Revamping CUPA program

By CMTA Staff

Capitol Update, May 18, 2007

On May 11th, The Department of Toxic Substance Control (DTSC) and the Certified Unified Program Agencies (CUPA) (often your local County Health or Fire Department) announced a concept to change their approach to CUPA inspection and enforcement.  The inspection program has remained basically the same over the past 20 or more years.  This announcement is despite decades of experience, new and more sophisticated regulatory mandates, dramatically improved knowledge of individual facility compliance, wide variations in population proximity to regulated facilities, more sophisticated enforcement approaches and development of additional compliance tools with proven success.

There is a desire to use their limited resources in the most effective manner possible.  As they pointed out, the only previous tool used to measure their effectiveness was compliance enforcement actions and they have been mandated by regulation to make inspections of all facilities on a specific schedule.  Over the years, the majority of these facilities have become much more knowledgeable on environmental laws and are continually in compliance.  Regulators would rather concentrate on those industries or facilities that have proven to have continued problems, pursue those who scoff the law and attempt to intercept products coming into the State which threaten the environment or health and safety of the public.

DTSC and CUPA foresee an open forum with numerous symposiums, workshops, seminars and meetings to develop their program.  The draft plan initially calls for a limited number (5-7) of carefully monitored pilot projects to test strategies that meet goals while concurrently maintaining high compliance at lower priority facilities.  They must identify the regulatory universe they believe needs to be controlled, set standards, do education and outreach, set up a compliance verification program, develop performance indicators and agency coordination protocols, set priority and feedback systems for CUPA implementation of alternative compliance strategies.  This is a huge, progressive and unprecedented undertaking.  It was obvious by the materials distributed that they have already given this a great deal of thought.

CMTA looks forward to working with DTSC and the CUPAs over the next year on the development of this new program.  If any member would like more information on the draft plan or to be involved in discussions, please contact Mike Rogge at mrogge@cmta.net.  A schedule for follow-up meetings has yet to be released.

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