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|Graduate Degree: Boston University, Graduate School of Management (doctoral candidate)
Undergraduate Degree: Harvard University
Area of interest: Land use, planning and development, environmental justice
Mentor: Jay Wickersham, former director of the Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act
Agency: Office of Technical Assistance in the Massachusetts Executive Office of Environmental Affairs
Supervisor: William McGowan, Director, Office of Technical Assistance
Project Description: Stephen Bird designed and implemented a risk-assessment and prioritization tool that the Office of Technical Assistance (OTA) and other environmental agencies can use to prioritize outreach and enforcement to maximize their resources. OTA, a sub-agency at Massachusetts’ Executive Office of Environmental Affairs, helps private and public facilities reduce chemical usage and implement pollution prevention measures across the state. The risk-assessment tool will also help agencies increase knowledge of their regional profiles, and identify non-filing facilities in their jurisdictions. The method rates a complete population of facilities that use threshold amounts of chemicals in the state, and allows for incorporation of less apparent risk factors such as a facility’s credit rating. Standard risk factors derived from chemical usage and the kind of facility are also used. While still unrefined in its initial design, the development of this method represents the first time a state agency has been able to gain a comprehensive risk assessment of facilities within its jurisdiction. Both the Environmental Protection Agency and the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection were briefed in late July. It is anticipated that they will be included in future policy development as the tool is refined further.