U.S. EPA Headquarters Library
                                                                   Mail code 3201
                                                             1200 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
                                                                Washington DC 20460
                         EPA'S CURRENT OVERSIGHT PRACTICES
                       09tOS   OQ  *
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                                             Program  Evaluation Division
                                             Office of Management Systems
                                               and Evaluation
                                             August 1983

                      TABLE OF CONTENTS
Chapter I ....  Introduction
Chapter II ...   Major Findings  	  3
Chapter III .. .
     How the  Programs  View and Approach
     Oversight- ...............   $
Chapte.: IV ...   How the Program Conduct Oversight  ...  12
Chapter V . .
.  .   How the Programs Review and Evaluate
     Permits/Grants'and Compliance
     Monitoring/Enforcement 	   23


     The Deputy Administrator's Task Force on State-Federal Roles
commissioned a study to determine how the Agency currently conducts
performance and quality review of the federally-mandated environmental
programs that have been delegated to the States.  The report  is
descriptive rather than prescriptive, since  it covers only current
practice, leaving the job of shaping new methods of oversight to
others undertaking work for the Task Force.
     The schedule of the State-Federal Roles Task Force dictated
this .study be completed in four weeks.  As a result, the study
team relied to a large extent on existing and readily available
data.  For example, while all program offices were interviewed at
length, only two of 10 Regions participated in the entire review.
The time frame also eliminated exploring in great detail oversight
procedures for each program managed by a given program office.

     The interview results convey a summary picture.of EPA oversight
and do not substitute for a more fully researched and documented
evaluation.  Nevertheless, the study team believes this report
covers the major.issues in oversight and that the reader may confi-
dently draw general conclusions from the findings set forth.


     The study builds on data collected from the Headquarters
program offices.  The bulk of the information comes from interviews
conducted in Headquarters, to which is added information gathered
in telephone interviews with two Regions and two Air program offices
in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina.  In all Headquarters
interviews, the interviewees were asked to speak in terms of EPA
overseeing the States, not Headquarters overseeing the Regions.
For each of the 13 delegated programs, the interviewers met with
one or two people expert on the subject of State oversight, using
a standard, interview format reflected in the outline of this report.

Report format;            .    -

     The information collected for this report is presented in
Chapters III-V.  Chapter III explores EPA's general approach and
attitude towards oversight.  Chapter IV presents an analysis of
how the oversight process is conducted and Chapter V explores in
more detail how oversight of specific program activities is conducted

     The programs interviewed are listed below,  under the rele-
vant program office.

Office of Wa-ter:
                  o Drinking Water
                  o UIC
                  o Water Planning
                  o Permits
                  o Compliance
                  o Construction Grants
Office,of Air, Noise and Radiation:
                   o Air Enforcement
                   o Existing Sources
                   o New Sources
Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response:
                   o RCRA Permits
                   o RCRA Compliance Monitoring
Office of Pesticides and Toxic Substances:
                   o Pesticides Enforcement
Office of Administration:
                   o Grants Administration Division

Chapter II,
1.  Oversight Policy and Approach

o  The top two-reasons cited by the programs  for  conducting
   oversight are: 1) to .make sure the purposes of the enabling
   legislation are being met (5 programs), and 2)  to develop  a
   cooperative relationship with the States  (3 programs).

o  The lack of a consistent national policy/guidance is  identi-
   fied by 85% of the program offices as the  weakest aspect
   of SPA oversight.

o  62% of EPA program offices do not have written guidelines
   for oversight of delegated State programs.

o  EPA's oversight system varies a great deal from Region to
 .  Region, in terms of both purpose and methods.

o  Three Regions have written Regional oversight.guidance currently
   in operation.

o  The Regional Offices strongly emphasize the need for  training
   of Regional and State staff, for technical assistance to
   the States, and for improvements in enforcement and com-
2. Implementation of.Oversight

o  EPA sets and tracks formal oversight objectives.  In 75% of
   the program offices, Headquarters sets and tracks oversight
   objectives for the Regions.  95% of the Regions set and
   track oversight objectives with the States.

o  50% of EPA's programs target the examination of State ac-
   complishments in speci-fic activities such as permit develop-
   ment and grant reviews.

o  95% of the program offices include the results of review and
   evaluation of State programs in an accountability document.

o  The overall purpose of review of State program planning and
   management is to ensure that the States are complying with
   regulations and that the purposes of the- enabling legislation
   are being met.

o  80% of the program offices, stated the primary reason for
   communication between EPA and the States is to discuss
   specific problems in State programs.  Telephone calls are
   the primary means of communication for 95% of EPA's programs.

o  EPA does not emphasize .training and technical assistance:

   - _ No formal training is provided for Regional staff con-
      ducting oversight;

      Training and technical assistance for State staff are not
      emphasized when problems in State programs are found,
      unless there is major turnover in State staff;

   -  Use of IPAs for State assistance is virtually
      non-existent; and

   - • EPA specialists are used very infrequently to directly
      assist States, and only for very short periods of time
      (i.e., several days).

