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By Christopher R. Bryant and Margaret R. Graham

On September 26, 2017, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that it has launched the Smart Sectors program in the Office of Policy.  82 Fed. Reg. 44783.  Based on EPA’s Sector Strategies program, the Smart Sectors program “will re-examine how EPA engages with industry in order to reduce unnecessary regulatory burden, create certainty and predictability, and improve the ability of both EPA and industry to conduct long-term regulatory planning while also protecting the environment and public health,” according to the notice.  The industry sectors EPA will initially seek to work with are: aerospace; agriculture; automotive; cement and concrete; chemical manufacturing; construction; electronics and technology; iron and steel; oil and gas; ports and shipping; and utilities and power generation.  A pre-publication notice issued on September 28, 2017, scheduled for publication on September 29, 2017, identified also the industry sectors of forestry and paper products; mining; and ports and marine (and deleted ports and shipping).

Under this program, EPA will designate staff-level points of contact who will act as liaisons among industry trade associations and companies, EPA program and regional offices, state and local governments, and other stakeholder groups.  The sector liaisons will focus their attention primarily on three main areas:  building relationships and improving customer service to sectors; developing additional expertise in each industry’s operations and environmental performance; and informing the planning of future policies, regulations, and EPA processes.  EPA anticipates that participating industries will benefit from coordinated, cooperative, and constructive problem-solving with government.