National Advisory Council for
                      Environmental Policy and Technology
April 25, 2003

Governor Christine Todd Whitman
U. S. Environmental Protection Agency
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC20460

Dear Governor Whitman:

       On behalf of the National Advisory Council for Environmental Policy and Technology
(NACEPT), I am pleased to forward comments and recommendations regarding the Agency's
draft 2003-2008 Strategic Plan. The recommendations were developed and fully endorsed by the
NACEPT Council.

       NACEPT appreciates both the importance of, and the complexity in, developing a
Strategic Plan for EPA  Key highlights of the recommendations are presented below, with more
detailed comments discussed in the enclosure. Our comments offer advice on ways the Agency
can enhance the current draft of the Strategic Plan.  Key recommendations for your consideration
are outlined below:

   a  We strongly encourage that EPA link the Strategic Plan with the Report on the
       Environment in both formatting and timing to facilitate the establishment of goals and
       objectives, and to provide a progress report on accomplishments.

   a  EPA should consider presenting each of the goals with the percentage of EPA's budget
       and personnel devoted to the goal.  This would provide some level of certainty to EPA's
       commitment to achieving the objectives and targets identified for the goal.

   a  While NACEPT agrees with the value and importance of optimizing the resources
       available to EPA, states, local government and tribes, the numerous references to
       achieving various objectives/targets through involvement of these partners provide few
       details on how and what will be actually achieved. Clarification of the roles of federal,
       state, local and tribal agencies should be an integral part of the Strategic Plan.

   a  As EPA's Strategic Plan fully matures, the Agency will continue to face new challenges
       in protecting our nation's environment. EPA must remain both vigilant and flexible; ever
       scanning the horizon to identify emerging environmental challenges, and swiftly
       committing itself to address the challenges it identifies.

      NACEPT appreciates this opportunity to offer these recommendations on the EPA draft
Strategic Plan, and looks forward to assisting the Agency to meet its mission and goals

                                            Dorothy Bowers, Chair
                                            National Advisory Council for
                                            Environmental Policy and Technology
cc:    Linda Combs, Chief Financial Officer
      David Ziegele, Director, OPAA/OCFO
      Daiva Balkus, Director, OCEM
      Gwen Whitt, NACEPT Designated Federal Officer



                                April 25,2003

•  The 2003-2008 Draft Strategic Plan provides a comprehensive set of objectives to
   enhance the protection of human health and the environment.  EPA's leadership and
   personnel are commended for this extensive effort.

•  NACEPT recognizes that a strategic plan emphasizes goals and is not a tactical plan
   concerned  with  the costs and  benefits of alternative means of reaching  goals.
   NACEPT's comments reflect that the  draft  plan tends to combine  strategic  and
   tactical  planning approaches  in  some sections  and not  in others. NACEPT
   recommends greater consistency in  the  approach and suggests that the EPA 2003-
   2008 Strategic Plan be as explicit as possible about the quantitative identification of
   goals hi terms of historical series and points for environmental indicators.

•  In order to  increase the credibility and usefulness of the Strategic Plan and the Report
   on the Environment, EPA is urged to link the preparation of these documents in both
   formatting  and timing to facilitate  the  establishment of goals/objectives and then
   provide a progress report on accomplishments. EPA's announcement of the intention
   to develop environmental  indicators with  a  coordinated timeline to demonstrate
   progress in protecting human health and the environment should be integrated  into
   both the Strategic Plan and the Report on the Environment.

•  While NACEPT agrees with the value and importance  of optimizing the resources
   available to EPA, states, locals, and  the tribes, the numerous references to achieving
   various objectives/targets through involvement of these partners provide few details
   on how and what will be actually achieved. Clarification of the roles of federal, state,
   local, and tribal agencies should be an integral part of the Strategic Plan. Further, the
   identification of EPA strategic goals should  include some tactical  discussion  and
   quantified estimates  of the anticipated costs to the burdened agencies and benefits to
   the public.

•  EPA should incorporate  a section in  the Strategic Plan section on the roles of other
   federal agencies mat are crucial to  a successful implementation of the identified
   goals. These federal partners are key participants in die evaluation and management
   of the nation's natural and environmental resources,  including adherence with the
   National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).

•  The Means and Strategies to achieve Goals 1 through 4 do not address the actions that
   will be required of the regulated community to achieve the Goals, nor do they address
   the barriers that the regulated community will face in achieving compliance. Rather,
   they focus almost exclusively on the activities that EPA and its regulatory partners
   will undertake to enhance implementation of the Agency's traditional  programs. In
   setting its Objectives under these Goals, EPA needs to assess the efforts required of,
   and the costs  imposed on, the regulated as well  as the regulator community,  and
   provide for comprehensive Compliance Assistance (CA) to empower the regulated
   community to attain, and go beyond, compliance with regulations.  Moreover, EPA
   needs to explore what types of programs may be appropriate in lieu of command-and-
   control  regulation and  what changes  in agency activities (including  legislative
   authorization) may be necessary to implement those alternate approaches.

•  It is difficult to judge the appropriateness of specific  numerical  goals  — such as
   percent compliance  —  outside  tile proper contextual setting.   Where possible,
   numerical goals throughout the Strategic Plan should be framed within discussion of
   legislative  intent,  overarching  strategies,  Agency  expectations,   and  earlier
   implementation plans or performance goals.  Only by  comparing numerical goals
   with baseline data, can it be determined whether such goals are too aggressive, too
   passive, well suited  to  their purpose, or deserving of reconsideration hi light of
   practical implementation experience.

•  Consideration should be given to some presentation under each of the GOALS  that
   provides insight to the percentage of EPA's budget  and  personnel devoted to the
   GOAL  -  at least a  range, such as 12-15%.  This would provide some level of
   certainty to EPA's commitment to achievement of the objectives/targets identified for
   the GOAL.

•  The draft plan reads as if prepared by numerous authors. Excessive wording can be
   found throughout the draft.  NACEPT recommends that the final version be more
   concise with a consistent format from GOAL to GOAL.

•  In places, wording excludes Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and Guam, by  not
   mentioning them. That apparently is not deliberate and should be corrected.  Some
   Native Americans consider the term "Indian Country"  derogatory. That probably
   should be addressed.



•   For clarity, it would be useful to list in the beginning of the discussion for GOAL 1
    the entire list of objectives and sub-objectives.

•   There is a need for a sharper focus and sense of urgency related to achieving the
    identified objectives for GOAL 1, especially a process to identify areas of greater
    importance and schedule for achieving targets.

•   The draft  strategic plan needs to be consistent in presenting  strategic targets by
    providing quantitative proposed achievements (compared to a baseline). In  some
    objectives, specific reductions in emissions are identified, in others, the targets are

•   More emphasis is needed on the magnitude of improvement related to the numbers or
    percentages presented in the draft. The priority use of available resources should be
    focused on obtaining the greatest result to achieve GOAL 1.  It is not clear in the
    lengthy discussion that this is the case.

