EPA on Oct. 3 announced the launch of Smart Sectors, which the agency calls “a sector-based, collaborative approach” that allows for “more forward-thinking ways” to protect the environment.
“When we consider American business as a partner, as opposed to an adversary, we can achieve better environmental outcomes,” said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. “The Smart Sectors program is designed to effectively engage business partners throughout the regulatory process. The previous administration created a narrative that you can’t be pro-business and pro-environment. This program is one of the many ways we can address that false choice and work together to protect the environment. When industries and regulators better understand each other, the economy, public, and the environment all benefit.”
The agency claims 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. Program leads for each sector will serve as ombudsmen within the agency across program and regional offices. The program leads also will conduct educational site tours, host roundtables with EPA leadership, analyze data and advise about options for environmental improvement; maintain open dialogue with business partners and their environmental committees; and develop reports that profile the impact of each sector on the environment and the economy.
Smart Sectors aims to facilitate better communication and streamline operations internally at EPA. The program is located in the Office of Policy’s Immediate Office, which enables the sector leads to work across EPA’s land, water, air and chemical program offices, as well as with environmental justice, enforcement and compliance assistance and other offices, including EPA regional offices.
View the Smart Sectors Federal Register Notice.
EPA's Associate Administrator for the Office of Policy, Samantha Dravis; and EPA’s Chief of Operations, Henry Darwin, announced the launch at EPA Headquarters on Oct. 3. Both Dravis and Darwin are new to the agency. Dravis previously served in a senior role with the Republican Attorneys General Association and its Rule of Law Defense Fund, groups that fought alongside Pruitt against the Obama Administration’s Clean Power Plan. Darwin ran the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality from 2011 to 2015 and served as interim director of the state’s Department of Economic Security from November through May. Dravis and Darwin were joined by industry representatives who, not surprisingly, support less regulation and enforcement and more collaboration.
What Industry Reps Have To Say
“The auto industry is living through what may be its most dynamic moment in history,” said Mitch Bainwol, president and CEO of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers. “Our technology is transforming the driving experience and mobility models, offering more fuel efficient and safer transportation for all. We are breaking ground on new plants and expanding existing plants to build the most innovative vehicles in the world. And as we innovate and produce, we are a vital – if not the vital – catalyst for the American economy, providing millions of jobs from coast to coast building, selling and servicing the vehicles that animate our economy. The Smart Sectors Program benefits us all by providing an open and transparent dialogue on policy that is predicated on solid facts and meaningful data. Protecting the environment while supporting economic growth – these twin goals are paramount, mutually supportive, and enabled by thoughtful collaboration between government and business.”
“The Smart Sectors Program shows it’s a new day at EPA, and that’s good news for the environment and the economy,” said Michael D. Bellaman, president and CEO of Associated Builders and Contractors. “The nation’s construction industry welcomes the opportunity to collaborate with regulators to ensure that environmental protection is streamlined and cost effective. That’s the way government can help industry be more productive, create more jobs and grow the economy.”
“Manufacturers are committed to protecting the environment and the communities we serve, and we appreciate the efforts of Administrator Pruitt to work with us to jointly address current and future environmental challenges,” said Ross Eisenberg, vice president of energy and resources policy at the National Association of Manufacturers. “Smarter, modernized regulations are an essential ingredient in supporting manufacturing job growth here in America, so we are excited that the EPA is ringing in this year's Manufacturing Day – when we focus on building the next generation of modern manufacturing workers – with a new EPA Smart Sectors Program. This will hopefully yield better, smarter regulations that achieve their environmental goals while empowering manufacturers to be more competitive and create more well-paying jobs in America.”
“We are very pleased that the steel industry can be a part of the Smart Sectors Program, and appreciate the work of Administrator Pruitt and his team to partner with industry to develop a more sensible regulatory framework that better protects human health and the environment,” said Thomas J. Gibson, president and CEO of American Iron and Steel Institute.
“The oil and natural gas industry is a major economic engine supporting 10.3 million jobs, is leading the world in the production and refining of oil and natural gas, and is a world leader in reducing carbon emissions from energy use which today are near 25-year lows,” said Kyle Isakower, American Petroleum Institute vice president for regulatory and economic policy. “We welcome this new partnership and look forward to working with the agency on this program to ensure that industry is doing all it can to protect the environment and support economic growth.”
“Community-owned, not-for-profit electric utilities exist to safely provide reliable, low-cost electricity to more than 49 million Americans, while protecting the environment,” said Sue Kelly, American Public Power Association president and CEO. “We very much appreciate the EPA’s invitation to participate in the Smart Sectors Program, and look forward to a productive dialogue.”
“We welcome the opportunity to explain how long-term, capital-intensive operations like ours – which require regulatory predictability – can be carefully aligned with important agency objectives for ensuring health and environmental protection,” said Hal Quinn, president and CEO of the National Mining Association. “Regulatory policies will be more effective when they are informed by actual conditions in regulated sectors.”
“Forest Resources Association serves the whole supply chain from the woods to the mill,” said Ryan Rhodes, director of public relations and government affairs. “The forest products supply chain supports 2.4 million jobs and is dedicated to the sustainability of forest land through conservation and best practices. We look forward to working together to promote a smarter regulatory outcome, which promotes both jobs and environmental stewardship.”
“Finding a way to combine a deep knowledge of how to protect the environment with an understanding of how construction firms operate is the most effective way to craft programs and policies that deliver significant environmental protections to commercial construction sites,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, the chief executive officer of the Associated General Contractors of America. “The administrator clearly understands that firms will be able to do more to protect the environment if the regulations they must follow are crafted with an understanding of how employers operate.”
