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DTSC Announces REA Program Closure
DTSC has announced that the REA Licensure Program is closed as of July 1, 2012 and no longer exists. As part of the Budget, on June 27, 2012 the Governor also signed SB 1018 (Committee on Budget and Fiscal Review, Chapter 39, Statutes of 2012). Among a number of other things, SB 1018 has repealed the Department of Toxic Substances Control's (DTSC) authority for the Registered Environmental Assessors (REA) Program. As of July 1, 2012, the REA Program will no longer exist.
DTSC proposed the elimination of the REA Program in this year's budget considerations, primarily because DTSC believes that the program is unnecessary and unenforceable, and more importantly, it is largely duplicative of and inconsistent with federal environmental professional standards that have been adopted since the creation of the REA Program. DTSC believes the elimination of the REA Program will standardize requirements for environmental professionals conducting environmental assessments under other statutory programs, and make them consistent with federal requirements.
REA I 2012 Annual fee payments received and the processing fee for new, five year renewal and reinstatement applications that were "pending" review will receive refunds in four to six weeks after July 1, 2012. REA II will receive a prorated annual fee refund and the processing fee for "pending" applications.
Please note that the online registry will no longer be available after July 1, 2012.
Please see the attached notice from DTSC for more information:
REA Program Elimination
The Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) proposed eliminating the Registered Environmental Assessors (REA) Program because this program is no longer helpful or necessary. This will standardize requirements for environmental professionals conducting environmental assessments under other statutory programs, and make them consistent with federal requirements.
Eliminating the REA Program would eliminate an overlapping and duplicative professional certification program. California already requires licensing for the other disciplines that are involved with supervising hazardous waste cleanups, including engineers, geologists, geophysicists, and hazardous waste contractors.
Improving Efficiency and Reducing Waste
This elimination will result in an overall cost savings for DTSC, and in the long term, for the regulated community as well.
Unnecessary and Unenforceable
- The REA Program was created in 1987 to help businesses comply with environmental standards. In recent years, interest in the program has diminished, and the program has not resulted in any measurable enhancements in environmental protection for the state.
- Enforcement tools are not provided in statute; therefore, DTSC’s enforcement of the professional standards of the REA Program has been ineffective. The Department of Consumer Affairs California Board for Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors and Geologists has had to assist DTSC to address particularly egregious situations.
- Performance standards and qualifications, established in statute, are too general and subjective. Poor work quality devalues the REA certification and can pose a risk to the public and the environment. Substandard REA work may also necessitate additional investigation and/or remediation, previous work to be redone, or permitting, financing, construction and/or occupancy to be delayed. All of this imposes unnecessary costs on businesses.
Duplicative of Superior Federal Standards
- U.S. EPA adopted the All Appropriate Inquiries (AAI) Rule, which requires Environmental Professionals to have more experience than the basic level of REA to conduct the same work, which causes confusion, uncertainty, and potentially the loss of liability protections.
- Registrants in the California REA Program self-certify their qualifications and there is no way to confirm they actually have the necessary education and experience.
- This elimination will shift resources away from a program that is no longer valuable in the presence of a more meaningful and effective federal program, and allow DTSC to focus on its core regulatory responsibilities.