•   The Research and Development (R & D) section should make a more convincing case
    that the R & D program will  enhance the ability to achieve the specific numerical
    targets that are presented.

•   A reader is likely to conclude that too much detail is presented in the draft related to

•  It's important  to present  the  discussion  in  a  format  that emphasizes  the
   accomplishments  to  date  and present the objectives  to address  the remaining
   challenges in a priority process. As currently drafted, much of the wording leads a
   reader to question the credibility of EPA and its partners9 achievements thus far and
   their  willingness to assign the necessary resource to ensure achievement of the
   objectives for GOAL 2.

•  While some performance  measures are identified in the objectives,  the  basis or
   justification of these measures should be expressed in clearer terms.

•  The EPA needs to work with local agencies to identify the adequacy of existing water
   supply  and sewage systems  and water treatment facilities.   Additionally,  with
   population growth in urban areas, and as urbanization of rural areas continues, more
   emphasis  should  be placed on addressing  the  infrastructure  capacity  and
   improvements needed in the future to  ensure clean and safe water for the increasing

   population and the appropriate coordination of infrastructure development with land
   use decisions.

•  Protecting  sources  for drinking  water should place more  emphasis  on safety,
   including Homeland Security measures.

•  Achievement of the objectives will require effective implementation of state, local,
   and tribal programs.  With the budget challenges confronting these EPA partners,
   there is a great need for timely evaluation of their efforts with appropriate EPA action
   to ensure resources are in place to support achievement of the objectives for GOAL 2.


•  EPA needs to identify its role in land use since there is no statutory direction.  The
   title of Goal 3  doesn't match well with the text. EPA should link the title of Goal 3 to
   the objectives and sub-objectives of this section.

•  EPA should acknowledge that the  stated objectives do  not  provide the  tools to
   effectively achieve GOAL 3. More emphasis should be placed on working with EPA
   partners  to identify and protect green  spaces, wetlands, and sensitive lands (tribal,
   historic and prime agricultural lands).

•  EPA should establish a baseline and procedures to  monitor progress related to
   Preparedness for Emergencies, Response to Hazardous Releases & Oil Spills, and
   Prevention of Oil Spills. The discussion in the draft does not provide these factors.

•  The discussion related to Waste Generation needs to focus on reduction of waste
   generation and not imply that the status quo will be acceptable.  As a minimum, EPA
   should emphasize the progress in waste reduction and recycling over the past 15-20
   years  and acknowledge resources  will focus  on  other pressing  environmental

•  The Strategic  Targets under "Prevent  Dangerous Releases from RCRA Facilities"
   should be re-stated to emphasize the positive accomplishments.  As stated,  there is
   ambiguity and lack of clarity relative to permits and approved controls.

•  Clearer baselines should be established for "Cleanup  and Reuse of Contaminated
   Land."  The percentages and numbers presented leave the reader with  insufficient
   factual information to understand the objective.

•  As with  GOAL 1, there is excessive wording in the discussions related to GOAL 3.
   Fewer words and greater clarity are encouraged.


•  Fewer and more concise targets should be presented under Objective 4.1. Baseline
   factors should be clearly identified related to chemicals, quantities, acreage, etc.

•  Information should be clearly presented to demonstrate that the appropriate resources
   will be dedicated to achieve the objectives.  In addition, a concise discussion on the
   measurements to be used for documentation of progress should be added.

•  The draft  needs to establish  baseline  information related to impacts and  risks
   pertaining to Environmental Justice communities.  Clarify the predicted percentage
   for communities to be added to those currently working with EPA to address EJ
   issues (50% target).

•  Targets identified for Objectives 4.3 (Ecosystems) should be clear on the resources to
   be available to ensure achievement. As presented, the targets are vague.

•  EPA should support an expedited Homeland Security schedule (sooner than 2008) to
   provide enhanced security in the chemical and oil industry. In addition, the expedited
   approach should be applied to public water systems.

•  NACEPT gave EPA extensive comments on the Strategic Plan architecture draft with
   considerable  emphasis  on  compliance  and  EPA's  previous  commitment  to
   Compliance  Assistance  (CA).   Yet, the  current draft  Strategic Plan does  not
   incorporate a fully integrated program of CA, voluntary programs, and partnerships
   which could enhance achievement of the targets.

•  The Means and Strategies to achieve Goals 1 through 4 do not address the actions that
   will be required of the regulated community to achieve the Goals, nor do they address
   the barriers that the regulated community will face in achieving compliance. Failure
   to integrate CA and other non-regulatory approaches into all of the Program Offices'
   Objectives will likely result in continued over-reliance on enforcement of command-
   and-control rules instead of the win-win scenarios engendered by a fully integrated
   program of CA, voluntary programs, and innovative partnerships.

•  As "developer/wholesaler" of CA products, EPA needs to clarify how the agency will
   include management  of the  CA delivery network.  EPA will need to develop,
   implement and facilitate a validated measurement system for use by  the full spectrum
   of C A providers.

•  Sub-objective 5.1.3  (Monitoring & Enforcement) identifies three specific targets that
   create unique verification and measurement challenges.  EPA needs to explain how

   they will develop, implement and facilitate a validated system for measuring behavior
   changes by the regulated community.

•  NACEPT concurs with EPA's strategic targets for Federal Facilities and federal
   agencies as being achievable by 2008 and as clear signals to other stakeholders that
   the federal government must lead by example.

•  EPA will need to enhance its information collection to include production indices or
   other suitable economic data to ensure assessment of production-normalized TRI
   chemical releases and waste production.

•  EPA should further assess whether the environmental improvement  targets for
   'Terformance Track" members constitute a sufficiently ambitious goal. At the same
   time, EPA should strive  to eliminate the distinctions between  its  environmental
   performance  programs and seek a  focused approach within  a suite of performance

•  In  the scientific and innovative arena, EPA must assume  the  leadership role  in
   identifying,  evaluating  and  adopting successful approaches  to   environmental

•  EPA is urged to continue efforts to integrate joint planning and priority-setting across
   media programs with their partners to optimize the use of available resources  in
   achieving environmental compliance.   Beyond the Strategic Plan,  EPA needs  to
   implement additional objectives to achieve the efficiencies  of integrated programs.


Detailed Comments and Suggestions on Goals from the Council


Goal 1 is more fully defined as: "Protect and improve the air so it is healthy to breathe
and free of levels of pollutants that harm human health or the environment."

The approach in the Strategic Plan is to bring forward a series of Objectives and Sub-
objectives that are designed to advance progress toward achieving the Goal.  Each of
these particular lists is followed by a discussion of Means  and Strategies expected to
contribute to achieving the objective.

For clarity sake, it is useful to list in  a single place the series of objectives and sub-
objectives that are present to advance the purpose of the Goal.

