MiMfg October 2020 - Page 6

6 MiMfg Magazine October 2020

Keynote Conversation

Kurt Thiede

Region 5 Administrator U . S . Environmental Protection Agency

Q :

How does the EPA work to build a collaborative environment between manufacturers , state agencies and your Agency ? Thiede : Building collaborative relationships starts with establishing open lines of communication . Under the leadership of U . S . Environmental Protection Agency ( EPA ) Administrator Andrew Wheeler , EPA is committed to working with all levels of government , as well as with the manufacturers in Michigan and across the U . S . to protect human health and the environment , while fostering the historic economic growth experienced under the Trump Administration .
As a former state agency official , I have an appreciation for the important role states play in environmental regulation . They are closer to the issues and are often best suited to address their unique circumstances .
Since arriving in Region 5 , I have promoted regular and open communication with industry as well as state and local governments . I appreciate manufacturers ’ efforts to promote sustainability initiatives and innovative technology . We are committed to working with our partners to foster enhanced collaboration and creative problem solving on issues that matter to the manufacturing sector . I believe we will have better environmental and economic outcomes if we are working together .

Q :

Can you share an update on federal PFAS action ? Thiede : EPA implemented the PFAS Action Plan in February 2019 to aggressively address PFAS throughout the country . What makes this plan unique and effective is that it breaks down silos within the agency , and has actionable steps assigned to every office . As a result , EPA has made progress on all fronts , from issuing groundwater cleanup guidance , finalizing new test methods , cutting edge research , updating the Toxics Release Inventory , to issuing a preliminary regulatory determination for PFOA and PFOS in drinking water . This unprecedented and holistic agency approach relies heavily on utilizing the best science to base our decisions . EPA will continue to work in close coordination with federal agencies , states , tribes , local governments and industry .
11Serves as the Regional Administrator for the U . S . Environmental Protection Agency Region 5 , overseeing the Great Lakes states of Illinois , Indiana , Michigan , Minnesota , Ohio and Wisconsin , as well as 35 federally recognized tribal governments .
11Served as Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Deputy Secretary from 2015 to 2017 .
11Throughout his 20-year career , has promoted collaboration , creative problem-solving , common-sense decision-making and active stakeholder engagement .

Q :

Eliminating bureaucratic red tape has been a long-time priority for manufacturers . How is your Agency addressing this competitive barrier ? Thiede : EPA has made great strides to eliminate unnecessary burdens put on manufacturers and industries while improving our ability to make environmental and economic improvements . The agency has also worked hard to improve certainty and transparency . Not only are we trying to eliminate red tape , we are also striving to make sure we are communicating and establishing clear regulatory goallines and , perhaps most importantly , establishing goal-lines that do not move . As an example , all EPA guidance has now been posted on the Agency ’ s website . In Region 5 , we have embraced the Agency ’ s Lean Management System to assess our processes to find efficiencies , increase timeliness and be more responsive .

Q :

Ozone attainment is a critical goal for manufacturers . How can manufacturers work together with the EPA to achieve compliance ? Thiede : EPA encourages a collaborative approach in working with our state regulatory partners to achieve an effective ozone strategy . Across the Great Lakes Region , EPA ’ s partnership with states and industry has resulted in formal redesignations to attainment of air quality standards , including ozone . In addition to cleaner , healthier air , once an area is redesignated , local businesses face fewer air permitting restrictions , paving the way for the infrastructure investment and economic development that help create jobs . Region 5 leads the nation in redesignations and we are proud of our accomplishments but this success is only possible by working closely with our industry and state partners . 6