3. Specific Oversight Activities; Review of Permits/Grants and
   Cbmpl iance Mon i tor ing/Enf brcerneh t      '
   "" ..... *•

o  The primary purpose of review and evaluation of permits/ grants
   is to ensure compliance with EPA regulations and a focus
   on national priorities.


o  When individual mistakes are found in either active or
   closed permit/grant files, EPA most often works with thi
   State to correct specific errors.

o  83% of the programs report that wnen permit/grant files are
   reviewed, Regions target specific categories (i.e., major
  • permits vs. minor permits).

Compliance/Enforcement                    .      -             '

o  No one method dominates selection of compliance monitor-
   ing/enforcement files for review.

o  Negotiation with States is the preferred EPA response to
   patterns of problems in State investigation and enforce-
   ment cases.

      The objective of this chapter is to facilitate an under-
 standing of the philosophy and  general approach behind EPA's
 oversight of State programs.   To do this,  this section presents
 the  definition and objectives  of oversight in general, the status
 of oversight guidance,  incentives for State cooperation, and the
 overall  strengths  and weaknesses of EPA oversight policy.   This
 general  information provides  the background for the more specific
 details  of the oversight  process described in Chapters IV and V.


      In  trying to  depict  how  EPA currently conducts oversight,
 the  first step was to determine how much formal oversight guidance
.is.used  by Headquarters and the Regions when overseeing environ-
 mental programs delegated to _the States.

      The responses to this question show there is only "a brief
 history  of specific oversight  guidance in  the Agency.   However,
'as delegation becomes a reality for a high percentage  of EPA's
 programs, the Agency program  offices are beginning to  turn their
 attention to specific guidance for the Regions to use  when overseeing
 delegated programs.   One  interviewee said, "Getting Regional
 oversight of States off the ground is dominating our thoughts."

 a.   Oversight guidance

      Six of the 13 program offices interviewed said they do have
 defined, written guidance for  the Regions  to use when  doing
 oversight.  Of those six, two  said their system has been in
 place less than four months,  and another said the guidance was

      Of  the seven  programs that,do not have specific oversight
 gu-idance, two have plans  in draft stages.

 b.   Flexibility

      For the six programs that  have oversight, guidance, half
 said the Regions had a  lot of  flexibility  in its use.   Two said
 that the Regions have some flexibility in  using Headquarters
 oversight guidance,  and one reported no flexibility.

c.  Regional Variation

     Respondents reported considerable Regional variation in
the oversight process.  Half reported a great deal of variation,
while half reported some variation.

     Those program offices allowing Regional variation in the
oversight process gave several reasons, including: differences
Li«wW«Ben the States in each Region, emphasis on decentralization,
relations between particular States and their Regions, and maturity
of State programs.

    . One respondent said, "Our policy is not a 'get out of the
way and let the States do it1 policy.  We do want the States to
have a clear understanding of how overview will be done (methods
and procedures), but we also want to allow for creative thinking
[by the States] ."

                          Regional View

a.  Oversight policy   '  .                       •

     All 10 Regions were surveyed to find out which have an
oversight policy.  Three Regions have a written oversight policy
for delegated State programs.  Of the seven remaining, two are in
the process of  developing a policy, one has a written policy
that has not yet been implemented and another has a policy, but it
is not written  down.

    Response                •          Number of respondents

Policy                                        3
No policy                                     7

b. Flexibility

     Two Regions were surveyed for this and all the following
questions.  Both Regions reported a great deal of flexibility in
using oversight guidance from Headquarters.

     One Region pointed out that flexibility is most evident when
Regional guidance preceded Headquarters guidance.  The other
Region reported all programs except one have a great deal of
flexibility despite required accountability systems and annual
reviews.  Even  the remaining program has some degree of flexibility,
after minimum requirements are met.


          One aim of the study was to determine if formal oversight
     objectives are currently developed and tracked by Headquarters
     and the Regional Offices.

          Although in general most of the programs said they did
     not have national guidance or a defined system of oversight,
     most Headquarters program offices do set formal oversight
     objectives for the Regional oversight of State programs.  The
     Regional Offices in turn set oversight objectives in cooperation
     with the States.                                        -

          Nine of the 13 program offices interviewed said Headquarters
     does set and track formal, written oversight objectives for
     the Regions at the beginning of the year.  All but one of those
     offices reported that the Regions develop oversight objectives
     using State input.

