Governor Deukmejian announces Department of Waste Management
Gov. George Deukmejian today released the broad outline of a plan to reorganize his administration to create a Department of Waste Management.
The new department would coordinate the state's efforts to manage the handling_, 1 disposal and cleanup of wastes.,, both toxic and non-toxic. The new department also will be the focal point for a coordinated effort with the private sector to develop new and more effective technology to deal effectively with wastes.
"My goal is nothing short of assuring the maximum protection for California's public health and environment," the governor said. "We want to achieve the fastest possible cleanup of toxic waste sites, as well as the most vigorous and consistent enforcement of existing antipollution laws. This proposed reorganization vests responsibility and accountability in a single state entity, thus assuring that our
resources are fully utilized and coordinated in addressing the most difficult environmental and public health issue of our time."
The plan will be subject to two public hearings to be held in Sacramento on February 15 and 22,. and chaired by Health and Welfare Secretary David Swoap. The hearing panel will consist of four other cabinet members: Food and Agriculture Director Clare Berryhill; Resources Secretary Gordon Van Vleck; Environmental Affairs Secretary Gordon Duffy and Industrial Relations Director Ronald Rinaldi.
"The senior attention being given this issue illustrates the importance I place on developing a reorganization plan that considers the many that have been dealing with waste in state governrnent,11
the governor said.
The plan is subject to modification by the administration based upon public input that will be received at the hearings, he said. A final plan will be developed and submitted according to statute to the Cornmission on California State Government Organization (Little Hoover Commission) for its consideration. Approximately 30 days later it will be formally submitted to the legislature.
As proposed the reorganization calls for the creation of the Department of Waste Management in the Health and Welfare Agency, recognizing that waste disposal first and foremost is a significant
public health issue. The department would consist of three operational divisions---the Solid Waste Division, the Toxic Waste Division and the New Technology Division.
The reorganization plan envisions the consolidation of some or all of the responsibilities of 12 state entities that currently have overlapping or conflicting responsibilities for waste control or related research. The focus will be on eliminating duplication or conflicts involving the Toxic Substances Control Division of the Department of Health Services; the state Water Resources Control Board and its nine Regional Water Quality Control Boards; and the California Waste Management Board.
The precise responsibilities which would be consolidated under the new department will be a key subject addressed in the two public hearings. The department staff would be guided in the development of its action plan, goals and objectives by an 11-member California Waste Commission. As envisioned, it would be structured and operated in a manner similar to the relationship between the California Transportation Commission and the state Department of Transportation.
In addition, the department would have the resources of a standing scientific advisory commission of technical waste experts. The size and budget of the new department will be determined after public hearings. The governor indicated his intention that the reorganization consolidate some of the most significant eixisting waste management efforts of state government. The reorganization itself should not require new staffing, he said.
He noted that the resources and staffing dedicated to toxic waste management have been dramatically increased in the last two state budgets.
The governor said the goals of the new department would be:
--To facilitate the cleanup of California's unsafe toxic sites as fast as possible.
--To protect both the environment and the public he!alth through vigorous enforcement of existing anti-pollution laws governing waste disposal.
--To centralize state government responsibility and accountabilit: for waste management and to improve the regulatory process governing waste disposal.
--To squeeze the maximum from available state and JEederal funds. --To signal to the public the state's firm commitment to protect the lhealth and safety of Californians with a department responsive to their input, concerns and ideas, and guided by a top-level citizens advi:sory panel, and;
--To assume leadership in encouraging the development of the safe and affordable technology to deal permanently with the range of wastes we generate as a society.
"Our exploration will move us toward the 21st century frontier of safer and more efficient methods of incineration, recycling and wasteto-energy processes," the governor said. "I am confident that we can meet this challenge," he added. "This is a challenge which must unite us , not divide us. "The problem of waste, hazardous and nonhazardous, did not develop overnight and it won't be resolved overnight.
"But if we act with unity, bipartisanship, leadership and clarity of purpose, California will meet this challenge."
Attached is a list of the most significant issues which will be expl•red at the public hearings conducted by the administration's hearing panel.
ISSUES TO BE EXPLORED AT PUBLIC HEARINGS
1. What is the future role of the State Water Resources Control Boards and the nine Regional Water Quality Control Boards?
2. What functions of water quality regulation should be incorporated in the new department?
3. How many people will be included in this new department?
4. What will the budget for the new department be?
5. What functions will the new Commission fulfill?
6. What types of new technology does the Administration want to encourage and promote?
7. What type of solutions to the waste problem are applicable
to both solid and hazardous waste?
8. Should the new department separate regulation of non-hazardous waste dischargers from hazardous waste dischargers or maintain them as one function as the State and Regional Boards do now?
9. When a major site clean-up occurs where other related agencies have a regulatory role such as the Air Resources Board, how will coordination occur and who will have the final say when decisions have to be about cleanup methodologies or the extent of cleanup?
l0. What should be the makeup of the 11-member California Waste Commission?