“ACC appreciates Administrator Pruitt’s actions to foster a more productive relationship between our industry and the agency through the Smart Sectors Program, which will help support economic growth in ways that protect our environment,” said Michael Walls, vice president of regulatory and technical affairs for the American Chemistry Council. “This program is an opportunity to have a more open and constructive dialogue about how the chemistry industry can continue to fuel the economy through innovation while working with EPA to make American businesses, homes and consumer products more efficient, environmentally friendly and sustainable.”
“America's aerospace and defense industry takes its long-held role as a leader in environmental stewardship seriously,” said David F. Melcher, Aerospace Industries Association president and CEO. “We strongly support the EPA's approach of partnering with industry on environmental policy and look forward to working with the administration to achieve our mutual environmental goals.”
“EEI’s member companies have a strong record of environmental stewardship,” said Phil Moeller, Edison Electric Institute executive vice president of business operations and regulatory affairs. “We appreciate the opportunity to participate in the Smart Sectors Program, which will enhance the process for developing and complying with regulations and will improve the efficiency of the permitting and siting processes that are pivotal to building smarter energy infrastructure. As this initiative launches, we look forward to participating in future discussions.”
“The real estate industry’s leaders are committed to sustainable building management and construction practices that tie directly to their business mission,” said Jeffrey D. DeBoer, president and CEO of the Real Estate Roundtable. “We look forward to participating in EPA’s Smart Sectors Program to share our industry’s perspectives on how responsible, measurable environmental stewardship can help create jobs, strengthen our economy, spur innovation and enhance lasting value for our communities.”
“Modern agriculture is environmentally sustainable,” said Zippy Duvall, American Farm Bureau Federation president. “From satellite technology and data management to the use of cover crops, farmers and ranchers continue to adopt innovations that are effective in helping them grow more food with fewer resources. That’s good for the environment and good for business. EPA’s Smart Sectors Program provides a framework of welcome collaboration that embraces continued innovation aligned with our commitment to continuous improvement.”
“The American Wood Council supports a smarter, more sensible and cost-effective regulatory process, such as the approach taken by EPA’s Smart Sectors Program,” said Robert Glowinski, president and CEO of the American Wood Council. “AWC represents more than 75 percent of the North American wood products industry, which provides approximately 400,000 men and women with family-wage jobs in the United States. AWC members make wood products that are essential to everyday life from a renewable resource that absorbs and sequesters carbon.”
“We’re grateful Administrator Pruitt invited the American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) to participate in this Smart Sectors Program,” said Brian Jennings, ACE executive vice president. “The biofuels industry is essential to growing the rural economy and protecting the environment.”
“America’s cement manufacturers have a strong track record of finding creative ways to reduce their environmental footprint while producing the high-quality material our economy needs for building everything from homes to highways and hospitals,” said Todd Johnston, Portland Cement Association executive vice president. “We look forward to working with EPA and the administration to protect health and the environment while reducing unnecessary regulatory burdens that undermine economic growth.”
“The paper and wood products industry faces enormous challenges from costly, complex and vast amounts of regulations that hurt our ability to contribute to economic growth and job creation,” said Mark Kowlzan, chairman and CEO, Packaging Corp. of America and immediate past chairman of the American Forest & Paper Association Board of Directors. “We’re pleased to participate in the Smart Sectors Program to achieve common-sense regulatory approaches that protect the environment and allow industry to compete at home and around the globe.”
“We are thrilled to be part of the EPA’s launch of its Smart Sectors Program and are proud to represent an industry that’s always first in line when it comes to partnering with EPA to improve its processes and benefits,” said John McKnight, senior vice president of government relations for the National Marine Manufacturers Association. “The recreational boating industry is unique in that while the EPA, the state of California, and many international environmental government agencies place stringent environmental requirements on our products, our customers – the 142 million Americans who went boating last year – also demand and expect clean water and a healthy environment in which to fish, swim and enjoy watersports. As a treasured American pastime with 95 percent of the boats sold in the United States, made in the United States and with an estimated 35,000 marine-related businesses, which provide approximately 650,000 jobs and an estimated $121 billion in economic impact, the recreational boating industry is one of our country’s driving economic engines that is eager to continue meaningful collaboration with the EPA.”
“Seaports are vital economic engines and create American jobs,” said Kurt Nagle, American Association of Port Authorities president and CEO. “Seaport cargo activity accounts for over a quarter of the U.S. economy, supports the employment of more than 23 million people in the United States, and generates over $320 billion in tax revenue annually. AAPA is excited to partner with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on the Smart Sectors Program. Improved communication between industry and EPA can streamline processes for all parties, achieving better environmental results and clearer goals and outcomes. The U.S. port industry looks forward to being part of an ongoing dialogue with EPA that furthers ports’ commitment to their roles as stewards of coastal resources.”
“The Smart Sectors Program holds great promise to enable the technology industry to drive environmental protection and economic growth,” said Gary Shapiro, Consumer Technology Association president and CEO. “Improved dialogue and collaboration between industry and the EPA at the earliest stages will ideally lead to fewer onerous rules that handcuff innovation and job creation. Working together, we can unleash our nation’s tech sector to help improve environmental performance and increase sustainability across multiple industries.”
“CropLife America is excited to collaborate with EPA and other stakeholders to ensure agriculture-related regulations allow the U.S. food system to advance as well as feed the rising population,” said Jay Vroom, president and CEO of CropLife America. “Additionally, we believe that through the Smart Sectors Program and developing productive relationships with the agency and industry partners, we can successfully create the best approach to supporting both economic growth and advance innovation in agriculture, while protecting the environment.”