                              Regional View

          Both Regions develop written oversight objectives together
     with the States.  These objectives-are tracked, primarily
     through grant agreements.  One Region also uses State-EPA Agreements
     (SEAs)  and EPA's personnel performance standards.  The other
     Region prefers grant agreements, which can be used as an EPA
     request for specific State performance, and views SEAs primarily
     as State requests for EPA action.

          When asked whether the States'  hav.ing delegated authority,
     primacy,  or authorization to run a program has an impact on
     oversight, most respondents (nine of 13)  said this variation  .
     made no difference in their oversight policy..

          Four program offices did perceive a  difference in oversight
     pplicy dependent on whether the States had delegated authority,.
     primacy,  'or authorization. However;  they  were unable to describe
     specific  differences.

                              Regional view

          The  two Regions^ like the program offices, generally
     reported  no differences in oversight policy.


     An additional focus of the  inquiry was whether incentives
exist for States to cooperate with EPA program guidance.

     Nine of 13 respondents reported that incentives are built
into their oversight programs.   Funding/grants and greater State
autonomy were mentioned most frequently, by five and three
respondents respectively.  Keeping "the Feds out of [States']
hair" was cited as a strong incentive.  Of the .four respondents
who did not perceive incentives, two reported professionalism as
an implicit incentive.

                          Regional View

     One Region perceiving its program as having incentives
~ited EPA's role in setting similar standards between States
to eliminate an unfair competitive edge in industrial recruit-
ment as the greatest incentive.  The same Region also viewed
grants and technical assistance  as incentives, as well as "our
being there and caring."

     The other Region described  its oversight program as having
"very long sticks and short carrots."


     The following responses describe a general picture of
oversight as viewed from Headquarters program offices.  Along
with giving a summary view, program offices categorized their
oversight program as either an ongoing or an audit system.

     Five of the 13 respondents  defined oversight as ensuring
States meet the requirements of  the law and EPA policy.  Three
respondents described oversight  as a cooperative State-EPA effort,
Of these three, one respondent emhpasized the identification
and correction of problems, and  interstate communication of
innovative solutions.
     Description of oversight           Number of times mentioned

Ensure requirements of law                           '
     and policy are met                              5
Develop and maintain cooperative
     State-EPA relationship                          3
Early warning system to identify
     problems                                        2
Assess State capabilities                            1
Describe critical areas for State
     program implementation and
     develop performance standards                   1
Program is inconsistent                              1

     Type of oversight

Ongoing only
Audit only
Ongoing and audit
    Number of times mentioned
                     RegJLonal View

     One Region said it aims to assure adequate State performance
and conducts audits at certain points during the year.  The
other Region emphasizes developing a good working relationship
with the States, based on mutual understanding of State and EPA
goals and objectives.  For the second Region, EPA requirements
and formal objectives are viewed in the context of the State/EPA
relationship.  This Region has an ongoing oversight system.

     Program representatives were asked to describe the strengths
of their oversight system.                         .  .

     Responses varied widely.  Four respondents identified over^.
sight functions such as information collection and evaluation as
strong points of Regional oversight.  Program areas such as permits,
inspection, and compliance were mentioned by an additional four
respondents.  Three emphasized maintaining a cooperative relationship
with the States as the main strength in oversight.  Each program
felt they were.doing well in a given area except for two offices,
which stated they were.doing nothing or very little well.

     Program responses below are grouped into .three main categories.
     Area of oversight

Oversight functions:
  — Information collection
  —• Evaluation
          Number of times mentioned
Program areas:
  — Permits                .       2
  — Inspections                   1
  — Compliance                    1

  — Cooperative relation-
     ship with States              3
  — Meeting legal require-
     ments            •             1
  — Nothing specific, pro-
     gram runs well                1
  •— Not doing well in any area    2

                          Regional View

     Both Regions emphasized the importance of a good relationship
with the States.

     One Region cited as a strength in oversight its willingness
to allow a great deal of State input (which results in increased
State commitment) and to have the involvement of high level Regional
and State officials in planning goals.  The Region identified the
willingness of its staff to make specific commitments as an addi-
tional strength.
     Programs were asked to describe which areas of their oversight
process need to be strengthened.    .            .

     Respondents identified a variety of areas for improvement.
Eleven offices cited the lack of a consistent national oversight
policy as a major problem.  Other areas mentioned were the need
for improved State accountability, and the lack of incentives
and leverage to encourage State compliance.  One office cited
the need for "national program guidance for State reviews, the
assurance guidance will be implemented, and resources to do the
     Weak areas in oversight

Consistent national policy/guidance
State accountability
Front-end planning for Regions and States
incentives/leverage           -
Resources (people)
Feedback on EPA policy
Self-initiated reviews
                                    Number of times mentioned


                          Reqional View

     .Both Regions emphasized the need for training.

