By Carolyn Berndt
Recently, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency appointed new members to the Local Government Advisory Committee (LGAC). Representing NLC are Cindy Circo, Mayor Pro Tem, Kansas City, MO and David Richins, Councilmember, Mesa, AZ. NLC Second Vice President Ralph Becker, Mayor, Salt Lake City, UT was also appointed to the Committee. Newly appointed LGAC members will serve a two year term.
The LGAC is officially chartered under the Federal Advisory Committee Act to provide advice that assists EPA in developing a stronger partnership with local governments and building state and local capacity to deliver environmental services and programs.
The committee consists of 28 locally elected and appointed officials, such as mayors, county executives, city managers, commissioners, and others that represent the key interests of local governments.
"I look forward to sharing our experiences here in Kansas City with the EPA's Local Advisory Committee. I hope to work with the EPA to help create solutions that protect and enhance our environment while respecting the economic realities that local governments are facing today," said Circo.
"The arid environment of Arizona has unique issues when it comes to dust, air quality and water. Serving on the EPA LGAC will give me an opportunity to bring those issues to Washington, DC and help find pragmatic solutions that work for our environment and economy," said Richins.
The committee provides recommendations to the EPA Administrator on a broad range of topics, including regulatory innovation and reform, environmental protection tools, pollution prevention, new technologies, performance measurement, and appropriate roles of the various governmental levels in efficient and coordinated environmental management.
"Environmental protection is critical to maintaining a high quality of life in our communities. I appreciate the Environmental Protection Agency making local governments part of their decision making policies and priorities," said Becker.
The LGAC crafts its advice through the help of five workgroups and one subcommittee:
Air, Climate and Energy Workgroup: Focuses on improving air quality, taking action on climate change, and promoting clean, renewable energy sources.
Cleaning up Our Communities Workgroup: Focuses on environmental programs and issues, such as Superfund, Brownfields, waste management, and chemicals in our communities.
Expanding the Conversation (Environmental Justice) Workgroup: Focuses on ensuring that all communities have equal access to environmental programs and technology and have a significant voice in the formulation of national environmental policies impacting them.
Gulf Coast Restoration Workgroup: Established following the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill as a way to ensure that local governments have an opportunity to provide meaningful input as EPA and the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Task Force plan ways to restore the environmental, economic, and cultural health of the Gulf Coast region.
Protecting America's Waters Workgroup: Focuses on ways that communities and EPA can ensure the nation has adequate, safe water resources to support a healthy population and vibrant economy.
Small Communities Advisory Subcommittee: Seeks to inform and advise EPA on how environmental regulations impact small communities; the disproportionate costs of providing environmental protection and services in small communities; the need for flexible regulatory and non‐regulatory approaches to environmental protection in small communities; and the importance of providing a range of technical assistance and professional services to small communities through EPA, states, and third party providers.