Columbus, Ohio Launches Environmental Science Advisory Committee

Article excerpt

In an effort to deal responsibly with the increasing costs of federal environmental mandates, Columbus, Ohio Mayor Gregory Lashutka has initiated the formation of his city's Environmental Science Advisory Committee.

The committee was created in response to a report recently-completed by representatives of Columbus and eight other cities which identifies future environmental expenditures that will be required of some of Ohio's major metropolitan areas.

The committee compiled and submitted data which identified $2,855,409,587 in federal and state environmental compliance costs that will be incurred from 1992 to 2001. If these costs are inflated at an annual rate of four percent, the cumulative total would increase to $3,284,927,345, and at seven percent annual inflation, would be appromimately $3,667,283,888.

The cumulative cost per household for the ten-year period was estimated as high as $3,375 for Columbus citizens for full compliance with all 14 mandates covered by the report. The average cost for the nine Ohio cities was $2,136 per household for the ten-year period.

These costs represent expenditures in 1992 dollars and have not been adjusted for inflation. They reflect compliance with some or all of the 14 specific environmental regulations so, in actuality, the total cost for environmental compliance is significantly understated.

The committee recommended specific actions be taken regarding implementation of new environmental mandates on communities. They are: * environmental legislation and resulting regulation be formulated on a well-founded, peer-review science base; * local governments be able to prioritize their resources to achieve the best utilization of local tax dollar expenditures for achieving the greatest environmental risk reduction; * allow flexibility in environmental legislation for consideration of local environmental conditions and this flexibility should be incorporated as a matter of procedure into the federal and state environmental regulatory process; and * local governments be afforded the opportunity for fuller participation in the federal and state environmental legislative and regulatory process.

ESAC will be responsible for providing independent scientific and engineering advice to the mayor, city council, Environmental Mandate Review Committee and Board of Health. …