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Is the EPA unhinged?

By Patrick Burnson, Executive Editor
November 22, 2010

While most shippers want to strip the complexity out of the supply chain, government regulators are adding on layers of new rules for the nation’s two biggest seaports.

That’s the contention held by the Pacific Merchant Shipping Association, which says that enough is enough when it comes to adding to the “alphabet soup” of agencies charged with oversight.

This new process is called an HIA, or Health Impact Assessment. Earlier this year the EPA (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency) began a process to potentially add this new acronym to the list.

According to shippers, the consultant that EPA selected to head this process—the only entity that seems to understand what an HIA is—“has been either unwilling or unable to communicate that understanding to those of us who have asked simple and basic questions about what an HIA is, what it covers, who is responsible for preparing it, who is responsible for funding it, and who is responsible for deciding when it is finished.”

Finally, shippers ask: “Why is it needed?”

Without saying that the current environmental review process is perfect, or that it can’t be improved, many shippers maintain that the creation of yet another environmental evaluation process is not the answer.

Indeed, just when container volumes are returning to Los Angeles and Long Beach, any effort to stifle port development may influence vessel deployments in the coming years.

About the Author

Patrick Burnson
Executive Editor

Patrick Burnson is executive editor for Logistics Management and Supply Chain Management Review magazines and web sites. Patrick is a widely-published writer and editor who has spent most of his career covering international trade, global logistics, and supply chain management. He lives and works in San Francisco, providing readers with a Pacific Rim perspective on industry trends and forecasts. You can reach him directly at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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