     One Region emphasized training in oversight for Regional
staff, particularly in techniques for assisting poor performance
States without making them feel guilty.  They would also like to
be able to reduce oversight for States that are managing their
delegated programs well.

     The other Region pointed out the need for staff capable of
providing training and technical assistance to States does not
decrease with delegation.  "Oversight and technical assistance
are the name of the.game."  Therefore senior, experienced staff
should not be cut from Regional Offices when programs are delegated.
This Region also emphasized the need for improvements in enforcement
and compliance.



     This chapter examines the nuts and bolts issue of how EPA
conducts its oversight.  Topics discussed include the specific
elements of a State program looked at in oversight, when reviews
are done, and the uses of review results.  Respondents explained
the overall purpose of their oversight, defined their oversight
goal and the methods used to achieve that goal*

     The issue of State-EPA communication is also explored in this
section.  Respondents discuss both the reasons for and methods of
communication with the States, as well as their formal information
collection systems.   A"discussion of training of EPA and State
employees, and the use of EPA specialists and IPAs is included
in this chapter as well.

     In order to gain an understanding of the goal of Agency
oversight, it is important to note what the program offices look
at when'overseeing a delegated program.

a.  General Philosophy

     One program office said it looks at each specific and discrete
element of a State program;
     Two programs said they look at some elements of the program;
     Six said they look at the program as a whole, not at any
specific elements, and
     Three program offices said they look at something totally
different (i.e. results, compliance outcomes, basis for and number
of permits).

b.  Specific Items Overseen

     When asked to identify specific elements overviewed, those
elements selected most frequently from a provided list were:

                                                 Number of .times
        Element                                     mentioned

Compliance and monitoring procedures                    7
Grants                                                  5
Overall program planning and management                 5
Draft permits                                           4
Final permits                                           4
Financial and accounting procedures                     4
Permft process and procedures                           3
In-progress and completed enforcement actions           3
Other (Specific items spelled out in the.law)           1

c.  Most Important Areas__o£ Oversight

     Interviewers asked each program office to identify what
area is most important in their overview of State programs.
Those items identified include:

                                                 Number of times
        Area •        '                               mentioned	

Permits and permitting                                  2
Grant review                                            2
File review/audit                                   •    2
Up-front planning                        '               2
Fulfillment by States of inspection guidance and
     annual review                             •         l
Daily contact to develop an early warning system        1
Pretreatment program implementation                     1
Compliance trends                                      . 1
Overall program management                              1

                          Regional View

     Of the two Regional offices interviewed/ one-said it reviews
each program element (named .In 'b1 above).  The other Region
said it looks at the program as a whole.  That Region said it
performs a more stringent overview in the first year of delegation
and subsequently aims to reduce reviews of specific program
elements in favor of overall program planning and management.

     One Region said it views oversight as a package, with all-
elements equally important; the other cited review of compliance
monitoring procedures as their main concern.

     The following series of questions deals with why and how
programs conduct reviews and evaluations of the States' overall
program planning and management.  The questions sought to determine
any underlying philosophies guiding the Agency in overseeing the

a.  Overall Purpose

     Interviewers first asked each respondent to define the
overall purpose of their oversight activities.  The purposes of
review and evaluation mentioned most often are: to make sure
regulations are being followed, to evaluate grant commitments and
to determine whether the purpose of the enabling legislation is
being met.

Review of Program Planning and Management;
        Primary Purpose
Number of times
Ensure States are complying with regulations
Ensure the pvrposes of the program (i.e. CAA, CWA)
     are being met
Identify State problems
Ensure State are meeting grant commitments
Ensure States have adequate resources/capacity to
     operate the program
     After that general question, the 13 program representatives
pointed out, from a provided list, one or more specific elements
which could also be counted as purposes of their review and evaluation,
        Secondary Purposes

Assure consistency with national policy
Identify problems in State programs
Ensure proper use of funds
Compare State accomplishments against commitments
information collection to fulfill congressional
Identify needs for technical assistance/training
Identify patterns of mistakes in State decisions
Identify priority State environmental problems
Identify individual mistakes in State decisions

b.  Goal of Review
Number of times

   '  . 12

     Avoiding mistakes in State programs is the most frequently
cited goal of Regional review.
Avoid big mistakes
Avoid most mistakes
 —  Avoid most big mistakes
     Avoid a pattern of mistakes
 —  Determine what is positive about a program
        and spread the word
 —  No goal, we haven't determined what a mistake is
 —  We don't grade papers, but seek to evaluate
        effectiveness of the overall program


c.  Methods of Review

      In  the 13 program  interviews conducted,  11 mentioned  on-site
interviews as one method they use in conducting oversight.   Prom a
provided list, the respondents  selected one or more methods  they
use in oversight.  The  small number of open file  reviews done
suggest  that few real-time reviews and many after-the-fact reviews
are conducted.

