What benefits do people actually derive from clean air, water and land? The U.S. EPA has taken a major step towards answering this question with the release today of its Ecological Benefits Assessment Strategic Plan (EBASP).
EPA has traditionally been able to quantify human health benefits more easily than total ecological benefits when making regulatory decisions. The EBASP will help fill this gap by enabling the agency to more comprehensively address the full economic value of environmental protection.
The EBASP will be a vital tool for agency decision-makers, supplementing current practices for identifying and quantifying the ecological benefits of the agency’s policies and actions. According to Benjamin Grumbles, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Water, “This plan will boost environmental protection by advancing knowledge of ecosystem benefits. Understanding the value of a clean stream or a healthy coast informs decisions and improves environmental results.”
The plan was a collaborative effort among EPA’s Offices of Research and Development; Policy, Economics and Innovation; Water; Prevention, Pesticides and Toxic Substances; Air and Radiation; and Solid Waste and Emergency Response.