A Browner Shade of Green

Article excerpt

Outlining the Clinton Administration's environmental agenda for the next four years, Carol Browner told a Senate committee that pollution prevention, market incentives, and development of new technologies will be her top priorities at EPA.

Testifying before the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works during her confirmation hearing on Jan. 11, Browner told the senators that she wants to be "open and inclusive." She added: "EPA should spend more time listening to the particular concerns of businesses and communities affected by environmental problems."

The secretary of Florida's Dept. of Environmental Regulation (DER) since 1991, Browner earned a reputation as a tough negotiator, hands-on administrator, and progressive thinker. And while she is a self-proclaimed environmentalist, she told the Senate committee that her record in Florida has been one of inclusion. She said her policies were never "driven or dictated by alarmists."

Nancy Stephens, executive director, Florida Chemical Industry Council, concurred. She said her experience with Browner was positive and predicted that industry groups will find Browner a tough, but fair administrator.

While at DER, said Stephens, Browner worked to reduce the paper-work burden on industry and sought to implement market-based regulations.

Browner pointed out that while negotiating the Florida Clean Air Act, she was able to obtain approval from EPA to implement the federal clean air program, thus allowing businesses to deal with state regulators directly, instead of federal officials, and eliminating a layer of bureaucracy. The Florida CAA also contains market incentives such as a utility allowance trading system similar to the one in the CAA.

Additionally, the Florida act established a Small Business Technical Assistance Program to assist small business. Browner testified that she will bring the same willingness to work with industry to the federal government.

Speaking on behalf of Browner's nomination, Florida Gov. Lawton Chiles said Browner "pioneered a new brand of environmentalism, one that envisions environmental protection and economic development as compatible goals." It was her progressive thinking, he said, which settled one of the nation's largest lawsuits. …