Objective 1.1; Maintain and Improve Outdoor Air Quality

       Sub-objective 1.1.1:  Reduce Emissions from Electric Generating Units and other
             Stationary Sources through Federal Regulations.
       Sub-objective 1.1.2: Reduce Emissions from Mobile Sources through Federal
       Sub-objective 1.1.3:  Implement, Attain, and Maintain  Air Quality Standards in
             Areas throughout the Country.
       Sub-objective 1.1.4:  Reduce Air Toxics Risk at the Local Level

Objective 1.2: Indoor Air

Objective 1.3: Atmospheric Change

       Sub-objective 1.3.1:  Climate Change
       Sub-objective 1.3.2:  Stratospheric Ozone

Objective 1.4: Radiation

       Sub-objective 1.4.1:  Radiation Protection
       Sub-Objective 1.4.2: Emergency Response

Objective 1.5: Science/Research

       Sub-objective 1.5.1:  Science to Support Air Programs
       Sub-objective 1.5.2:  Air Pollution Research

This breakdown provides a summary of those areas that the plan brings forward as targets
of action for the next five years. A major test of importance relies on consideration of the
numerical targets that are  called for or expected  within  each  of these areas. The

numerical targets in critical ways define the level of importance and level of attention the
objectives and sub-objectives will receive.

Looking specifically  at Objective 1, addition  of the  numerical  targets provides
information about the relative emphasis that is expected to be provided.

Objective LI: Maintain and Improve Outdoor Air Quality

             Air Quality for ozone (8-hr) will improve to healthy levels for 52 percent
             of the people living in areas determined to have poor air quality in 2001.

             Air Quality for fine particles mil improve to healthy levels for 12 percent
             of the people who are living in areas determined to have poor air quality
             for fine particles in 2001.

             Healthy air for the  other pollutants -will be maintained for the 123.7
             milKon people that had healthy air in 2001.
       Sub-objective 1.1.1:  Reduce Emissions from Electric Generating  Units and
other Stationary Sources through Federal Regulations.

             Strategic Targets:

                 •  By 2010, electric generating unit emissions of sulfur dioxide will
                    be reduced by 4.6 milKon  tons from their 2000 level of 11.2
                    million tons.

                 •  By 2008, electric generating unit emissions of nitrogen oxides
                    mil be reduced by three million tons from their 2000 level of S.I
                    million tons.

                 •  By 2010, electric generating unit emissions of mercury will be
                    reduced by 22 tons from their 2000 levels of 48 tons.

                 •  By 2007, federal air toxics regulations mil reduce  air toxics
                    emissions by 2.2 million tons from their 1993 level of 3.7 milKon

                 •  By 2009, EPA  mil promulgate the last group of area source*
                    standards, thus ensuring that 90 percent of the areas source
                    emissions of the 30 area sources  listed in the Urban Air Toxics
                    Strategy is regulated,

      Sub-objective 1.1.2: Reduce Emissions from Mobile Sources through Federal

             •  Similar quantitative targets are presented in terms of millions of tons
                of reduction for various types of air emissions.
      Sub-objective 1.1.3: Implement, Attain, and Maintain Air Quality Standards in
             Areas throughout the Country.

             •  In 2004, complete area designations, promulgate implementation
                rules, begin implementing the 9-hour ozone and PM2.5 NAAQS.

             •  By   2008,  EPA  will  complete  a  policy  on  when  Federal
                Implementation  Plans  re-appropriate  to  bring Clean Air  Act
                programs to Indian country.

             •  By  2008,  the amount of air monitoring in Indian country  will
                increase by 10 percent over FY2003 levels of 158 monitors.
      Sub-objective 1.1.4: Reduce Air Toxics Risk at the Local Level

             •  By 2004, publicly release the revised National Air Toxics Assessment
                that is based on the 1999 inventory, and continue to update this
                national assessment of emissions, exposure, and risks from air toxics
                every three years.

             •  Air Toxics Monitoring: To be developed.

             •  By 2010, the tribes and EPA will have the information and tools to-
                characterize and assess trends for 20 percent of Indian tribes from
                2003 level of 1.2%.
There are distinct differences in the content and approach of the various strategic targets.
Some of them are very quantitative, while others mention work that will be done. There
are many approaches to develop a strategic plan, and different views about what it should
contain. However, the easiest to understand seems to be one that presents a problem or
expected achievement, and then lays out the avenue to address it along with the resources
required. In this case, because this is a strategic plan for the EPA, it is logical to assume
that the problem or expected achievement will be related to the environment. In fact, we
would expect the targets to be some quantifiable environmental improvement.

The targets presented in Objective 1.1, and Sub-objectives 1.1.1  and 1.1.2 provide just
this type of targeted  environmental improvement.   A reader may quibble with the
magnitude of the targets, discuss the priorities, and ask if these are stretch targets or
straight-line extension of what is already happening.   They do however provide hard
numbers that provide expectations for measurable improvement to defined environmental
challenges.  These expectations are followed by a section termed "Means and Strategies"
that describes the beliefs about how the targets can be met.

The targets presented for Sub-objectives  1.1.3  and 1.1.4 are of a different type.  They
present goals that largely discuss completion of a work product or being prepared to
provide environmental tools to larger numbers of people. From the way those targets are
presented it is not clear what environmental challenges they will overcome or improve,
and very little information is presented that describes the magnitude of any improvement
that is expected or desired to be achieved.  The targets that are presented actually seem to
be  more in line with means or milestones along the way that will help achieve a certain
environmental target. These two targets could be strengthened considerably by recasting
them in that context. For example, for Sub-objective 1.1.3, the target  seems to refer back
to the overall targets described earlier for  Objective 1.1. If this  is so, it is not clear why
there should be a set of sub-objectives trying to achieve the same result.

A similar comment can be made for Sub-objective 1.1.4. The strategic targets described
there, in principle, also refer back to the  overall targets in Objective 1.1.  However, in
neither place are there really  any numerical  goals for improvement   presented.
Maintenance of the status quo seems neither to indicate a need for a strategic program
nor calling out of an objective.

These last two  sub-objectives would seem to be  better  placed in the "Means and
Strategy" section, because with their present placement, they make  the objectives and
sub-objectives appear unfocused to the reader. This lessens the impact of the section.

Detail presented in the "Means and Strategy" section provides some  other opportunities
for a reader to be confused.  For example, in the section titled "Means and Strategies to
Achieve Objective 1", there are  very  long descriptions  of specific EPA  air quality
programs.  Although the EPA programs and activities appear to be of high quality and
productive of useful  results, it  is difficult to  see how they relate to  the  objectives,
sub-objectives, and strategic targets.  There is no indication of priorities within the means
and strategy discussion, providing  no guidance to the reader about relative importance in
order to achieve the objectives.   One can argue that the Goal is much  larger than the
Objectives or the Sub-objectives.   That is true, but the existence of a Strategic Plan
indicates that for five years, in this case, certain needs have priority.   That is not clear in
this section.  For  example, the last paragraph of the Means and Strategy section has a
lengthy discussion about international programs regarding air.  This seems not to add a
great deal to the objectives and could be shortened significantly.

