. NGA policy calls for more opportunities for states to take authority for cleanup of National Priorities List (NPL) sites, increased autonomy and funding over brownfield sites, and the concurrence of a Governor before a site can be listed on the NPL.
Source: National Governors Association "Issues / Positions" 01-NGA15 on Aug 1, 2001

Support State Revolving Loan Fund for flexible Clean Water.

Leavitt adopted the National Governors Association position paper:

The Issue

The Clean Water Act (CWA) has not been reauthorized since 1987. At that time, provisions were added to address nonpoint source pollution, pollution from diffuse sources such as runoff of fertilizers and pesticides, stormwater runoff, and sediment. Governors and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) disagree on the best approach to addressing the problem of nonpoint source pollution.

NGA’s Position

NGA supports the reauthorization of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act of 1972 (the Clean Water Act). The Governors support an increased focus on watershed management planning, including funding for the State Revolving Loan Fund (SRF) and nonpoint source pollution programs. States should have the flexibility to develop plans for attaining federally approved water quality standards in impaired waters - in consultation with local government officials and stakeholders - and to allocate responsibility for cleanup among contributors. The TMDL regulations should be revised, by legislation if necessary, to give states adequate flexibility, funding, and time to address impaired waters.
Source: National Governors Association "Issues / Positions" 01-NGA9 on Aug 1, 2001

Focus on prevention and states for Endangered Species.

Leavitt signed the Western Governors' Association resolution:

  1. Preventative conservation on both public and private lands is essential. Western states are actively developing conservation plans to restore declining species before they need the protections of the Endangered Species Act [ESA]. Most declining species can be restored to health only through a federal-state partnership that involves private landowners and interested parties.
  2. The purposes of the ESA are undermined if the Act must be so narrowly interpreted that, in order to defend its application against legal challenge, the very species the Act was enacted to protect are disadvantaged. [For example], the decision in Oregon Natural Resources Council v. Daley, holds that the requirement under the ESA for federal agencies to consider state conservation plans means almost nothing. If decisions like the one in Oregon stands, the Western Governors believe there is a problem with the Act itself requiring amendment or regulatory clarification.
  3. In addition, the Governors have long supported the reauthorization of the ESA based on three goals: to increase the role of states, to streamline the ESA, and to increase certainty and technical assistance for landowners and water users. And the governors call for the ESA to have the recovery of species as its central focus.
  4. The Western Governors believe that the courts, and the Congress, when writing the reauthorization of the ESA, should reaffirm the Secretary’s ability to defer the listing of a species when the actions of a state conservation agreement eliminates the need to list a species. The courts and Congress should also clarify that voluntary actions that the Secretary finds will help restore a declining species and which have performance standards, implementation plans, and monitoring and reporting provisions, and are properly financed, are valid conservation tools.
Source: WGA Policy Resolution 01 - 11: Endangered Species Act 01-WGA11 on Aug 14, 2001

Collaborative, incentive driven, locally-based solutions.

Leavitt signed the Western Governors' Association resolution:

  1. Water quality restoration is essential for economic and environmental sustainability of forestry, agriculture, fisheries, manufacturing, recreation and public water supply.
  2. The Western Governors favor collaborative, incentive driven, locally based solutions to environmental and natural resource problems such as water quality restoration.
  3. Implementing these water management principles can be expensive and beyond the ability of some states to fund. However, the benefits of managing the resource in this manner are significant. Therefore, the Western Governors encourage federal agencies to look for opportunities to use existing authority to provide funding, flexibility in funding, and/or shared or loaned personnel to states to help them address specific watershed problems.
    Source: WGA Policy Resolution 01 - 12: Watershed Partnerships 01-WGA12 on Aug 14, 2001

    Apply "Good Samaritan" rules to abandoned mine cleanup.

    Leavitt signed the Western Governors' Association resolution:

      Good Samaritan
    1. The Western Governors believe that there is a need to eliminate disincentives, and establish incentives, to voluntary, cooperative efforts aimed at improving and protecting water quality impacted by abandoned or inactive mines.
    2. The Western Governors believe the Clean Water Act should be amended to protect a remediating agency from becoming legally responsible for any continuing discharges from the abandoned mine site after completion of a cleanup project, provided that the remediating agency -- or "Good Samaritan"-- does not otherwise have liability for that abandoned or inactive mine site and attempts to improve the conditions at the site.
    3. The Western Governors believe that Congress, as a priority, should amend the Clean Water Act in a manner that accomplishes the goals embodied in the WGA legislative package on Good Samaritan cleanups. S.1787 from the 106 th Congress is a good starting point for future congressional deliberations.

