The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is notifying the public that they are currently taking comments on the EPA's Draft Strategic Plan for the 2018-2022 Fiscal Year period. The Strategic Plan establishes goals that are meant to fulfill the EPA’s core mission as a governmental agency.
Goals and Objectives
The Draft Strategic Plan puts forward the following three goals, with more specific objectives listed underneath. The full text provides a more thorough explanation of each objective, along with strategic measures, strategies for achieving each objective, and external factors / emerging issues.
Goal 1 – Core Mission: Deliver real results to provide Americans with clean air, land and water.
- Objective 1.1 – Improve Air Quality.
- Objective 1.2 – Provide for Clean and Safe Water.
- Objective 1.3 – Revitalize Land and Prevent Contamination.
- Objective 1.4 – Ensure Safety of Chemicals in the Marketplace.
Goal 2 – Cooperative Federalism: Administer the law, as Congress intended, to refocus the Agency on its statutory obligations under the law.
- Objective 2.1 – Enhance Shared Accountability.
- Objective 2.2 – Increase Transparency and Public Participation.
Goal 3 – Rule of Law and Process: Rebalance the power between Washington and the states to create tangible environmental results for the American people.
- Objective 3.1 – Compliance with the Law.
- Objective 3.2 – Create Consistency and Certainty.
- Objective 3.3 – Prioritize Robust Science.
- Objective 3.4 – Streamline and Modernize.
- Objective 3.5 – Improve Efficiency and Effectiveness.
In addition, the Strategic Plan targets specific objectives as two-year agency priority goals for the strategic measures. These goals 'reflect the top near-term implementation performance improvement priorities of an agency’s leadership.'
The explicit environmental goals that are explained within the plan include:
- Improved measurement of air quality and increase the areas of high air quality standards (p.6) ,
- Improving drinking water infrastructure (p. 9),
- Accelerating progress on Superfund sites to clean up contaminated sites (p. 12), and
- Effectively implement the Toxic Substances Control Act and the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act of 2016 (p. 15).
The Strategic Plans suggests that the EPA might be moving towards reducing regulatory burden (note: this is not explicitly written in the plan). The EPA does plan on:
- 'Accelerating permitting related-decisions.' (p. 34)
- 'Eliminate unnecessary or duplicative reporting burdens to the regulated community.' (p. 22)
- 'Reduce procurement processing time' and 'reduce unnecessary or unused office, warehouse, and lab space.' (p. 36)
The EPA plans to increase 'efficiency and effectiveness' in a variety of ways, as illustrated by the following Strategic Measures:
- 'Reduce the time between the identification of an environmental law violation and its correction.' and 'increase environmental law compliance rate.' (p. 26)
- 'Meet legal deadlines imposed on EPA.' (p. 29)
- 'Increase the percentage of decisions using EPA research and scientific analysis.' (p. 31)
As has been noted by a number of news outlets, the EPA Strategic Plan does not include any mention of climate change. This issue has been the focus of the vast majority of comments written by citizens and organizations on the plan.
Every 4 years, the EPA is required by the Government Performance and Results Act of 2010 to revise its Strategic Plan. As described in the full text of this draft Strategic Plan, senior managers at the EPA will 'use this Plan routinely as a management tool to guide the Agency’s path forward, tracking progress and assessing and addressing risks and challenges that could potentially interfere with the EPA’s ability to accomplish its goals.'
The EPA 'is also in the process of deploying a Lean management system specifically designed to deliver measurable results that align with this Plan. Lean is a set of principles and tools designed to identify and eliminate waste from processes while maximizing customer value and return on taxpayer investment. Under Administrator Scott Pruitt’s leadership, EPA will become a Lean organization.'
Contributor: M.S. Student, Quantitative Ecology