Manpower for Environmental Pollution

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The National Academies Press




Manpower for Environmental Pollution Control: A Report to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency From the Committee for Study of Environmental Manpower, Commission on Human Resources, National Research Council

Manpower aspects of pollution control are a key factor in carrying out the nation's goals for improving environmental conditions. Shortages of well-trained and experienced manpower can slow the development of control technologies, affect program administration, cause inefficient control plant operation and process failures, and boost the costs of achieving environmental controls. Numerous complex and interrelated factors are involved in assuring that the supply of and demand for trained and experienced people are well balanced. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has responsibilities in this regard that are explicitly called for by existing statutes, implicit in the intent of Congress, and inherent in Agency leadership in these matters, either in meeting defined responsibilities or in seeking clarification of EPA's role.

The national pollution control effort has relied in general on traditional market mechanisms to generate and allocate human resources, but concern exists in this case about the effectiveness of these mechanisms. The Committee concludes that a large-scale or general shortage of pollution control manpower is not now apparent or likely to develop in the near future. Since this conclusion does not call for action, it is not included with the recommendations that follow. It is possible, however, that shortages will occur in selected, specialized occupations. The Committee notes a possible lack of appreciation by EPA of the value of using engineers and scientists who are experienced in pollution abatement. Also, it is apparent that the quality of the current environmental work force could be upgraded through supplemental training and improvements in the educational process.

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