EPA Programs in Russia
May 13-17: Representatives from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment of the Russian Federation and the Deputy Minister of the Republic of Buryatia will visit EPA's Region 4 office in Atlanta, GA. EPA experts will share with Russian colleagues over 30 years experience in implementing Superfund and Brownfields programs. The Russian delegation will also participate in Brownfields 2013, a national conference on this topic.
June 24-July 1: Representatives from the Russian Ministry of Economic Development, Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, Technological Platform, Russian regional administrations, and private industry will meet with EPA experts in Washington, DC to discuss development of economic mechanisms in addressing legacy waste sites in the Arctic Region. The delegation will also visit United States Superfund and Brownfields sites, to observe and review innovative technologies and best practices in land remediation and destruction of hazardous wastes.
EPA’s Main Activities in Russia Include:
Each of these activities are detailed below. Explore past activities in Russia.
The U.S.-Russia Bilateral Presidential Commission was established by President Obama and President Medvedev on July 6, 2009 to strengthen the relationship between the US and Russia. The Environment Working Group (EWG) of the Presidential Commission is co-chaired by the US Department of State and the Russian Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment.
In the most recent EWG workplan, EPA and the Russian Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment have agreed to work together on two issues(1) Management of Legacy Wastes; and (2) Black carbon emissions in the Russian Arctic.
Bilateral Cooperation on Management of Legacy Waste
Under the US-Russia Bilateral Presidential Commission, EPA is partnering with Russia to share the US approach to management of contaminated sites in order to improve public health and to give the Russians examples of how to manage their legacy wastes. On November 30-December 3, 2010, EPA hosted a technical exchange and training for Russian officials on management of legacy hazardous waste. The Russian delegation included high-level federal and regional officials, scientific research institutes, and representatives from the private sector. The delegation met with EPA experts and visited the EPA regional office in New York City, Gowanus Canal Superfund site, a Brownfields Job Training Center, and a Brownfield site, the High Line.
In March 2013, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MRNE) of the Russian Federation hosted experts from EPA to discuss approaches to the management of legacy contaminated sites in Russia and the United States. Participants discussed the development of new Russian legislation addressing management of environmental damage caused by industrial activities.
EPA experts shared 30 years of experience in the implementing of Superfund and Brownfields programs, including an overview of:
- the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act,
- Superfund trust fund,
- enforcement and cost recovery,
- case studies of actual remediation projects,
- use of innovative technologies and practices in environmental clean-ups, and
- the role of local communities in the superfund process.
Russian experts presented their successes in the clean-up of former military bases at Franz Josef Land (in which EPA has participated since 2000), and remediation of sites near Lake Baikal and sites in the Nizhni Novgorod Region.
Bilateral Cooperation on Black Carbon Emission in the Russian Arctic
Under the Black Carbon Diesel Initiative, EPA is partnering with government agencies; US Arctic and Russian NGOs; Russian and Arctic stakeholders; indigenous communities and observer groups to assess diesel sources of black carbon in the Arctic and develop emission inventories, demonstration projects, policy recommendations and financing options to address the environmental and public health challenges caused by black carbon in the Arctic.
Because of its unique fragile ecosystem and its impacts on all of the Arctic (including Alaska), EPA is focusing several efforts on the Russian Arctic, through the Arctic Contaminants Action Program (ACAP) and the National Plan of Action for the Protection of the Arctic Marine Environment.
Arctic Contaminants Action Program (ACAP)
EPA works in the Russian Arctic region through the Arctic Contaminants Action Program (ACAP), a program of the Arctic Council. As part of ACAP, EPA plays a leadership role in the Black Carbon and Short-Lived Climate Forcers Project Steering Group (BCSCF/PSG), through which EPA works on the reduction of black carbon from diesel sources in the Russian Arctic.
In addition, EPA also works to reduce mercury use and exposure in the Russian Arctic through the Mercury Project Steering Group, and works to improve environmental and public health conditions of indigenous peoples in the Russian Arctic through the Indigenous Peoples Contaminants Action Program Project Steering Group.
National Plan of Action for the Protection of the Arctic Marine Environment
EPA is working with the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and the Global Environment Facility (GEF) on the UNEP/GEF project, “Russian Federation - Support to the National Plan of Action for the Protection of the Arctic Marine Environment.” This project has resulted in the development of the Strategic Action Programme (SAP), the first integrated programmatic document on the protection of the Arctic marine environment in Russia. The SAP, adopted by the Russian Maritime Board, established priorities for environmental protection in the Arctic and identified achievable environmental targets.
As part of this project, EPA has participated in the implementation of two important model demonstration projects:
- U.S.-Russian Cooperation on Health and Safety Training for Hazardous Waste Management: In July 2009, EPA experts conducted a four-day training and technical exchange program in Moscow on health and safety in hazardous waste management. Over 50 representatives of the Russian government, Arctic indigenous communities, and representatives of the United Nations, attended the sessions.
- The Franz Josef Land Project: EPA supported the clean-up of hazardous waste materials from Franz Josef Land in the Russian Arctic, which included the cleaning, compaction, and transfer of over 1000 empty drums containing hazardous waste residue to safe storage in the Arkhangelsk Region. As a result of the success of the model, this project resulted in the commitment of the Russian Federation to remediate contaminated sites within the Franz Josef Land Archipelago.
The International Science and Technology Center (ISTC) provides former weapons scientists (FWS) from Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) with new opportunities for sustainable, peaceful employment. ISTC coordinates the efforts of numerous governments, international organizations, and private sector industries. Activities fall in two broad categories: 1) research projects, which employ scientists in the development of new science and technology (S&T), and 2) Supplemental Programs, which include workshops and other events to integrate FWS in the global S&T and industrial communities; training; and commercialization support initiatives. The US EPA has been an ISTC Partner since 2001.
As of 2011, EPA has funded 18 projects in Russia on various areas of scientific research spanning modelling of disease endpoints; improved air pollution control; nutrient cycling and water quality; climate effects on ecology; environmental sensors; remediation methods; and homeland securities topics. In addition to the research projects, the US EPA has funded specific environmental workshops, seminars and training programs, and training visits for Russian and CIS scientists.
The Global Methane Initiative (GMI) is an international public-private initiative that advances cost effective, near-term methane recovery and use as a clean energy source in four sectors: agriculture, coal mines, landfills, and oil and gas systems.
The Russian Federation joined the Global Methane Initiative (GMI) as one of the charter members in November 2004. The EPA has been actively working in Russia in the landfill, oil and gas, and coal sectors since 2005, providing technical and project development assistance, capacity building and training, and workshop facilitation.
These projects reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the near term and provide a number of important environmental and economic co-benefits such as:
- Stimulating local economic growth
- Creating new sources of affordable alternative energy
- Improving local air and water quality, with associated public health benefits, and
- Increasing industrial worker safety.
A complete list of activities in these sectors is available on the website of the Global Methane Initiative.
- June 1994: Agreement of Cooperation in the Field of Protection of the Environment and Natural Resources (PDF) (14 pp, 2.34 M, About PDF)
- May 1972: Cooperation in Environmental Protection (PDF) (6 pp, 368K, About PDF)
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For additional information about EPA's work with Russia, contact:
Office of International and Tribal Affairs (2650R)
1200 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20460