Environmental
  Protection Agency
Customer Service Plan
       December 2011
                  190B12006

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         EPA Customer Service Plan                    December 2011
                                 Executive Summary

On April 27, 2011, President Obama signed Executive Order 13571 requiring agencies to
develop customer service plans that identify implementation steps for their customer service
activities, including a "signature initiative" that uses technology to improve the customer
experience. The customer service plans are externally focused and identify 3-5 initiatives that
will allow the Agency to deliver services more efficiently. EPA's Customer Service Plan
identifies a set of key initiatives that will advance our efforts to streamline service delivery and
increase public access to information and answers.

Addressing today's complex environmental issues requires that EPA work transparently and
cooperatively with customers to ensure that we meet the Agency mission: to protect human
health and the environment.  To be successful, we rely on effective relationships with a wide
range of customers and partners  in transforming how we perform our mission and accomplish
our five strategic goals:

                 Taking Action on Climate Change and Improving Air Quality
                 Protecting America's Waters
                 Cleaning Up Communities and Advancing Sustainable  Development
                 Ensuring the Safety of Chemicals and Preventing Pollution
                 Enforcing Environmental Laws


Given the wide scope of our mission and goals, providing excellent customer service is
mandatory.  We are expanding our networks of customers and partners, and developing new
tools to promote more effective dialogue and input. We have begun a new  era of outreach  at
EPA and seek to include a broader range of people and communities in our work and expand
our engagement with communities, including those historically under-represented in our
decision making process. With this critical and diverse group of stakeholders in mind, this
Customer Service Plan focuses on ensuring customers' access to easy to use and understand
information while reducing transaction costs.  In support of Executive Order 13571,  EPA will
focus on 4 key areas over the next year:
Signature Initiative:  e-Rulemaking

Service Area 1:     Streamlining Grant Management and Improving Timeliness of
                  Award

Service Area 2:    Pesticide Re-registration/Maintenance Fee

Service Area 3:    OneEPA Web Site

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          EPA Customer Service Plan                      December 2011
                             SIGNATURE INITIATIVE: ERULEMAKING
Overview: Operated by EPA, the eRulemaking Program is a federal-wide E-Gov and Open Gov
initiative offering citizens a single location to find, view, and comment on rulemakings from
www.regulations.gov. Thirty-nine departments and agencies, representing more than 90% of federal
rulemakings issued each year, are served by this fee-for-service program.

Timing: Beginning in January 2012, the eRulemaking Program will overhaul Regulations.gov to improve
usability, increase public participation in Federal decision-making and provide more opportunities to
educate public stakeholders about the regulatory process.
 SERVICE 1: STREAMLINING GRANT MANAGEMENT AND IMPROVING TIMELINESS OF GRANTS AWARDS
Overview: Over 40% of EPA's budget is grants to States and Tribes. It is important that grants are
provided in an efficient manner and that they are used in a timely manner to lead to the results intended.
EPA is looking to provide flexibilities to streamline and improve grant management.

Key Customer Groups: Primarily States and Tribes

Challenges: Delays due to federal budget process can lead to slow award of grants. Additionally, grant
reporting frequency needs to be assessed in an effort to reduce burden while maintaining critical data.

Featured Actions: Workgroup has identified some key changes that could streamline grants, including
exceptions based reporting, improving the application process, and bundling Tribal grant assurance
forms.
                  SERVICE 2: PESTICIDES RE-REGISTRATION/MAINTENANCE FEE
Overview:  The Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), section 3(c)(5), states
that the Administrator shall register a pesticide if it is determined that, when used in accordance with
labeling and common practices, the product "will not generally cause unreasonable adverse effects on
the environment." As with other Government licensing programs, EPA collects a fee from pesticides
manufacturers to cover the governments costs and, in return, ensures that registration actions are
performed in a timely and efficient manner

Key Customer Groups: Pesticides manufacturers.

Challenges:  Keeping up with the workload for review and registration
of new pesticides, new uses for existing pesticides,  and other registration requests in accordance with
FQPA standards and Pesticide Registration Improvement Renewal Act timeframes.  The authorizing
statute (Pesticide Registration Improvement Renewal Act) will expire at the end of FY 2012. Efforts are
underway to reauthorize the statute, which could result in changes to both programmatic requirements
and fee structure.

Featured Actions: Continued to implementation of registration and registration review programs.

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          EPA Customer Service Plan                      December 2011
                                SERVICE 3: ONE EPA WEBSITE
 Overview: EPA's website is a valuable communications tool, seen 15 million times monthly by people
trying to learn about environmental issues, comply with regulations, help protect the environment, and
do business with EPA. Under the One EPA Web project, we will rebuild epa.gov to focus on content
that most directly helps people accomplish their tasks online, such as such as learning about an issue,
understanding regulatory requirements, finding ways to engage in an issue, or discovering how they can
help  protect the  environment.

