Technical and Policy Challenges in Developing and Implementing Risk-Based Environmental Regulations
The reform in environmental regulations being considered at both federal and state levels is intended to enhance the value and effectiveness of a rule by incorporating risk assessment and cost benefit analysis in the rule making process or regulatory implementation. Although a risk based approach may not provide a panacea to all environmental problem solving, it offers some obvious advantages over the status quo. In particular, it establishes a scientifically defensible basis for evaluating the trade off between risks, costs and benefits in making prudent environmental decisions and developing effective regulatory policies. This paper presents a conceptual framework for risk reduction, summarizes the current status in risk-based legislation at the federal level, provides examples of how various states are using risk based approaches in their regulatory programs, addresses aspects of technical and policy challenges in rule making and other policy and enforcement decisions and provides suggestions for meeting these challenges.
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