Highlighting the agency's commitment to using and participating in voluntary consensus standards (vcs) and conformity assessment activities, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has launched a new informational website: www.epa.gov/vcs. The site provides an overview of EPA’s engagement in the development of voluntary consensus standards and specific examples of successful implementation of vcs for diverse EPA objectives.
According to the EPA site, the use of standards in regulation, voluntary programs, research, procurement, and policies helps the agency harness cross-sector partnerships that enhance public trust and lead to durable policies with broad consensus and buy-in. "As of 2015, EPA’s regulations contained over 4,500 references to VCS and other private-sector standards," according to the site.
Policies on federal use and participation in voluntary consensus standards and conformity assessment activities are outlined in Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circular A-119, Federal Participation in the Development and use of Voluntary Consensus Standards and in Conformity Assessment Activities, which guides agency implementation of the National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act of 1995 (NTTAA).
In support of these activities, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) works to facilitate the practice of government agencies using voluntary consensus standards created by the private sector as an alternative to agency-developed standards. As one of the biggest users of standards, the U.S. government’s active participation is important to the development of vcs that meet globally accepted criteria for openness, balance, impartiality, relevance, and due process.
ANSI encourages its members and stakeholders to explore the new EPA site and share its message on the power and importance of the public-private partnership in U.S. standardization. For more information, visit ANSI’s government outreach page.