190B12003
SEPA
       United States
       Environmental Protection
       Agency
                             ross-Cutting Fundamental Strateg;
                          ' 2011 Action Plan Annual Progress Repo
               rtrategy 1:  Expanding the Conversation on Environmentalism
     Engage and empower communities and partners, including those who have been historically under-
   represented, in order to support and advance environmental protection and human health nationwide.
                                      Executive Summary
EPA has begun a new era of outreach and conversation to include a broader range of people and communities in
our day-to-day work and to expand our engagement with communities historically under-represented in our
decision-making processes. In FY 2011, our actions were focused on public access to multi-lingual
communication, interaction with media outlets that reach historically under-represented groups, improved
access to and transparency of environmental data to support community and citizen involvement in decision-
making, and lastly, to expand public awareness and opportunities for involvement during all phases of
rulemaking processes.

Accomplishment Highlights:
  Began overhaul of Spanish language website by identifying key audiences and top tasks and inventorying
   content.
  Launched user-friendly websites for targeted audiences, including On Campus ecoAmbassadors for college
   students, Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships , Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Task Force, New
   Bedford Harbor cleanup, and Urban Waters and began retooling the EPA Aging Initiative website .
  Expanded media outreach lists encompassing TV, radio, and print to reach as many as28 million in the
   Hispanic community.
   o   EPA's reach through Spanish language  social media tools increased nearly 200 percent in FY 2011.
  Launched innovative use of Twitter as a texting service to provide air quality monitoring information to
   people near the Aerovox Mill demolition project in New Bedford, MA. The Aerovox building was used for
   electrical component manufacturing from the 1940's until about 1978. Operations and disposal practices
   contaminated soil, surface water runoff, groundwater and building materials and equipment with PCBs and
   solvents.
  In response to the Japanese nuclear emergency,  EPA developed new maps and used Socrata.com to
   communicate radiation monitoring data. EPA also used the its Facebook page to respond to people's
   questions and used the EPA Facebook and  Twitter accounts to provide regular updates on monitoring data.
  Published over 1,600 environmental datasets, 258 geographic datasets and 64 software tools from across
   EPA programs on http://www.data.gov to support community and citizen involvement in environmental
   decision-making.
  EPA expanded the capabilities of the Geodata  Gateway to capture additional types of data (non-geospatial)
   and to make it compatible with the automated catalog harvesting service recently implemented by
   Data.gov. Users now only have to enter their metadata records in the Geodata Gateway and mark them as
   being publically accessible to ensure that they automatically appear in the Data.gov catalog. Our ongoing
 FY 2011 Annual Progress Report: Expanding the Conversation on Environmentalism

-------
    training program has let users know of this important change, and has led to the continued growth of our
    holdings in both of these catalogs.  EPA has over 1,800 geospatial datasets currently registered in the
    Geodata Gateway, and 250 of these are available to users searching in Data.gov.
   The Regulations.gov Exchange (www.regulations.gov/exchange) is an integrated application that offers the
    public a new way to participate and collaborate with the Federal agencies on the Regulations.gov website. It
    enables agencies to host on-line discussion forums and collect public feedback and consideration. This year,
    the eRulemaking Program  hosted multiple online discussions on topics like best practices in  increasing public
    participation in the regulatory process, the President's Executive Order 13563: Improving Regulation and
    Regulatory Review, and a pre-regulatory discussion on the expansion of industry sectors covered under
    EPCRA Section 313.
   In September, 2011, The Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) Program Division launched a new pre-regulatory
    discussion using the Regulations.gov Exchange. The online discussion forum allows the TRI Program to gain
    preliminary input from stakeholders and potentially affected industries on the expansion of industry sectors
    covered under EPCRA Section 313.
   As part of the Community  Engagement Initiative (http://www.epa.gov/oswer/engagementinitiative), EPA
    piloted the use of a color-coding system for communicating sampling results from contaminated sites at
    more than 10 sites across the U.S. with the goal of making it easier for the public and other stakeholders to
    quickly understand contamination levels at sites. The Agency is currently identifying improvements and
    ways that the systems can be used.

