E&EM Professor Attends White House Environmental Conference

............

E&EM lead professor Jonathan Deason was one of 1,100 environmental professionals invited to the “White House Conference on Cooperative Conservation” (WCCC) that was held in St. Louis, Missouri on August 28-31, 2005. The conference was held in response to a directive by the President in his Executive Order on “Facilitation of Cooperative Conservation” (E.O 13352) of August 26, 2004. All of the Cabinet Secretaries of the five agencies to which the Executive Order was directed personally participated in the conference, with four of the five Cabinet members attending for the entire conference. In addition, the conference featured many other agency heads, such as the directors of the National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Army Corps of Engineers, and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and almost all of the assistant secretaries and other senior officials from the five participating Federal departments and other agencies. In addition, many corporate presidents, CEOs and other top corporate officials, as well as the heads of essentially all of the major environmental NGOs around the county attended.The theme of the event was on finding ways of collaborative rather than confrontational approaches to environmental protection. It was noted that environmental progress over the past 35 years has largely been driven by "top-down" approaches (legislation and regulation) that has not always been flexible enough to accommodate local issues and concerns. The use of voluntary partnerships to address environmental issues and working by persuasion rather than coercion was the subject of much discussion.

................

.......
Principal speakers at the event included Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton, EPA Administrator Steve Johnson, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of Agriculture Michael Johanns, Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez, Council on Environmental Quality Chairman James Connaughton, Washington, D.C. Mayor Anthony Williams, and former EPA Administrator and environmental movement “godfather” William Ruckelshaus.

............

 

 

Several speakers indicated that environmental standards do not have to be seen as an inevitable source of conflict or an impediment to economic growth, especially when they are carried forward through cooperative conservation efforts, such as voluntary partnerships, consent agreements, and compliance assistance. EPA administrator Johnson cited the reduction of toxic chemicals released into the environment by six percent and the recovery of 800,000 acres of wetlands in 2004 – both of which occurred as the Nation's gross domestic product increased by 10 percent – as examples of that concept. Also cited as an important example of environmental success built around partnerships was the brownfields program in which the GW E&EM program has been heavily involved.

......................

Participation by GW in the invitation-only White House event is another indicator of the close interactions between the E&EM program with the “movers and shakers” of the environmental and energy management structure in Washington, D.C. and throughout the Nation.

 


Jonathan P. Deason, Ph.D., Lead Professor


The George Washington University
Engineering Management & Systems Engineering Department (EMSE)
Environmental & Energy Management Program (E&EM)
Fall 2005 (Volume 6, Number 2)