By Cynthia JuddOctober 10, 2017
Partnerships between Army organizations can lead to more informed decision-making and can help save the Army time, money and manpower. Good partnerships can even minimize impacts to Army infrastructure and mission capabilities. The Evaluation and Assessment of Regulatory and Legislative Impacts, known as EARLI, does all of that and more.
Being aware of changing requirements and preparing for compliance with new federal and state environmental laws and regulations is a challenge. Properly planning and programming adequate funding is also difficult without early identification and analysis of potential costs and/or operational impacts to installations from new environmental requirements. Using the EARLI program can work like an early warning system to ensure installations are prepared for future regulatory changes. Additionally, EARLI has launched a SharePoint platform that allows ease of communication between all members of the EARLI community.
If Army installations are unaware of these new environmental requirements, they could be subject to mission and training restrictions, fines and penalties, and budget shortfalls. These issues stem from noncompliance, unanticipated workload, and increased operation and maintenance costs.
Reducing or eliminating Army environmental liabilities through a proactive and adaptive approach improves Army readiness. Vigilantly analyzing new environmental requirements, actively monitoring the fluctuations inherent in the regulatory and legislative process, and analyzing their effect on the Army helps prevent training shut-downs, unplanned expenses, and impacts to Army operations.
Funded by the U.S. Army Installation Management Command (IMCOM), the EARLI program is a partnership between IMCOM, U.S. Army Environmental Command, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Environmental and Munitions Center of Expertise (EMCX), and Army Regional Environmental and Energy Offices (REEOs). This expert environmental professional team monitors, evaluates, and analyzes proposed and promulgated federal and state actions that have the potential to increase compliance requirements and Army liabilities that could impact Army readiness.
In 2016, EARLI identified a shortfall of approximately nine percent of the IMCOM operating budget due to environmental regulatory and legislative changes. EARLI analysis provided necessary justification to ensure funds were available to accommodate these new compliance requirements in the out years for the IMCOM enterprise. It served as that early-warning system.
Some of the regulatory and legislative analysis that justified budget changes include:
• A change to the Clean Air Act in an effort to protect the stratospheric ozone caused an update to the Army's Refrigerant Management Requirements.
• A revision to Underground Storage Tank Regulations required secondary containment, operator training and more frequent monitoring.
• Increased Clean Water Act and Safe Drinking Water Act legislation regarding lead in drinking water is currently being discussed in nine states: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Nevada, Oregon, Utah and Washington. This will potentially impact 21 IMCOM installations. If more states follow this trend, there is potential for impacts at all CONUS-based IMCOM installations. The Army is committed to providing safe drinking water on its installations.
• Revisions to the Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule (UCMR 4) for public water systems will require additional sampling at any Army installation serving more than 10,000 people. This affects 17 IMCOM installations.
• Addition of a subsurface vapor intrusion component to the hazard ranking system under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liabilities Act will require inspection of all groundwater- and soil-contaminated sites to determine if the ranking will need to change. This is a time-intensive and costly action that could result in sites being reopened and subsequent additional cleanup.
• Listings of new species and critical habitat designation will increase costs due to additional planning requirements, species monitoring and reporting. The endangered Rusty Patched Bumble Bee affects 17 IMCOM installations, 49 endangered species from the Hawaiian Islands affect most Army activities at U.S. Army Garrison Hawaii, and the endangered Kenk's Amphipod affects six IMCOM installations. The threatened Iiwi is found on one IMCOM installation and the Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake, also threatened, is found on one IMCOM installation).
EARLI data and partnerships with the REEOs educates the regulating body on how changing requirements affect the military mission. Once the regulating body understands the tradeoffs and repercussions, they can remove or provide military exemption to minimize the impact to Army readiness. No matter the outcome, EARLI aims to chart the future compliance environment.
For more information about EARLI or how to access the database, call USAEC's EARLI program management team at (210) 466-1769 or (210) 466-1516.