      Six programs said  they do  not conduct file reviews, open or
closed, as a part of the overall program review and evaluation.

                                                  Number of times
        Methods                                     mentioned

On-site  interviews                                     11
Mid-year or annual evaluation                          10
Review of required State reports                        8
Front-end planning                     .                 8
Telephone .                                              8
Meetings in State offices                               7
File  reviews, complete                 .                 .6
File  reviews, open                        .           •  . 4
Financial audits .       -     ' .           .               3

d.  Time-frame'for Reviews

      For this question, the programs come down evenly divided on
the question of real-time or after-the-fact reviews.  There  is
some  inconsistency between those programs who said they do
real-time reviews in part *c" above and those programs that
said  they do real-time  reviews  in this question.  The programs that
said  they do after-the-fact reviews in 'c1 and in this question
are consistent.

      Response     •                                Yes

After-the-fact reviews .                           6
Real-time reviews                                 5
Both   .                                           2

e.  Overview of How Results are Used

      From a provided list, respondents identified how they
use the information acquired during oversight.

        Use                                Number of times mentioned

Negotiate and place conditions  in grants                 9
Provide on-site assistance/consultation                 7
Provide training to State employees                     6
Make  changes in grant funding             .              5
Provide technical reports, manuals,  other documents     4
Intervene in open or active State permits/actions       2
Override State decisions on completed permits/actions   2

                          Regional View

     The same Region that said  it oversees  specific elements  in  a
program indicated specific reasons for doing evaluations, while
the other Region said its primary purpose  is to ensure  the  States
meet Federal requirements, and  to work with the States  as a partner.
Both Regions seek to avoid the  big mistakes, and  said they  conduct
predominantly real-time reviews.

     In performing oversight, one Region said  it  uses front-end
planning and mid-year/annual evaluations while the other said it
emphasizes encouraging informal relationships  and frequent
face-to-face meetings.


a .  Exit Briefings

     All but one of the programs interviewed said they  have
exit briefings, reports or close-out meetings at  the conclusion
of a review.  One respondent added this did vary  from Region
to Region.                                           •

b.  Use of Results in Policy Documents
                                      .              *
     Twelve of 13 respondents said the results of reviews are fed
into a policy or accountability document.   The one respondent
who said results were not used reported much regional variation.

c.  Application of Results to Existing Agreements

     The programs that feed the. review results into some type of
policy document named several specific documents:

        Uses                                Number of times mentioned

Grant agreement                                         6
State-EPA Agreement (SEA)                                3
Memorandum of Agreement                                 2
Mid-year report                                         1
Cooperative Agreement               .                    1
Annual review                                           1

d.  Follow-yg

     Eleven of the 13 programs said they do follow-up to see what
tne States do with the review results.  Some added that this
occurs during the next regularly scheduled  review.

                          Regional View
     Both Regions questioned said they have exit  briefings and
follow-up after an evaluation.


     One specific result of review and  evaluation  is  the  possible
changing in  the  level of future oversight  activities.   Most
program offices  indicated their level of oversight  does change
based on past State performance.  Only  one said  their  program is
"fairly well set in concrete."  Another went  so  far as to.say
that oversight procedures for its program  are "set  in  jello."

     Several program offices did say their formal reporting
systems were set by law and therefore can  not be adjusted.

a.  Kinds of Changes                             Yes

Adjust the amount of State autonomy            '9
Change the frequency of reviews, assistance       3
Other (Depends on Region, State capabilities)     2

b.  Effects of Changes in State Staff

    . Most- respondents said turnover, in  State  staffs rarely cause
any problems.  Specific actions taken by the  Agency due to'a .
Change in State staff are:

Provide special training
Intensify oversight
Do nothing
 — Provide contract dollars if needed
 — Develop lines of communication
 — Varies by Region
 — Depends on the staff level of the change
Number of times

                          Regional View

     The two Regions questioned take sharply different approaches
to flexibility in the level of oversight.  One tends to make no
adjustments, while the other will adjust oversight based on State
performance and aims to maintain established State capability.

     In regard to a change in State staff, one Region said it
does provide special'training. The other Region said a change in
State staff is not a problem since the States promote from within.
This Region does work to get to know the new people in order to
maintain good communications.


