The nation's governors share the commitment of the American people to environmental protection. Indeed, the successful implementation of many environmental programs at the state level demonstrates governors' significant contribution to environmental protection. However, the nature of the problems facing our environment today are different than the problems faced just a few decades ago when the federal government adopted a command and control style of environmental regulation. These laws enabled the nation to make enormous progress toward the protection of its resources. While governors support and are committed to achieving the national environmental goals outlined by Congress in recent decades, the problems the nation now faces involve a huge number of small and diverse sources, each contributing a minor amount of pollution. To adequately address this new era of pollutants, states and other non-federal governments will need increased flexibility to develop innovative approaches at the state, local and regional level to respond to the environmental challenges of the 21st century.
Governors also realize that the nation does not protect the environment by the promulgation of rules alone. Someone must carry out the rules and that "someone" often is state and local government. However, federal environmental regulations are becoming increasingly underfunded and inflexible and often exceed the financial and technical capabilities of the governing agencies that must implement them. This is particularly true as many states across the country are experiencing increasingly difficult financial situations. Although many environmental and related administrative requirements have merit, the cumulative effects of unfunded mandates challenge states either to fund the federal requirements from very limited revenues or divert funds from other important state priorities.
Governors are convinced that the future success of environmental protection and remediation depends on the success of state and local governments. To further environmental progress in the states and across the country, governors pledge to continue working with Congress and the Administration on the development of new or revised federal environmental programs.
NGA Letter Regarding Federalism Implications in EPA Rulemaking
April 10, 2008 letter (from Governor Manchin and Governor Palin) to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Stephen L. Johnson, in response to the agency's request for governors' comments on its internal guidance implementing Executive Order 13132, which addresses the federalism implications of an EPA rulemaking.