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EPA joins Virginia in new environmental partnership

Release Date: 6/5/2003
Contact Information: Roy Seneca 215-814-5567

Contact: Roy Seneca (215) 814-5567
PHILADELPHIA – A landmark environmental partnership signed today will benefit human health, natural resources and the environment throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Officials from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Virginia signed the performance partnership agreement that sets guidelines on how the agencies will work together to foster environmental progress. This is the first time EPA and Virginia have signed such an agreement.

“With this historic partnership agreement, EPA and the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality will cooperatively focus our resources to better protect human health and the environment throughout the Commonwealth,” said Donald S. Welsh, regional administrator for EPA’s mid-Atlantic region.

W. Tayloe Murphy Jr., Virginia secretary of natural resources, praised the agreement, calling it “a positive step forward in identifying new approaches to protecting our natural resources. Together, Virginia and EPA can take advantage of the knowledge and experience this partnership offers to address a variety of environmental issues.”

EPA supports the National Environmental Performance Partnership System (NEPPS), which encourages partnerships between states and EPA. The concept puts a state’s environmental goals in a workable and understandable framework that gives states a stronger role in setting priorities.
Under the agreement, EPA and DEQ have targeted priorities that will include:

• Developing a statewide water supply plan by December 2003 to reduce human health impacts from water sources that could be contaminated by industrial sources or faulty septic systems.
Working with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to explore alternative ways to manage storm water while better protecting wetlands and streams.

• Identifying strategies for voluntary environmental improvements like reducing ozone smog, improving impaired waters, and redeveloping brownfields.
• Restoring the environmental health of the Elizabeth River in the southeastern part of the state through pollution prevention and storm water management.
• Updating computer systems to support online receiving and processing of certain environmental data.
• Identifying opportunities to address Department of Defense/military issues related to pollution.

Under the agreement, EPA and DEQ representatives will communicate regularly and meet quarterly to discuss the progress of various activities.