     One possible result of oversight could be the use of EPA
specialists or IPAs, or the training of State people operating the
programs.  Current practices in these areas are examined below.

a.  Specialists

     When EPA specialists are used as a result of review and
evaluation, they are usually placed in the State office for
x ppriod of several days.  Although infrequently used, special-
ists are usually brought in as a result both of State request
and EPA suggestion.  In no program were EPA  specialists used
solely at EPA's suggestion.
                                                 Number of times
        Where                                       mentioned

In the State office                                     7
On-site at the facility                                 3
Other                                                   4


Days              .                                  -6
Months                                                  2
Six months                 -           .        •   '      . 1
One year                                                0 •

        Source of Request

State request                                           4
EPA suggestion                                          0
Both                                                    6

b.  IPAs

     Seven of the 13 program offices interviewed indicated they
do, on occasion, use the Intergovernmental Personnel Act to
provide needed personnel to a State. However, those programs that
said IPAs are used also said that at the most this represented only
one or two people per year per Region.

c.  Training of State Employees

     If training of State employees is provided as a result of an
evaluation, it is evenly distributed between on-the-job, in the
Regional office, in the State office and at other facilities.

                                                 Number of times
        Where                                       mentioned

In the State office                                 '    5
In the Regional office                                  4
On-the-job                                              4
In Headquarters                                         1
Other (seminars, universities)                          3

     The number of State employees trained  in a Region per  year
ranges from 10 to several hundred.  One interviewee said, "We
should do more training.  State staff can be as capable  [as EPA
staffs], if not more so."

                          Regional View

     There is Regional variation  in the use of EPA specialists and
IPAs.  Both Regional representatives said their Regions  do
offer training for State employees.  However, one Regional
spokesman emphasized the need for training"  funds in the
budget and for an increased use of IPAs.  The same spokesman said the
personnel provided by Regions through IPAs  are of high quality
(since the States are fami-liar with Regional personnel), and
therefore the IPA system is not abused in the Regions.


     None of the 13 program representatives said their program
has a formal training program for Regional  staff conducting

     Some program offices did indicate the  need for .such a  program,
while a few said training programs like this are: being developed
for. use in 1984.         .                   -.,-..     -    '
                          Regional View

     Both Regions interviewed said they basically have only
informal training programs for Regional staff conducting oversight.
One Region has formal training proposed for 1984, the other
relies on informal, on-the-job training in  the form of a developmental
program for senior staff.  Use of junior staff to perform oversight
is not viewed as appropriate.

     As one interviewee pointed out, "Oversight  is easy when you
have good communication with a State."  Another  said,  "We have
more communication with some States.  If we get  a lot  of
communication, we know the status of the program.  If  there is no
communication, we don't know and therefore we tend to  think the
program is bad.".                                             ;

     The following responses give an idea of how EPA and the
States communicate on oversight matters.

a.  Methods of Communication

     From a provided list, 12 program respondents selected the
telephone as the means of communication they use the most.
Respondents could select more than one method.

    Method of Conrniunication

Meetings in State offices
Meetings in SPA offices
Informal get-togethers
Written communication

b.  Reasons for Communication
Number of times mentioned

            12  •
     An opportunity to discuss specific problems  in a  State
program was mentioned by 10 out of the 13  program respondents as
the most important reason for communication.
Number of times mentioned
To discuss specific problems in State programs
To communicate a change in EPA rules and regs
To collect basic information
To find out State needs

c.  Initiator of Communication
    . There is no clear leader in who,, the States or the Agency,
initiates contact.  Most respondents said it depends- on the.
situation.                          '      -                      .

d.  Frequency

     All but one of the 13 program offices said the Regions and the
States communicate several times a month, eight of those 12 adding
that contact is usually weekly,, if not daily.  The other respondent
said communication varies a great deal from Region to Region.

e.  Learning of State Needs

     EPA spokesmen said the Agency usually learns of State needs
three ways (some respondents gave more than one answer).

Phone calls
Regularly scheduled meetings
Other (intermittent meetings, letters)

                          Regional View
Number of times mentioned

     The two Regions interviewed showed an interesting contrast
in their reasons for and methods of communication with the

     «0ne Region said it relies mostly on meetings in State offices
for contact, but also uses the other modes of communication
mentioned above.  This Region said the most important reason for


contact is to communicate changes in EPA rules and regulations
and that i.t usually initiates contact with its States.  This
Region reported direct communication occurring several times a
month and said they usually learn of State needs through regularly
scheduled meetings and complaints/alerts from third parties.

     The other Region interviewed said the most important reason
for contact is to maintain good working relationships with the
State, and that both the States and the Region initiate contact.
This Region said it relies primarily on telephone calls and
informal get-togethers and reported daily direct communication
with the States.  Daily contact allows this Region to be
aware of State needs and, "if you pay attention to the States,
you will find out as you go along."


