In 1992, a federal advisory committee called the Develop Onsite Innovative Technology (DO-IT) Committee was formed to coordinate innovative environmental technology efforts among several states. The DO-IT Committee implemented a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the Western Governors' Association (WGA); the federal Departments of Defense, Energy, and Interior; and EPA. WGA managed this committee using federal funding from the agencies. DO-IT was chartered with four workgroups: chemical cleanups, munitions, mine waste, and radioactive sites. The committee also worked towards removing regulatory barriers to the use of innovative technologies.
Realizing the value of DO-IT’s efforts, members Jim Allen, a state regulator from California, and Nancy Worst, a state regulator from Texas, shared ideas over a glass of wine and envisioned a state-led effort to reduce regulatory barriers to the use of innovative environmental cleanup technologies. In the fall of 1994, as the DO-IT Committee was coming to a close, Jim proposed a spinoff organization called the Interstate Technology and Regulatory Cooperation (ITRC) Workgroup, which would be formed under a multi-state regulatory initiative. In April 1995, the heads of the environmental agencies of California, Illinois, Massachusetts, and New Jersey signed an MOU committing to share data, information, and standards for the use of innovative cleanup technologies facilitated by the ITRC Workgroup. In June 1995, the DO-IT Committee charged the ITRC Workgroup to seek ways to encourage state environmental regulatory agencies to work together on permitting of innovative environmental cleanup technologies. Since it was funded with grant money remaining under the DO-IT Committee budget, the ITRC Workgroup was initially managed by WGA.
In June 1996, the DO-IT Committee was dissolved, but in its final report WGA recommended that the ITRC Workgroup become independent and permanent. The western governors concurred, and the ITRC Workgroup continued to function independently of the DO-IT Committee. Two more states, New York and Pennsylvania, signed the ITRC Workgroup MOU, which was revised to state that ITRC would develop a process for the reciprocal evaluation, acceptance, and approval of innovative cleanup technologies. Funding for ITRC’s independent operation was obtained from the DOE Office of Environmental Management. Management duties were held jointly by WGA and the Southern States Energy Board (SSEB), which also encouraged southern states to participate in the ITRC Workgroup.
As the ITRC Workgroup continued to expand, with states across the nation wanting to participate, it decided to seek a national host organization. In 1998, the Environmental Research Institute of the States (ERIS), the nonprofit education and research arm of the Environmental Council of the States (ECOS), took over management duties for ITRC, with support from WGA and SSEB. In 2002, as the original agreement between the ITRC Workgroup and ERIS was expiring, the ITRC Workgroup was renamed the Interstate Technology and Regulatory Council (ITRC) and the relationship with ERIS was formalized. In April 2003, ITRC officially became a program of ERIS, giving ITRC the protections and benefits of a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. In 2005, ITRC continued its expansion to include industry partners through the Industry Affiliates Program (IAP).
Today, ITRC produces documents and training that broaden and deepen technical knowledge and expedite quality regulatory decision making, while protecting human health and the environment. ITRC has members from all 50 states and the District of Columbia, including state and federal environmental regulators, federal agency representatives, industry experts, community stakeholders, and academics. Since 1995, ITRC has published hundreds of documents and reached tens of thousands of participants through training courses on hundreds of topics. ITRC has an outstanding track record of producing practical guidance documents accepted throughout the environmental industry and regulatory community. Of equal importance to ITRC’s finished products is the process by which these materials are developed. ITRC’s consensus process brings stakeholders’ experience, issues, and concerns to a common forum that encourages teamwork in finding solutions that work for everyone.