Budget battle may clip EPA's wings

Regulatory reformers are using the budget process to curb the powers of federal regulatory agencies, often by denying funding for specific programs. Uncertainty reigns at Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), as it waits to see how Congress handles its appropriations.

For example, lack of funding may affect EPA's Common Sense Initiative, a from-the-ground-up attempt to refashion the way regulations are made and implemented. The idea is to regulate by industry, not by category of pollutant. A benefit to this initiative is that EPA receives input from industry while paying more attention to the cumulative effect on an industry of the regulations imposed by the various regulatory agencies. As an example, an FPA representative is serving on a task force focusing on the printing industry to look at how regulatory decisions impact packaging. EPA's Design for the Environment is another initiative whose funding remains up in the air. It involves the examination of various technologies to try to come up with methods to prevent pollution. The Food and Drug Ad- ministration (FDA) recommended that EPA study radiation cured ink technology used in flexographic printing. FPA has been working with EPA on this project. While major programs threatened by funding battles get most of the headlines, these programs that more closely affect packagers and the converting industry may also be affected. The Senate is expected to moderate the House's attempt to seriously curtail EPA activities related to the Clean Water Act and the Clean Air Act.

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