First Regular Session

Sixty-second General Assembly

LLS NO. R99­0690.01 Pam Cybyske



also SENATOR Chlouber.




WHEREAS, Protection of public health and the environment are among the highest priorities of government that requires a united and uniform effort at all levels of government; and

WHEREAS, The United States Congress has enacted environmental laws to ensure the protection of the nation's environment and consequently the health of the citizens of the United States; and

WHEREAS, These federal environmental laws often provide for the primacy of their administration and enforcement to be delegated to the individual states; and

WHEREAS, The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is responsible for the administration and enforcement of these federal environmental laws; and

WHEREAS, States that have been delegated primacy have demonstrated to the EPA that they have adopted laws, regulations, and policies at least as stringent as federal laws, regulations, and policies; and

WHEREAS, The individual states are best able to administer and enforce these environmental laws for the benefit of all of their citizens and the citizens of the United States in general; and

WHEREAS, The EPA and the states have bilaterally developed policy agreements over the past twenty­five years that reflect the roles of the states and the EPA, recognizing that the primary responsibility for enforcement action resides with the individual states, with EPA taking enforcement action principally where an individual state requests assistance or is unwilling or unable to take timely and appropriate enforcement action; and

WHEREAS, Inconsistent with these policy agreements, the EPA has levied fines and penalties against regulated entities in cases where the state previously took appropriate action consistent with the agreements to bring such entities into compliance; and

WHEREAS, Colorado statutes give authority to the appropriate state agencies for the administration and enforcement of state and federal environmental laws; and

WHEREAS, The EPA continues to enforce federal environmental laws despite Colorado's primacy and has acted in areas of violations where the state has already acted; and

WHEREAS, The EPA has been unwilling to recognize the importance of Colorado's ability to develop methods for the state to meet the standards established by the EPA and federal environmental laws while recognizing state and local concerns and circumstances unique to Colorado; and

WHEREAS, A cooperative effort between the state and the EPA is essential to ensure such consistency while making certain to consider state and local concerns; and

WHEREAS, The EPA has been hesitant to recognize that economic incentives and rewarding compliance are acceptable alternatives to acting only after violations have occurred; and

WHEREAS, The EPA's current enforcement practices and policies result in detailed oversight and over­filing of state actions causing the weakening of Colorado's ability to take effective compliance actions and resolve environmental issues; and

WHEREAS, The current EPA enforcement policy and actions have had and continue to have an adverse impact on working relationships between the EPA and Colorado and many other western states; and

WHEREAS, The Western Governors' Association has adopted "Principles for Environmental Protection in the West" which encourages collaboration and not polarization between the EPA and the states, and further encourages the replacement of the command and control structure of the EPA with economic incentives encouraging results and environmental decisions that weigh costs against benefits in taking actions; now, therefore,

Be It Resolved by the House of Representatives of the Sixty­second General Assembly of the State of Colorado, the Senate concurring herein:

(1)  That we ask Congress to require the EPA to recognize that the State of Colorado has the requisite authority, expertise, experience, and resources to administer delegated federal environmental programs by:

(a)  Affording Colorado flexibility and deference in the administration and enforcement of delegated federal environmental programs;

(b)  Refraining from over­filing against recognized violators where Colorado has negotiated a compliance action in accordance with its approved EPA management systems, so long as that compliance action achieves compliance with applicable requirements; and

(c)  Allowing Colorado the ability to develop plans for achieving national environmental standards established by the EPA that are tailored to meet local conditions and priorities.

(2)  That we ask Congress to require the EPA to enter into memoranda of understanding with the individual states that outline performance and set joint goals and measures to ensure compliance with federal environmental laws while recognizing that states that have achieved primacy in environmental programs have the right to direct compliance actions.

(3)  That we ask Congress to require the EPA to develop policies and practices that recognize that:

(a)  Successful environmental policy and implementation are best accomplished through balanced, open, inclusive approaches where the public and private stakeholders work together to formulate locally­based solutions to environmental issues;

(b)  Threats of enforcement action to force compliance with specific technology or processes may not result in environmental protection but, instead, reward delay and litigation, cripple incentives for technological innovation, increase animosity between government, industry, and the public, and increase the cost of environmental protection; and

(c)  Effective management of environmental compliance is dependent upon the EPA shifting its focus from threats of enforcement action to one of compliance and the use of all available technologies, tools, and actions of the individual states.

Be It Further Resolved, That copies of this resolution be sent to the President of the United States, the President of the United States Senate, the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, each member of Colorado's Congressional Delegation, the Director of the Environmental Protection Agency, the Director of the Environmental Protection Agency's Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assistance, and the Regional Administrator of EPA Region VIII.