     This study found that 10 of 13 programs do have a formal
reporting or information collection system as a part of their over-
sight system and the information collected is used for several
purposes, mainly to measure progress or success and to allocate-
grant funds.

a.  Names.of Systems used      .

PCS -- Permit Compliance System         --   .."       ,
       Quarterly Non-compliance Reports                i
GICS — Grants Information Control System         .
MSIS — Model State Information System
APRS — Annual Federal Reporting System
MAS — Management Accountability System
FRDS — Federal Reporting Data System  .
HWDMS — Hazardous Waste Data Management System
Grants Regulation System

b.  Types of Information Collected

     Repondents reported they collected information on grants,
permits (how many issued, when, expiration date), inspections
and compliance rates (number of violations).

c.  Uses of Information

     From a provided list, the 13 interviewees selected uses for the
information collected.
                                                 Number of times
        Uses                               .         mentioned

To measure progress or success                          8
To allocate grant funds                                 4
To fulfill legal or policy requirements                 4
To plan the obligation and outlay of funds              3
Other:                                                  6
 — Congressional inquiry (2)
 — Budget (2)
 — Identify problems to justify increasing inspections
 — Track commitments

                         Regional View

     Both Regions have a formal reporting or information sys-
tem and use data to measure progress in meeting program

     In both Regions, the systems feed into existing ones for
programs.  In'addition to the main purpose of data collection
described above, one Region also uses data to fulfill legal or
policy obligations and to identify problems.  The other Region
uses Construction Grants data to plan the obligation and out-
lay of funds.

     Discovering how programs review and evaluate specific acti-
vities touches at the core of oversight.  Two oversight activity
categories — permits and grants, and compliance^ monitoring and
enforcement — were selected for close examination.  The program
responses provide more information on how two specific acti-
vities are reviewed and evaluated in the oversight process.

     Not every program answered both the permit/grant and
the compliance monitoring/enforcement sections.  Usually,  -
one of the two categories was selected depending upon which one
applied to the particular program's activities.
a.   Purpose           .       , .       .  ,     .

     In order to understand why the programs review perm-its
and grants, it is.important to know the program's purpose in
doing the review.

     Most of the respondents said the purpose of reviewing permits
and grants was to ensure the States are complying with program
regulations.  Several mentioned the purpose is to make sure the
State program.is focusing on national priorities as outlined
in the various program policy guidances.   Two programs said the
purpose of review is to evaluate .how well the States make
decisions on spending grant funds.

     The responses  did not cluster around a particular item,
although all emphasized that in reviewing permits and grants
they are in some way checking up on the States, rather than
intentionally seeking ways to assist them.
                                    Number of times
Ensure States are complying with regulations            4
Ensure States are focusing on national priorities       3
Evaluate how States are choosing to spend grant funds   2
Ensure proper procedures and data analysis is being
     used                                               1
Ensure that acceptable results are being obtained       1


 b.  Method of file selection

      One objective of  the  study was to determine what method is
 used  to  select  the permit  or  grant  files  to be  reviewed.

      From a  provided  list, six  programs selected "target
 specific classes  and examine  all the files  in  that  class,
 major and minor."  Three programs look at a percentage
• frr**  cnocial classes.   A few  evaluate a random  selection of
 permits  or grants drawn from  the total file inventory.

                                                Number of times
      Methods       .                              selected

 All permits/grants in  one  or  more specified
      classes                                         6
 Fixed percentage  of permits/grants,  randomly
      selected from specified  classes                 3
 Fixed percentage  of permits/grants,  randomly
      selected from general inventory                 2
 c.   Time-frame       .."".-•

      A purpose  of  the  study was  to  ascertain  whether  file
 reviews  are  real-time  or  after-the-fact.

      The responses showed that reviews  are  almost evenly divided
 between  those two  time-frames.
                                               Number of  times
     Response                                     selected	

After-the-fact                                       5
Real-time                                            3
Both                                                 1
     A goal of the study was. to discover how EPA responds in
the following situations:

d.  Mistakes in draft permits/grafts

     Generally, the programs are fairly low-key about  individual
mistaken at the draft stage.  Most programs said they  negotiate
and work with the State to correct the error.


Negotiate to satisfy requirements
Due to State program variation, mistakes
     are inevitable
All errors are worked out before they become
     a problem
Tell States to correct
EPA corrects the problem
Number of times
e.  Mistakes in final permits/grants

     The usual response is to direct the State to correct the
error.  Several programs said there are never errors  in the
final permits because mistakes are always discovered  and corrected
in the draft stage.
   *                      '                 f
Mistakes are always corrected:in draft stage
Downplay and correct, unless the State acted
     in bad-faith
Instruct the States to correct the mistakes
Consult with the States, in order to prevent
Number of times
f. Patterns of mistakes

     Overall, training is provided in response to patterns of
mistakes.  Otherwise, EPA makes comments and requires appro-
priate changes to-be made in future permits/grants.

