PECO Energy Hall in Philadelphia hosted the Society of Women Environmental Professionals (SWEP) of Greater Philadelphia last week for a conversational luncheon with Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Regional Administrator Cosmo Servidio. Servidio addressed EPA’s main priorities, mobilization regarding per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), and plans to establish a new division committed to enforcement and compliance.
Servidio manages EPA’s Region 3, the Mid-Atlantic Region, which services Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, West Virginia, Virginia, and the District of Columbia. He opened the dialogue by addressing EPA’s mission to establish regulatory clarity and synergy among federal, state, and local government levels as each implements programs and regulations. While answering questions from the audience, Servidio discussed Region 3’s priority projects including state implementation plans and adherence to the Clean Air and Water Acts, especially Section 404 coordination with the United States Army Corps of Engineers and municipal separate storm sewer system requirements. Servidio also praised the resurgence in brownfield and Superfund redevelopment over the past decade. He said EPA continues to work with the federal government to keep redevelopment programs and funding a top priority.
Servidio went on to discuss recent initiatives by EPA to address PFAS impact and exposure. On July 25, EPA hosted a community engagement session in Horsham, where state and municipal leaders and community members listened to expert panels and voiced their concerns during listening sessions. Horsham is the second impacted community EPA has visited as it continues to work to establish a maximum contaminant level and subsequent management plan. Similar sessions are scheduled to be held in Colorado and North Carolina in the coming weeks.
Finally, Servidio announced his plans to fill several vacant Region 3 leadership positions, including Director of the Water Protection Division, Director of the Chesapeake Bay Program Office, and Director of the Environmental Assessment and Innovation Division. With these major changes afoot, Servidio said there is no better time to establish a Region 3 Enforcement Division—a standalone division dedicated solely to compliance assistance. He said the hope is to improve communication and efficiency among the Region’s states and municipalities. Currently, six of the EPA’s ten regions have Enforcement Divisions; four, including Region 3, have Enforcement Coordinators. Servidio assured the current system is not broken but rather can be improved. He hopes to have Region 3’s new Enforcement Division in place by early 2019.
Prior to his current post as EPA Region 3 Administrator, Servidio served as chief of staff for EPA Region 2 from 2005 – 2009. He then served as Director for Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection’s Southeast Region through 2017, meeting often with SWEP of Greater Philadelphia during his tenure.