Oral Remarks of John H. Gibbons

Director, Office of Science and Technolog y Policy

before the

Subcommittee on Technology, Environment, and Aviation

Committee on Science, Space, and Technology

United States House of Representatives

July 15, 19 93


Mister Chairman, members of the Committee, thank you for thisopportunity to testify on the Administration's plans for accelerating thedevelopment and application of new environm ental technologies.

This hearing brings together two of the most important themes of theAdministration's technology policy -- protecting the environment and spurringthe development of new technologies. The President firmly believes technologycan help provide solutions to many of the environmental problems we face. Inaddition, the same technologies used to protect the environment is helpingthousands of U.S. companies save money as well. And there is a growing marketfor environmental technolo gy, both here and abroad, for American companies inthe environmental products and services sector. According to the OECD, theworldwide market for environmental technology is projected to grown from $200million today to at least $300 million by the yea r 2000.

The Clinton Administration feels that government should play an activist rolein working with industry to develop generic technology, especially in areaslike environmental technology, where the benefits are not only measured interms of pr ofits and jobs, but also in terms of a better, cleaner environmentfor all of us. Government involvement is particularly justified wherelong-term investment is needed and where the generic technology developed willbenefit an entire industry and not jus t a single company.


I often find it useful to divide environmental technologies into twocategories, which some have labelled "dark green technologies" and "light greentechnologies." Dark green technologies ar e developed to solve particularenvironmental problems. The catalytic converter is a good example.

On the other hand, light green technologies may serve many purposes, mostunrelated to environmental protection. For instance, advanced manufacturin gtechnology was developed to reduce defect rates and thus improve quality andproductivity; but it can also reduce waste and energy consumption. Thedevelopment and use of such technologies can be justified without evenconsidering the environmental ben efits. Yet, it may be that light greentechnologies will, in the long run, provide more environmental protection thandark green technologies. Clearly, for our policies on environmental technologyto be effective, we must promote the development and use of both shades ofgreen technology.


Environmental technology is a key component of the Administration'senvironmental policy and is an area in which OSTP has a key role to play. TheAdminis tration's efforts to accelerate the development, dissemination, andapplication of environmental technology fall into five broad areas:

1) Development and demonstration of new environmental technologies;

2) Using the Federal government's purchasin g power to spur the development ofa market for environmental products and services;

3) Assistance to businesses trying to commercialize or export environmentalproducts and services;

4) Updating environmental regulations to encourage use of new e nvironmentaltechnologies; and

5) Education and training of scientists, engineers, and managers who willdevelop and deploy these technologies.


The most cost-effective way for the Federal government to invest in newenvironmental technologies is to make development of green technology anintegral part of technology programs throughout the government. Our goalshould be to encourage Federally-supported researchers deve loping newtechnologies to consider environmental applications of their discoveries,whether their work is supported by the Defense Department, NASA, the Departmentof Commerce, or another agency. Unfortunately, too often agencies focus toonarrowly on t heir missions and miss the opportunity to explore how thetechnologies being developed in their labs might be used by other agencies andby the private sector to fulfill other missions as well. In many cases,finding technological solutions to environme ntal problems does not requiredeveloping new technologies, it merely requires finding new uses for existingtechnologies.

Unfortunately, we do not have a lot of new money to devote to these efforts.That is why the Administration has focussed on usi ng existing programs andmechanisms to help accelerate the development and application of greentechnologies, and why it is essential that we mobilize private sectorcreativity. After all, it is the private sector that is the source of most newcivilian technology development in this country.

EPA's Environmental Technology Initiative. One new program thatexemplifies the Administration's approach to environmental technology is a newmulti-agency program led by EPA. This program is designed t o build linksbetween EPA and agencies such as the Department of Commerce, the Department ofEnergy (DOE), the National Science Foundation (NSF), the U.S. Department ofAgriculture (USDA), and NASA. For FY94, the Administration has requested $36million for this program. Two-thirds of the funding for the program would befor contracts with other agencies to develop and promote the use of newenvironmental technologies. This will leverage existing Federal technologyprograms by bringing together people at EPA, who can identify our most pressingenvironmental problems, with scientists and engineers in other agencies, whocan identify technologies that could be used to address those problems.

This program is just one of several Administration initia tives that will buildupon existing technology programs. There are many R&D programs at DOE,NASA, the Department of Commerce, and other agencies which can and willcontribute towards the development of new environmental technologies.


OSTP has a key role to play in ensuring that Federal agency programsdesigned to promote environmental technology are well-coordinated and properlyfocussed. Programs like the new EPA-led program can only succeed if agenciesare wo rking together toward a common goal.

To provide this coordination, OSTP, the Office on Environmental Policy, andthe National Economic Council are forming a high-level, multi-agency workinggroup on green technology. It will be similar to several multi-agency,deputy-level working groups created by the White House in April to implementthe Administration's technology policy. These groups were created tocoordinate policy development in much the same way FCCSET has coordinatedresearch programs.

The new working group will help promote the use of green technologiesdeveloped by Federal research programs and by the private sector. It will makesure that Federal technology, procurement, trade, fiscal, and regulatorypolicies help, not hinder, the development of these technologies.

In short, this group will be in charge of carrying out the Administration'sagenda for environmental technology. It will work in several different arenas,including (1) technology development, (2) assistance to industry, and (3)regulatory reform needed to promote development of new technologies.

In order to do this it will work with two already-established multi-agencycommittees:

(1) A new subcommittee of the Federal Coordinating Council on Scie nce,Engineering, and Technology to provide high-level coordination of agencyprograms to develop environmental technologies.

(2) A multi-agency committee led by the Department of Commerce and involvingEPA, the Energy Department, and OSTP, to promote commercial use ofenvironmental technologies both here and abroad.


As you can see, the Administration is serious about promoting the developmentand application of environmental technologies. Agencies are working togetherto develop cost-effective strategies and coordinated research plans. We haverequested additional funding for FY94 and are in the process of redirectingexisting resources. In addition, as the Administration prepares the FY95budget, we are examining ways to:

1. improve education and training programs for both the developers andpotential users of environmental technology.

2. facilitate technology transfer to the less-developed countries whodesperately need environmental technology to help solve their pressingenvironmental problems.

3. set priorities to ensure that Federal funds are being invested in themost-promising technologies.

4. fund demonstration projects both here and abroad to promote the applicationof environmental technolog ies.

5. stimulate the market for by-products of environmentally-sound production(like recycled paper).

6. incorporate environmental technologies into programs like the ManufacturingTechnology Centers and other technology extension programs.

These efforts will help ensure the United States is at the leading edge inenvironmental technology. They will not only help us protect our environmentbut will also help American companies capture a larger share of the large,growing world market for po llution monitoring, clean-up, and preventiontechnologies.

It is clear there is much to be done. But the Administration is committed tomaking progress in this area. I look forward to working with the ScienceCommittee, which is a critical player