An overall  impression is  that the  Air Section appears to be  more  of a thorough
presentation of EPA activities  looking  for a strategic mission, rather than a selected
presentation of EPA programs that support the strategic objectives of the goal.  This is
not simply a subtle nuance, instead,  the impression will have great impact on how the
Strategic Plan will be received and considered by the EPA partners, stakeholders, and the

Similar comments can be made about the other Objectives and Sub-objectives.  Although
many of them  do provide numerical strategic targets, the  discussions of Means and
Strategies do not help establish  priorities or  indicate which of  the programs should
receive particular emphasis to facilitate reaching the targets.

The section on Research and Development, although providing important information
about the R&D program related to air, also fails to make a convincing case about how the
program relates to the specific numerical targets that have been presented.

In general, a reader is likely to conclude that too much detail is presented in the Air
Section of the EPA strategic plan without providing a sense of relative importance and
connection to the national air  targets that are presented.   Achieving the full impact
deserved by a Strategic Plan of this magnitude will require a sharper focus and providing
a sense of urgency within the Agency in selecting areas of greater importance (for.this
5-year period) in achieving the targets.

              CLEAN AND SAFE WATER

Introduction: Goal 2- Page 1

    a)  The wording is awkward in the first couple of sentences beginning "Thirty years
    b)  While there is considerable data on this page, it is not clear where it came from.
       Actual numbers would be  more powerful than  narrative  phrases  such as
       "significantly slowed" and "measurable improvement."

Introduction: Goal 2- Page 2

    a)  Population growth  is one source of added  infrastructure strain, however, so is
       population shift as  growth in urban areas outstrips infrastructure capacity; these
       needs must also be addressed.

Objective 2.1: Protect Human Health
Sub-objective 2.1.1: Water Safe to Drink.

Objectives:  It is unclear how these performance measures - such as a 95% service rate
by 2008 - are chosen. The reader is unable to determine whether they are aggressive or
weak.  How do they match up whh past goal-setting  efforts?  Obviously we are not
meeting previous goals if our aspiration is that by 2008, 95% of the water systems will be
where they were supposed to be in 2001.  There should be some context in which to
judge this level of effort.

Sub-objective 2.1.3: Water Safe for Swimming.

The plan only calls for 10% of waters swimmable by 2008. If it took us 30 years to get to
10%, will it take us 300 years to meet the goals of the CWA?

Means and Strategies to  Achieve Objective 1: Protecting and Improving Drinking
Water, Developing Drinking Water Standards

"If there is adequate  information, EPA will determine whether a new risk-based
drinking water standard is necessary."  This section seems a  little light on specifics.
Are there any areas of focus for the Agency, such as  on endocrine disrupters?

Means and Strategies to  Achieve Objective 1: Protecting and Improving Drinking
Water, Support Sustainable Drinking Water Infrastructure

Revolving Loan Fund:  While it is good to have a revolving loan fund, has the fund
approach  been a successful  replacement for  the old  grant program?    Are local
governments  truly picking up the slack, or is the  loan  fund resulting  in  a large
infrastructure debt  being  accumulated.   The  same  question exists for  wastewater
treatment capacity (probably a bigger problem).

Means and Strategies to Achieve Objective 1:  Protecting and Improving Drinking
Water, Prevent Source Water Contamination

Those entities which are "voluntarily" working to prevent source water contamination
should be supported.  Is a volunteer approach quite common or rare? What about those
that are not progressing voluntarily?

Means and Strategies to Achieve Objective 1:  Safe Fish and Shellfish, Fish Safe to

"Improving water and sediment quality" - no goals are specified. Why are some goals
quantified, while others are given a narrative sweep?

Means and Strategies to Achieve Objective 1:  Safe Swimming  Waters, Control
Combined Sewer Overflows

87%  of 34% = about  30% of the 770 communities  with CSO have "substantially
implemented their plans." Is that an acceptable level of performance? If not, what's the

Objective 2: Protect Water Quality
Sub-objective 2.2.1:  Improve Water Quality on a Watershed Basis
Sub-objective 2.2.2:  Improve Coastal and Ocean Waters

Again, there is no context in which to judge the goals. Are they aggressive or weak?

Means and Strategies to Achieve Objective  2:   Improving Water Quality  on a
Watershed Basis, Develop Effective Watershed Plans and TMDLs

TMDLs are perceived as being a  powerful, overarching strategy for dealing with non-
point source pollution. Yet they are not given a proportionally large role in the Strategic
Plan.  How much will TMDLs improve surface water quality? If we did nothing other
than TMDLs, how would the other goals be impacted?

Means and Strategies to Achieve Objective  2:   Improving Water Quality  on a
Watershed Basis, Control Nonpoint Pollution

   a) "Forge partnerships with a broad range of agricultural interests..." How will
      this be accomplished? If those partnerships aren't in effect now, what will make
      them happen?
   b) Strengthen the NPDES program.  While there may be merit in strengthening what
      has been a very successful program, in many states, the majority  the non-use
      designations result from NFS pollution.  One wonders if it is fair,  or the most
      productive use of Agency resources to tighten the screws on NPDES discharges.
      Would more impact be made by investing resources in more aggressive control of

Means  and  Strategies to Achieve Objective 2:  Improving Water Quality  on a
Watershed Basis, Support Sustainable Wastewater Infrastructure

The same concern exists as was mentioned with the Drinking Water Revolving Loan
Fund. We should be glad it's there, but is a wastewater infrastructure debt accumulating
nationally?  Do we have the fiscal capacity to expand plant capacity in  proportion to
expanding, sprawling communities?

Means and Strategies to Achieve Objective 2: Improving Coastal and Ocean Waters,
Seducing Vessel Discharges

This sounds  like a good approach,  but there are no numbers given at all.  Is this a
significant problem? Does it merit a specific element in the Strategic Plan?

Objective 2.3:  Science/Research

 "By 2008, provide and apply a sound scientific foundation to EPA's goal of clean and
safe water..." It's hard to imagine a more impolitic statement.  Better language would be
to "expand,"  "improve  upon," or "strengthen" the sound foundation that is already in

Means  and  Strategies  to Achieve  Objective 3:   Clean and Safe Water Science,
Methods for Valuing Ecological and Recreation Benefits

Cost/benefit analysis is tricky, but it could be a profoundly powerful tool in advancing
environmental well being.

Means  and  Strategies  to Achieve  Objective 3:   Clean and Safe  Water Research,
Research to Protect Human Health

 "Develop scientifically sound data and approaches to assess and manage risk..." Have
we not been using sound data and approaches up to this point?  This statement is an ideal
opening for opponents  of more progress to demand "good science" before supporting
compliance with environmental regulations. Better language would be to "improve,"
"enhance" or "strengthen" data and approaches.