Provide training
Make comments and 'require changes in future
SPA corrects the sample, ignores the rest
     Provide training, money and exert political
     Errors are worked out in advance
     Place conditions on grants
Number of times

                        Regional View

     One Region identified its purpose for reviewing permits or
grants as a method to ascertain whether the State has adequate
resources to run a uniform and consistent program.  The other
Region reviews permits and grants in order to spot mistakes that
might develop into major problems.

     Both Regions target certain specified classes of permits
or grants to review.  One Region said they take a "judgment
sample," based on their knowledge of problem areas.  Reviews in
both Regions are real-time and after-the-fact.

     The general response to mistakes in permits and grants is
to work with the States to correct the problem.  When in draft
form, each Region offers comments to bring the mistake to the
attention of the State.  Response to mistakes in final permits
and grants varies, depending on the situation and severity.
One Region said it waits to see if a pattern develops.
Patterns of mistakes warrant close negotiation with the State
to solve the problem.  One Region noted patterns often occur
when new regulations do not get communicated to the States.

     Seven aspects of EPA's review and evaluation of compliance
monitoring and enforcement activities are presented in the
following subjects.
    The study sought to determine why compliance monitoring and
enforcement activities are reviewed by the Regional Offices.

     From the responses, it is clear that no one purpose
dominates.  There is a slight emphasis on reviewing in oraer
to assess -the response of the States to violations and problems
and to .ensure the facilities are operating in compliance.
                                         Number .of times
Adequacy of response to problems/violations     2
Ensure facilities operating in compliance       2
Determine if priorities are being met           1
          overall program improvement           1

Method of file selection
     The study showed there is a great deal of variation  in
the way inspection and/or case files are selected for review.

Fixed percentage of inspection/case files,
     randomly selected
Fixed percentage of inspection/case files,
     randomly selected from specified
All files from specified categories
Other: Selection based on Region's criteria
                                       Number -of times
     Respondents were asked how their programs, through the
Regional Offices, respond in the following situations:

c.   Mistakes in active inspection files    *          . _

     Generally, the respondents said the Regional Offices
work with the States to correct errors, but some Regions  -
merely identify the problem in a program review.

Notify State and work to correct problem
Note problem in program review
Response varies a great deal
                                          Number of times

d.  Inappropriate State action in active enforcement case files

    If the Regional Office finds the State has taken ah inappropriate
action,.the usual response is to .work with the State to correct
the .problem.  If the situation- is not corrected or if the problem
is severe, then EPA takes a more active role and intervenes.
   -  Response

Work with State
Step in if case is severe
Response.varies from Region to Region
No cases of inappropriate action
                                         Number of times


    Inadequate State investigation in closed inspection file

     Responses showed there is a wide variation of actions
taken if EPA finds an inadequate State investigation in a
closed inspection file.
                                              Number of times
     Response                                   mentioned
Allow States the opportunity to correct
Work with States
If no action, move on to litigation
Issue notice of violation to the source
Put mistakes in program summary
EPA repeats inspection
f. Inappropriate State action in closed enforcement case

     The few (4) who responded to this question, indicated
they generally work with the States to correct the problem.
g.  Patterns of problems ininvestigation or'enforcement cases

     Negotiation is the preferred EPA response when patterns
of problems in investigation or enforcement cases are found.

Work with States to correct
Strengthen planning process
Provide assistance and training
Tighten up on States to correct the problem
Number of times

                        Regional View
     In regards to the purpose of reviewing compliance moni-
toring and enforcement, one Region alms for consistency with
established procedures.  The other Region emphasized enforcement
is a weak area in their oversight program, because enforcement
is not well defined and a very sensitive area with the States.
In reviewing compliance monitoring and enforcement files, boih
Regions choose special classes to examine.


     In terms of mistakes in active inspection files, both Re-
gions look for. a pattern and established practice of mistakes.
One Region said it will work with the States .to correct indi-
vidual mistakes but usually does not get involved in enforce-
ment actions, while the other said it will take direct enforce-
ment action,.but only after conferring with a State.

     When asked what it did if it finds a closed State investi-
gation .or enforcement action to be inadequate, one Region said
it does'not review closed inspection/enforcement files, the
other, said it views compliance/enforcement as ongoing; there-
fore, those files are never closed.  That Region added that
it looks-:for patterns of mistakes and asks the^State to correct
major errors. This Region said it also may provide additional
training or increase the number of joint EPA/State inspections
performed each year. .     -            >