Challenges:
   Implementing the color-coding system for communicating sampling results from contaminated sites has
    posed several challenges:  1) complex data may be difficult to categorize/summarize; 2) color-coding system
    might  not be applicable to all sites;  3) quick turn-around during an emergency can be difficult; and 4) finding
    a balance that is true to the science but understandable for multiple audiences.
 FY 2011 Annual Progress Report: Expanding the Conversation on Environmentalism

-------
                                   FY 2011 Performance Summary
                    Strategy 1: Expanding the Conversation on Environmentalism
                   FY 2011 Action Plan Activity
      Status/Explanation
       = Activity complete
1.   Increase development of and public access to multi-lingual
    communications and informational materials (Supports Principles 1,
    2, 5, and 6).
       Implement EPA's Translation Protocol, an Agency-wide directive by
       Executive Order 13166 outlining requirements, processes, and
       procedures for multi-lingual communications.
Final draft of the Translation
Protocol is completed and in
review by the Office of General
Counsel.  The Agency-wide plans
for other pieces of the Executive
Order are due at the end of the
year, and the Translation Protocol
will be implemented subsequently,
in conjunction with those pieces.
       Revise and launch Spanish language website.  Enhance
       development and quality of Spanish content in a variety of media,
       especially those materials focusing on environmental health issues,
       health advisories, and important EPA actions.
Review of all Spanish content is
completed and effort to overhaul
the website is underway. Expected
completion in FY 2012. Identifying a
permanent project lead was the
primary challenge.
2.   Expand interactions with media outlets that reach historically under-
    represented groups (Supports Principles 4, 5, 6, and 7).
       EPA will launch at least two micro-websites tailored to specific
       audiences to enhance community engagement or reach historically
       under-represented groups.
       Develop and implement regional communications plans for all ten
       Regions targeting new media outlets, including newspapers,
       magazines, and web sites that reach historically under-represented
       groups.
All Regions have successfully
expanded outreach to new media
outlets with historically under-
represented audiences.  Formal
plans are in process of being
collected, and will be executed in
FY 2012.
3.   Improve communication of environmental sampling results to the
    public in environmental emergency situations and at contaminated
    sites by using new communication methods to improve community
    engagement (Supports Principles 2, 3, 4, 6, and 7).
 FY 2011 Annual Progress Report:  Expanding the Conversation on Environmentalism

-------
                                   FY 2011 Performance Summary
                    Strategy 1: Expanding the Conversation on Environmentalism
                    FY 2011 Action Plan Activity
      Status/Explanation
       = Activity complete
       Conduct pilot studies at a contaminated site in each often EPA
       Regions. Activities in pilot communities include providing
       simplified scientific language to explain sampling results, visual
       illustrations and clear explanations of contamination levels and
       associated risks, and recommended actions the public should take
       to protect themselves during environmental emergencies.
       Evaluate the effectiveness of a color-coded methodology to
       explain sampling results and provide recommendations to the
       Agency for potential expanded use.
Pilot sites in all 10 Regions were
identified and most are underway.
However, the pilots will not be
evaluated by the end of FY 2011.
This portion of the work is being
carried over into the FY 2012
Action Plan.
4.  Improve access to and transparency of EPA environmental data to
    support community and citizen involvement in decision-making
    (Supports Principles 1, 2, 3, 5, and 7).
       Publish ten environmental data sets via data.gov that can help
       community action groups and citizens make informed discussions
       of environmental issues at local and regional levels. Develop a
       process to collect public input on the types of data that are most
       useful.
       Expand the capability of the GeoData Gateway on data.gov to
       manage both geospatial data mapping and other types of data
       collection.
    Expand public awareness and opportunities for involvement in
    advance of and throughout the development of rules and regulations
    through social media tools including regulations.gov, rulemaking
    gateway, Greenversations, webinars, and other tools (Supports
    Principles 3, 4, 6 and 7).	
       Use the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System's (NPDES)
       electronic reporting website to provide background information in
       advance of the formal rulemaking process to announce upcoming
       stakeholders meetings, host discussion forums, etc.
       Evaluate the NPDES Exchange Forum pilot and post results and
       "lessons learned" for EPA and government-wide use.  Develop
       options for expanded use of the Exchange tool as a viable
       rulemaking pre-proposal dialog tool. Identify other pre-proposal
       activities that could use social media tools to expand dialog with
       affected/impacted communities.
 FY 2011 Annual Progress Report: Expanding the Conversation on Environmentalism

-------