      Cleanup and Funding
    4. The Governors encourage federal land management agencies to coordinate their abandoned mine efforts with state efforts to avoid redundancy and unnecessary duplication.
    5. Reliable sources of funds that do not divert from other important Clean Water programs should be identified and made available for the cleanup of hardrock abandoned mines in the West.
    6. The Western Governors continue to urge the Administration and Congress to promptly distribute to states abandoned coal mine land funds in the Abandoned Mine Reclamation Trust Fund , including accumulated interest, collected under Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977 (see WGA Policy Resolution 00-012).
    Source: WGA Policy Resolution 01 - 15: Cleaning Up Abandoned Mines 01-WGA15 on Aug 14, 2001

    State primacy over water quantity & quality issues.

    Leavitt signed the Western Governors' Association resolution:

    1. The states should retain primary jurisdiction over water quantity issues -- specifically water resource allocation and the determination of beneficial uses.
    2. Control of pollutants from stormwater needs to be addressed with application of Best Management Practices. The Clean Water Act (CWA) should allow flexibility in both water quality criteria and beneficial use designations for receiving waters. Stormwater discharges to dry streams in arid regions pose substantially lower environmental risks than do the same discharges to perennial surface waters.
    3. CWA reauthorization must take into account the environment in the arid West. Specifically, the CWA should recognize and Congress should provide adequate resources for the development of water quality criteria for non-perennial and effluent dependent streams.
    4. The CWA reauthorization should include two new statements of purpose:
      (A) To recognize the need to establish water quality criteria for the wide variety of ecosystems that exist in the U.S.
      (B) To allow states to encourage the reuse of treated wastewater, as a component of water quality control.
    5. The CWA should allow states flexibility in the designation of beneficial uses and establishment of criteria for certain waters, such as non-perennial and effluent dependent streams and man made water transportation canals.
    6. Non-point source funding should enable states to balance program elements and focus, as needed, on technology development and transfer, monitoring, assessment, etc. Federal agency activities should also be required to comply with state non-point source management plans.
    7. The Governors endorse the authorization of a regional water quality research project to design and develop water quality standards appropriate to unique conditions in the western states.
    Source: WGA Policy Resolution 01 - 16: Clean Water Act 01-WGA16 on Aug 14, 2001

    Maintain joint EPA-state authority over nuclear waste.

    Leavitt adopted a letter to Senate leaders from 4 Governors:

    On behalf of the nation’s Governors we write in opposition to provisions contained in the Nuclear Waste Policy Amendments Act of 1999. Specifically, we object to Section 103, which removes authority from the EPA to set radiation protection standards at the proposed high-level nuclear waste storage facility. Section 103 is in direct conflict with NGA’s Policy NR-8,Environmental Compliance at Federal Facilities, which was unanimously reaffirmed at the Governors’ annual meeting in August. NGA policy NR-8 is based on the premise that

    The problems of environmental cleanup and compliance at federal facilities are deep-rooted. Contamination and environmental degradation are the result of years of mismanagement and neglect. They reflect noncompliance with federal policies, unclear or inadequate laws and regulations, institutional attitudes that devalue environmental concerns, and the reluctance of federal agencies to work with federal and state regulators.
    NGA policy NR-8 recommends that
    Congress should amend applicable federal laws to ensure that all wastes, including radioactive wastes and munitions, are within the purview of state and EPA authorities. Efforts should be made to coordinate all federal requirements. In addition, Congress should require that all quasi-federal sovereign businesses and corporations meet the same environmental compliance standards as other federal agencies.
    Section 103 removes EPA authority to set radiation standards at the proposed high-level nuclear waste storage facility and is contrary to the NGA policy recommendation that both EPA and states should have authority over radioactive wastes. It is a disturbing precedent that could lead to further dilution of state and EPA authority to set environmental standards at federal facilities and coordinate eventual clean-up activities in all 50 states.
    Source: National Governor's Association letter to Congress 99-NGA22 on Oct 21, 1999

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