Means and Strategies to Achieve Objective 3:  Clean and Safe Water Research, Re-
search to Protect Water Quality

Decisions on local land use are critical to water quality.  One vastly underutilized human
capital is local policymakers. The Agency should strive to better educate planning and
city/county commissions about environmental consequences of siting decisions.  This is
especially true regarding  siting  facilities near  or over  drinking  water sources  and
transportation planning.   It would  be  very useful to the  Agency  to have  local
policymakers informed on and actively implementing TMDLs.

Program Evaluation

This is a good  mention of program evaluation studies, although it is not clear that
findings from these studies have been integrated into the Strategic Plan. In some states,
well meaning regulators are not supported by Governors and/or legislators.  Surely, one
very important  element  of  a Strategic  Plan would be  review  of implementation
performance at the state and local levels and - where necessary - intervention or even
withdrawal of program primacy.  What are the rules of engagement?  What performance
measures are  in place regarding performance of state and local agencies?


September 11 provided a painful insight into our vulnerability to terrorism. Are our water
supplies adequately protected from malicious intent? If not, that ought to be addressed in
the Strategic Plan. Security planning ought to consider domestic as well as international
terrorist  possibilities, and should also speak to  invading  species and  other  natural

Overarching Concerns:

    a)  Give data rather than subjective narratives, let reader interpret significance.
    b)  Justify performance measures.
    c)  Evaluate infrastructure capacity and adaptability.
    d)  Don't say anything that  undermines the  credibility  of the Agency and  its
    e)  Integrate land use planning.
    f)  Review of implementation effectiveness and performance measures of state and
       local government ought to be a part of the Strategic Plan.
    g)  Safety of water supplies.


EPA needs to identify its role in land use; it is not clear how the Agency can influence
land use decisions since there is no statutory direction. Nonetheless, land use decisions
significantly influence our ability to reach national environmental quality goals.

The title of this goal does not seem to be consistent with the substance of the remainder
of the section. EPA should specifically articulate the linkages of the objectives and sub-
objectives of this section with the title.

Sub-objective 3.1.1: Preparedness for Emergencies

The sub-objective is stated in terms of increasing response readiness.  However, it is
difficult to imagine how response readiness can be  measured in percentage terms. While
there is reference to a percentage increase from a baseline established in fiscal year 2003,
how would that baseline be measured - that is, what is the unit of measurement and what
data would be collected to establish the baseline?

Is there some standard that already exists for measuring emergency preparedness - that
is,  are there  ways  in which state  and local agencies or organizations are already
measuring emergency preparedness that  could or would be used by EPA to evaluate its
preparedness? Or, would EPA be establishing new measures for this purpose. In either
case, the way in which EPA would establish a baseline and monitor progress needs to be

Sub-objective 3.1.3: Prevent Oil Spills

The sub-objective calls for reducing releases by increasing  the number of oil facilities
that are in compliance from 3,525 to 6,000, where the universe of oil facilities is about
415,000. Does this mean that  at present only 3,525 out of 415,000 (0.85%) are in
compliance?  If so, then even if EPA achieves its objective, then having 6,000 facilities in
compliance still only represents a compliance rate of 1.4%.

If there is such a widespread compliance problem with oil facilities, then it seems that a
much more aggressive objective is necessary.  If the compliance rate is  actually much
higher than is suggested in the way  the sub-objective is stated,  then the wording of the
sub-objective should be changed to make it clearer.

Sub-objective 3.2.1: Reduce Waste Generation and Increase Recycling

One of the strategic targets calls for maintaining the national average municipal solid
waste generation at 4.5 pounds per person per day. Since it Is  national policy to focus
efforts on reducing waste generation through source reduction and better  environmental
stewardship efforts, this is not an ambitious goal. Per capita waste generation rates have
remained at about this level since 1990.   If the US population continues to grow, yet per
capita waste generation is  simply maintained, then waste generation will continue to

 increase in absolute terms.  The target suggests that EPA is resigned to maintaining the
 status quo. The implication is that the nation is incapable of furthering the policy of waste

 Many experts in the solid waste management field will argue that there are sound reasons
 why the per capita generation rates cannot be easily lowered.  And, using environmental
 risk assessment in establishing environmental priorities may suggest that less emphasis
 on solid waste management is needed to protect public health and the environment in
 comparison to  other priorities in water, air, and healthy communities and ecosystems.
 However, it is disingenuous to espouse a waste management policy that places waste
 reduction at the top of the hierarchy while setting targets that run counter to that policy.
 The EPA Strategic Plan should either set a more ambitious target to make its objectives
 consistent with existing policy, or provide some explanation as to why such a target is not
 feasible over the planning horizon of this strategic plan.  This explanation need not be
 cast hi  negative terms.  Instead, there could be a recognition of progress that has been
 made in waste reduction and  recycling over the past 15-20 years  and acceptance of a
 "maintenance" policy to ensure that the results of this progress will not erode as emphasis
 is shifted to more pressing environmental problems.

 Sub-objective 3.2.2: Prevent Dangerous Releases from RCRA Facilities

 One of the strategic targets states that "approximately 36% of the facilities that are due
for permit renewals by the end of 2006 will have updated controls approved by the end

 Is it reasonable to conclude from reading this target that limited resources, (in terms of
 both EPA permit staff and perhaps industry cost requirements), are the most likely barrier
 to setting a higher target for facilities having updated controls?

 However, even  if true, there appears to be  a disconnect between  the title of the sub-
 objective - that is, to prevent dangerous releases - and the target that only calls for 36%
 of the facilities needing permit renewals having updated controls by 2008.  Is it fair to
 assume that while 64% of the facilities due for renewals hi 2006 will not have updated
 controls by 2008, these facilities can continue to operate with existing controls without
 creating a high risk of releasing dangerous substances into the environment?   In other
 words,  controls under current permits will  continue to function adequately while the
 target for updating controls  is increased over time.  If this is the situation, then perhaps
 there needs to  be more acknowledgment or discussion of the administrative and cost
 requirements associated with permit renewals and new control technologies and how the
 level of risk from releases will not increase. If this is not the situation, and in fact without
 updated controls, the 64% of RCRA Facilities needing permit renewals do pose a greater
 risk, then the target should be more ambitious.

 Sub-objective 3.3.1: Control Risks at Contaminated Sites

 One of the strategic targets indicates that "By 2008, EPA and its partners will determine
 that cleanups are completed at 105,000 LUST sites."  There is no reference point to
 determine whether this target is modest or ambitious.   Reference was made to 698,000
 active Underground Storage Tanks (USTs)  in the discussion on preventing leaks from
 USTs.  And, Sub-objective 3.2.3 calls for "....  increasing the percentage of VST
facilities that are in significant operational compliance from 65% to 80%." However,
 this only provides information  on active sites.  An estimate of how many inactive sites
 exist and may be leaking was not provided.

