COMMISSION URGES CHANGES IN ENVIRONMENTAL REGULATIONS

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WASHINGTON — A government-appointed commission recommends revising environmental regulations to improve assessment of public health risks.

The Commission on Risk Assessment and Risk Management is calling on Congress to revise the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act and other environmental laws. The commission, appointed by President Clinton and Congress, makes its final report this month, said Sharon Newsome, commission associate director.

The report recommends involving industry and citizens early in the decision-making process — which takes more time initially, but lessens the risk of litigation later. Such an approach is hindered by the traditional methods of ``most environmental studies, agency programs and congressional committees, [which] focus on managing individual pollutants'' in a single environment, such as air, water or soil.

The commission's second report will include recommendations for specific federal programs and agencies.