 Sub-objective 3.3.2: Make Land Available  for Reuse (also Sub-Objective 4.2.3:

 The Sub-objective 3.3.2 calls for making more lands available for reuse.  Besides the
 objective  lacking any numerical target, there is  no  benchmark to assess whether a
 numerically based objective is meaningful. In other words, there is no inventory of lands
 measured in  acres, assessed value,  or market value  against which one  could  assess

 Sub-objective 3.3.3:  Maximize  Potentially Responsible Party Participation  at
 Superfund Sites

 Officials at EPA have been publicly stating  for a  number of months that protecting the
 balance of the Superfund Trust  Fund and tax payer resources in the cleanup of NPL sites
 is a priority.  However, there is no emphasis on this within the Strategic Plan.  What is
 also missing is the complete lack of connection between bankruptcies of RCRA facilities
 (both TSD and non-TSD) that wind up becoming Fund lead NPL  sites.  The Agency
 should state as an objective under this section that it will work to strengthen Financial
 Assurance requirements at RCRA TSD facilities  and explore mechanisms to develop
 Financial Assurance for RCRA  non-TSD facilities.


4.1    Chemical, Organisms and Pesticide Risks

The first  objective of Goal 4 Healthy Communities and Ecosystems deals with the
prevention and reduction of risk to humans, communities and ecosystems by pesticides,
chemicals and genetically engineered biological organisms. The strategic targets for the
reduction  of toxic pesticide exposure includes re-registration of chemicals, reduction of
mortality  incidents, reduction of chemicals in  foods, increase in use of reduced risk
pesticides and reduction of persistent organic  pollutants (POPs).  The objectives and
targets  failed  to  list the  baseline  numbers,  chemicals,  organisms,  quantities,
concentrations, and acreage. Without the baseline, it will be difficult if not impossible to
track the progress and to determine if the objectives are being met.
The second objective targets the availability of pesticides and antimicrobial products that
meet  the  latest safety standards.  The  strategic  targets  focus  on  the  reduction  in
registration time by 10% and propose new registration actions meet new health standards
and are environmentally safe. The strategic targets lack background time frames and
health safety standards. The reduction in time for registration should not be encouraged at
the expense of less effective and protective re-registrations.
The third  objective focuses on the prevention and reduction of risk to human health,
communities  and ecosystems from chemicals and biological organisms. Baseline data
was not included for industrial chemicals and mercury. Without background data, it is not
possible to determine if the objectives are being met.
The fourth  objective  focuses  on facility risk  reduction  and  building  community
infrastructures. The first strategic target fails to specify how much risk reduction will be
required. The second strategic target establishes a 50% local community or LEPC goal
for incorporating facility risk information by 2010. However the facility risk management
information is not made publicly available due to terrorism threats.
The objectives  and strategic targets for objective 1 are very positive and extremely
ambitious. The  resources required to fund  the objective may limit the ability  to fully
implement the strategies. The program for  objective  1  lacks a mechanism to track the
implementation of the program. A mechanism  to measure the impact the program  is
having on human health and the environment has not been included in the program. This
is a critical element to be measured in order to track the success of the program.
4.2 Community Health
The first objective  deals with sustaining community health. The number of communities
to be involved by  2008 is set forth. However, the means and  strategies for sustaining
health communities is more a description of the components of the program and does not
identify specific strategies for involving and  improving the 220 communities.
The second  objective  deals  with addressing disproportionate   impacts  and  risks
experienced by Environmental Justice communities. The strategies identified are current
EPA  programs, EJ small  grants  program,  NEJAC Council  and  Subcommittees,
Interagency Working Group on EJ issues training. The strategies merely work within the

current program framework and do not identify specific strategies for attaining a 50%
increase  in the number of communities working with EPA to address EJ issues. The
objective also fails to identify the baseline on which the 50% increase will be based and
The  third objective  addresses  Brownfields  redevelopment.  The  strategy is  the
continuation of the existing Brownfields program. This objective and strategy is merely a
continuation of an ongoing program. EPA indicates that "Through 2008, redevelopment
of brownfield properties will generate $10.2 billion and create 33,700 jobs." The EPA
should avoid claims that expenditures on environmental improvement by other agencies
"create" jobs.  The use of labor and capital to improve the environment divert productive
resources from other uses  - "there is no such thing as a free lunch" - private or public
funds used to protect the environment must be weighed against alternative uses of fund.
The fourth objective focuses on US-Mexico border issues. The objective will assess and
improve  the quality of border surface water bodies and connect 1.5  million people to
potable water and waste water systems. This objective  is extremely large and will require
extensive financial resources to implement.
The objectives and strategies do not include mechanisms to track the programs as they
are implemented and measure program performance and degree to which the objectives
are being met.
The third objective  focuses on the restoration and protection of  28 estuaries. The
objectives and strategies are part of existing programs. Each program is estuary specific
and targeted at addressing specific issues in the individual estuaries. The programs are
extremely ambitious and  will require the  dedication of high quantities of financial
resources. The unavailability of financial resources could have a dramatic impact on the
goals set forth in the plan.
The fourth objective deals with Homeland Security. This is the new emerging issue being
addressed by  the Agency. The objectives are appropriate to the development  of
Homeland Security  programs.  The  subobjective  4.4.2 should  be  required to  be
implemented by  100% of the facilities by 2008. The industrial facilities have the
resources and 'are in need of their own security measures to reduce vulnerability and
protect communities and the environment from chemical releases.
The third objective deals with enhanced ambient air  monitoring and emergency  air
monitoring. These monitoring efforts are not only necessary for Homeland Security, they
are also necessary to protect communities living around industrial facilities, waste sites
and businesses handling and processing toxic chemicals. The expansion of these efforts
should be focused on protection of the population during normal operating conditions as
well as during special security events.
Goal 4 page 30 presents a strategy for addressing the need for additional air monitoring
capabilities  including  mobile  monitoring.  These capabilities  are  also  needed  by
communities located in close proximity to industrial  facilities in order to identify and
quantify toxic chemicals in the communities.
The Science and Research objective is  a  broad ranging  program designed to bring
together  programs, initiatives and agencies to protect  and restore human health and the

environment. The objective will require substantial financial resources in order to be
successful.   The lack of available resources could have a detrimental impact on the
objective. There is a need to have a mechanism to monitor and track the progress as the
objective is implemented.


NACEPT's previous comments on EPA's Strategic Plan architecture suggested that EPA had
not incorporated previous recommendations that the Goals and Objectives of each Program
Office reflect the Agency's commitment  to Compliance Assistance  (CA).  The current
Strategic Plan suggests that these recommendations still have not been adopted by the Agency.
This is most apparent in the Means and Strategies for the various Objectives in Goals 1 through
4.  These  Means  and Strategies focus on the activities that EPA's Program Offices will
undertake to enhance implementation of program components and regulatory standards, both
by EPA and  its regulatory partners (states, tribes and other delegated authorities).  However,
these Means and Strategies do not address  the actions that will be required of the regulated
community to achieve these national  Goals, nor the barriers (informational, technological and
economic)  that they will face in achieving compliance. Failure to integrate CA into all of the
Program Offices'  Goals and Objectives will  likely result in continued over-reliance  on
enforcement instead of the win-win scenarios engendered by a fully integrated program of CA,
voluntary program, and partnerships.
An example of the disconnection between Program Office Objectives and the need to integrate
CA into those objectives can  be seen in the water arena, under Objective 2.2—Protect Water
Quality.  The Means and Strategies to achieve this objective on a watershed basis identify six
key areas in which EPA will  focus its work with states, tribes and others: (1) strengthen the
water quality standards program; (2)  improve water  quality monitoring; (3) develop effective
watershed plans and  total maximum daily loads, (4) implement effective non-point pollution
control  programs; (5)  strengthen the National  Pollutant Discharge  Elimination System
(NPDES) permit program; and (6) effectively manage infrastructure assistance programs.
Firstly,  it  is agreed that the watershed  approach  is the appropriate scale  for  effectively
addressing  water quality issues.  Secondly, it is recognized that continued funding of the Clean
Water State Revolving Funds and linking project grants to integrated watershed approaches
and environmental results will facilitate  improved environmental performance in the municipal
wastewater sector. In addition,  optimizing the other five key areas is essential to effective
watershed management.  However, addressing these key areas alone does not empower the
regulated community (with the  exception  of the municipal wastewater sector) to achieve
compliance and  more importantly,  to improve environmental performance, the outcome
necessary to  attain water quality objectives.  Instead, focusing on these six key areas will
produce a more efficient and effective oversight system for identifying noncompliant regulated
entities for  traditional enforcement action, once noncompliance has been identified.
Objective 5.1: Improve Compliance

With EPA continuing in its role as "developer/wholesaler" of CA products, the burden of retail
delivery of CA to the regulated community  will increasingly fall upon the network of states,
tribes, local governments, trade associations, economic development agencies and community
based organizations.  Each of these retailers will continue to face budgetary pressures similar to
those faced by the Agency.  In this economic environment, EPA will need to move beyond its
perceived role as developer/wholesaler of CA products to include management of the CA

delivery network. This role will require EPA to assess the performance of the entire CA
delivery network and to actively facilitate network optimization.  Additionally, EPA will need
to optimize CA tool development by actively encouraging and funding tool development and
distribution across the entire C A network, rather than in its current EPA-centric approach.

EPA estimates that approximately 41 million federal, public and private facilities are subject to
regulation by the Agency under various environmental statutes.  Yet it is  only under this
Objective, managed by the Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance (OEC A), that
the Strategic Plan  discusses the need to impact the behavior  of this  diverse regulated

With regard to the specific targets under this Sub-objective, it is unclear how EPA intends to
collect information  and  measure progress toward the targets.  The  Agency  currently has  a
number of information collection systems in place track environmental emissions [e.g., Toxic
Release Inventory  (TRI),  NPDES  Discharge Monitoring  Reports, Pretreatment  Program
Reports].  Each of the Agency's reporting systems is designed to assess a particular regulatory
program, and may do so with particular clarity.  But these systems do not measure the same
parameters nor are they integrated across Programs,  sometimes yielding conflicting results.
For example, under the TRI, the highest quantities of toxic pollutants transferred to publicly
owned treatment works (POTW) are nutrients (nitrates and phosphates) and acids/alkalis, yet
these materials do not cause widespread interference with POTW operations nationally, since
they are compatible with POTW processes (nutrients) or they are neutralized by the generating
facility prior to discharge (acids/alkalis).  EPA needs to integrate its various measurement
systems into a single,  consolidated system  in  order  to measure  reductions in pollutant
generation and emission in a meaningful way. Additionally, current reporting systems do not
extend to all generators nor are all reported data collected in EPA-maintained systems.  EPA's
Central Data Exchange (CDX) has been identified as the Agency's approach toward addressing
these issues.  To ensure success, the CDX will need to be designed  and  built with sufficient
capacity to collect all of the currently reported and anticipated environmental data currently
being generated across the Agency's Program Offices as well as  by the states, tribes, local
government, community-based organizations and the private sector. Finally, the CDX must be
made sufficiently user-friendly  and efficient that reporting entities  across the country will
readily accept the system in favor of current reporting systems.
Beyond measuring pollutant reductions, measuring improved understanding of environmental
regulations and improved environmental practices will present unique  challenges  to EPA.
Traditionally, changes in understanding and behavior  are measured through pre/post-delivery
surveys of assistance recipients.  These surveys can be resource intensive and are generally not
value-added. To effectively measure changes in understanding and behavior, EPA will need to
develop, implement and  facilitate use of a validated measurement system by the full spectrum
of CA providers as well as the Agency.
Sub-objective 5.1.2: Compliance Incentives

NACEPT previously commented that this Sub-objective, as proposed in the draft Strategic Plan
architecture, did not measure the number of facilities  conducting environmental audits  or the
number of facilities that are encouraged to perform audits as a result of  EPA's audit policy.
Instead, the then-proposed Sub-objective measured the number of facilities reporting violations


under the audit policy.  Thus, progress towards that Sub-objective appeared to require an
increased amount of noncompliance by facilities performing audits.

The current Sub-objective appears to correct this issue by measuring progress as an increased
percentage of facilities conducting audits, rather than focusing on the number of violations
disclosed during audits.
Sub-Objective 5.1.3: Monitoring and Enforcement

It is unclear whether EPA intends to limit this Sub-objective to monitoring and enforcement
activities conducted solely by EPA,  or if the  Agency intends to include monitoring  and
enforcement activities undertaken by delegated authorities. This distinction is critical since the
majority of monitoring and enforcement is not conducted directly by EPA, but by a network of
delegated authorities (e.g., states, tribes, regional air management  districts, Publicly Owned
Treatment Works).  Additionally, many of these delegated authorities enforce state and/or local
regulations that go beyond federally mandated minimums. Will EPA evaluate monitoring  and
enforcement for local regulations as equivalent to  federal regulations?

Each of the three specific targets under this Sub-objective presents unique verification  and
measurement challenges to EPA and delegated enforcement agencies.

The first target (3% increase in the number of complying actions taken during inspections)
appears to presume a constant level of inspection activity. However,  this scenario is clearly not
realistic. Fluctuations in inspection activity will cause this measure to fluctuate independent of
the Agency's desire to  increase the  frequency of complying  actions taken during such
inspections. EPA should revise this target to focus on increasing the percentage of inspections
resulting in complying actions taken during the inspection. EPA also faces significant barriers
in  identifying  complying actions and  quantifying  their  impact  on  a  regulated  entities
environmental performance.  Will complying  with procedural or reporting requirements be
weighted equally  with complying  actions that  result in reduced pollutant  generation  or

As  stated, the second target (3% increase in the percentage of enforcement actions requiring
that pollutants  be reduced,  treated, or eliminated) seeks to increase  the  percentage  of
enforcement actions requiring pollutant  reduction.   This  appears  to be  a measure of  the
administrative savvy of the Agency's enforcement staff.  A  more meaningful measure would
be an increase in the percentage of enforcement actions that result in a measurable decrease in
the generation and/or emission of pollutants.

The third  target  (3% increase in  the percentage  of  enforcement  actions requiring
improvement of environmental management practices), while clearly a desirable outcome of
enforcement actions, will be difficult to quantify, as it seeks to measure changes in behavior.
As  discussed earlier under Sub-objective 5.1.1,  EPA will need to develop, implement and
facilitate use  of a  validated system for  measuring behavior  changes  by  the regulated .

 Objective 5.2:  Improve Environmental Performance  through  Pollution  Prevention,
 Innovation, and Analysis
 Sub-objective 5.2.1: Pollution Prevention by Government and the Public
 EPA's strategic targets for Federal Facilities and federal agencies are appropriate both in that
 they appear to be achievable by 2008 and that they will serve as a clear signal states, tribes; and
 the regulated community that the federal government must clearly lead by example.
 Sub-objective 5.2.2: Pollution Prevention by Industry

 The first two strategic targets under this Sub-objective are achievable and measurable, within
 the limits of the TRI system. But EPA must remember that not all waste generating activities
 are reported under the TRI, and as discussed earlier,  some waste transfer activities reported
 under TRI are entirely acceptable under  environmental regulations and accepted business
 practices, and do not result in chemical releases to the environment.

 It is not clear how EPA intends to  measure progress toward the third strategic target under this
 Sub-objective (conserve 400 billion BTUs of energy and 10 billion gallons of water, reduce 93
 thousand metric tons of CO2 emissions, and save $1  billion of unnecessary costs as a result of
 pollution prevention activities).

 EPA will need to enhance its information collection  to include production indices or other
 suitable economic data to enable assessment of production normalized TRI chemical releases
 and waste production.  EPA's limited experience in this area in the Metal  Finishing Sector
 Strategic Goals Program indicates that this effort will impose a substantial reporting burden on
 the regulated community and a data management burden on the Agency.
 Sub-objective 5.2.3: Business and Community Innovation
 The  aggregate  annual environmental  improvements  for Performance  Track  members
 (reductions of: 3% in water use; 3% in energy use; 3 % in total solid waste; 1% in air releases;
 and 5% in water discharges) are substantially less ambitious than some of the improvements
 demonstrated by Performance Track members in 2002. While continuing Performance Track
 members  would  not be expected to sustain their 2002 performance gains annually, the
 population of Performance Track members is expected to expand through 2008. Therefore, the
'aggregate annual environmental improvements identified under this strategic target may prove
 not to be particularly ambitious.  EPA should assess whether these environmental improvement
 targets constitute a sufficiently ambitious goal for the Performance Track program.
 The small business outreach and technical assistance target of 750,000 contacts annually is a
 66 percent increase above the 2001 baseline of 450,000 contacts.  Recognizing that the vast
 majority of small business assistance  activities are  carried  out by state,, tribal  and  local
 assistance providers and not EPA  itself, this target may not be achievable without substantial
 EPA investment hi increasing the delivery capacity of the assistance network.
 Except perhaps as a budget  management exercise, it is unclear why EPA would need to
 segregate the Performance Track program from other environmental performance efforts, such
 as sector-based initiatives and  its Environmental Management System (EMS)  efforts. From the
 regulated community's perspective, segregation may appear to put EPA's in conflict and cause

potential participants to choose one program over another.  EPA should strive to eliminate the
distinctions between its environmental performance programs and seek to manage each as a
focused approach within a suite of performance tools.  As discussed previously relative to the
aggregate annual environmental improvement targets for Performance Track members, EPA's
environmental improvement targets for its sector-based initiatives and EMS efforts may prove
not to be  particularly ambitious.  Of particular concern is the apparently lowly  target of
aggregate annual increase of 100 facilities using EMS.
Sub-objective 5.2.4: Environmental Policy Innovation

In an era when scientific and technological advances and capabilities appear at ever increasing
rates, EPA must assume a leadership role in identifying, evaluating and adopting successful
innovative approaches to environmental protection. In the long run, this activity may have the
most  significant impact  of all  Agency activities identified in EPA's  Strategic Plan.   In  its
Means  and  Strategies  for achieving Objective 5.2, EPA commits itself to  broadening
solicitation of state and tribal innovation projects and to funding the most promising projects
through the State Innovation Grant Program.  And while the strategic targets under this Sub-
objective call for substantial increases in  Agency activities above 2002 baselines, the  actual
annual activity targets set by EPA suggest that the Agency may not  BE building sufficient
capacity to  rapidly identify,  evaluate  and adopt  innovation in pace  with scientific and
technological advancement.

EPA  should implement a strategy of continuously assessing  its innovation capacity and
develop a  flexible  evaluation system that can respond rapidly to emerging environmental
protection innovations.
Objective  5.4: Science/Research
While EPA recognizes that in large part, its success lies hi the hands of its delegated authorities
and the regulated community, the Agency must not minimize its capability, or its obligation, to
influence that greater community.  While  noncompliance with regulations can and should be
met with  timely and effective enforcement action, EPA also recognizes that the future  of
environmental protection is evolving; from  police power over a regulated community  to
strategic business partnerships across diverse communities and affiliations. While some  of the
obstacles to realizing this new  vision of environmental protection are  indeed external to the
Agency, others, such as lack of coordination across Media and Program Offices, are internal to
EPA and endemic to the Agency's business structure.  Appropriately,  EPA itself recognized
this issue in its discussion of Cross-Goal Strategies in the Strategic Plan,
"Among the problems identified by the evaluation of the Performance Partnership System
described above was that EPA's priority-setting and planning processes (including PPAs,
issuance of national program guidance, budgeting, and accountability systems) are not
aligned in  a way that fosters joint planning and priority-setting across media program  lines;
EPA and state staff have limited experience with collaborative approaches to environmental
problem-solving; strong media program perspectives  and loyalties still dominate  many
aspects ofstate-EPA relationships; and there are few incentives for state and federal staff to
risk new ways of doing business."

While  these observations arose in the context of evaluating the EPA-State  Performance
Partnership System, the problems identified have equally detrimental impact on the Agency's
own activities.  NACEPT recommends that, in addition to the Objectives set for the Agency
throughout its Strategic Plan, EPA set for itself the additional objective eliminating these
problems within its own house.