Key  Customer Groups: Citizens, businesses, scientists, other government agencies

Challenges: Sufficient staff time to devote to identifying audiences and appropriate content; staff and
management attention to develop new online systems; the current organizational focus on the website
means rethinking how we devote resources to rebuilding; too much time spent publishing every
document we own instead of focusing efforts on supporting key audiences' top tasks.

Featured Actions:  Building new sites on priority topics,  identifying key audiences for each topic and
selecting content that best serves the needs of those audiences.  Focus is on helping  people
accomplish their tasks, not overwhelming readers by simply publishing every document. For example, if
someone comes to  epa.gov to learn how they can help protect the environment, we'll prominently
provide specific  tips, while maintaining links to regulatory history. We will rebuild at least 20 topic-based
websites in FY2012 in an ongoing transformation that will continue into future years.
                           SIGNATURE INITIATIVE : E-RULEMAKING
                                          EPA/OEI
Overview: Operated by EPA, the eRulemaking Program is a federal-wide E-Gov and Open Gov
initiative offering citizens a single location to find, view, and comment on rulemakings from
www.regulations.gov. Thirty-nine departments and agencies, representing more than 90% of federal
rulemakings issued each year, are served by this fee-for-service program.

Timing: Beginning in January 2012, the eRulemaking Program will overhaul Regulations.gov to
improve usability, increase public participation in Federal decision-making and provide more
opportunities to educate public stakeholders about the regulatory process.
Overview

Regulations.gov is the premier site for public participation in rulemaking, receiving an average of over
12 million page views per-month in 2010 and providing public access to more than 3 million documents.
The eRulemaking Program will overhaul Regulations.gov to improve the user experience by:
introducing new browsing and learning functions on the homepage, improving search capabilities, and
offering connectivity to other websites for broad information collection.  A more user-friendly layout will

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          EPA Customer Service Plan                       December 2011


assist the public in better understanding the activities available through Regulations.gov. Data sharing
and output tools will also be used to improve the usefulness of the site.  Distinctive display of social
media tools will encourage public discourse regarding rulemakings and will include Twitter, Facebook,
YouTube, and Regulations.gov Exchange. The redesign is in response to Executive Order 13563,
Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review, as well as Executive Order 13571 which calls for
improved customer service.

Impact and Benefits

The eRulemaking Program provides substantial cost savings to both EPA and participating federal
agencies. The Program's Regulations.gov and Federal Docket Management System collectively have
resulted in an estimated $129 million in costs saved or avoided over the last 5 years.  Second, the re-
design of Regulations.gov will increase public transparency and accelerate service delivery.
Specifically, the browsable home page and improved search capabilities allow the user to find the
documents they are looking for faster and more  accurately. Third, improved access to and highlighting
of social media tools provides yet another vehicle for the public to have a dialogue with rulemaking
agencies and other users. The improved website will enable the public faster access to agency
documents, quicker ability to review and make comments, and increased educational applications to
better inform the public about the regulatory process itself and the public's impact on that process.

Key Customer Group:  Customers include Federal, state, local and tribal government agencies;
academics; advocacy groups; non-governmental organizations; regulated business community; small
businesses; students; and the public.

Key Milestones and Timeline:
The redesign of Regulations.gov will be carried out in four (4) stages.

   1.  The initial stage is to gather data from users of Regulations.gov on specific needs and
      functionalities that will improve the user experience. The eRulemaking Program consults
      regularly with its partners on website  redesign.  The Program team briefs the Advisory Board
      monthly and the Executive Committee semiannually on its activities and  incorporates input from
      the members. The public has offered comments through  online surveys. The eRulemaking
      team is designing an implementation  plan based on the requirements gathered, to meet the
      needs of the public and partner agencies.

   2.  The second stage is the launch in late January, 2012 and will include: a  redesign of the
      Regulations.gov home page with new browsing, learn, and search pages; new MyRegulations
      features  (e.g., my recent searches, remember my search), integration of social media (e.g.,
      Twitter, Facebook, YouTube,  Regulations.gov Exchange), and new data output tools (e.g., APIs
      and widgets).

   3.  The third stage, scheduled for deployment in late May 2012, will  include: new docket folder
      (indicating phase of a rulemaking) and improved search results.

   4.  The fourth phase, planned for late September, 2012, will consist of improving the layout and
      usability of the comment web form, continuing redesign of the docket folder and MyRegulations
      (e.g., prefill web form, track my submissions).

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          EPA Customer Service Plan                      December 2011



SERVICE #1: STREAMLINING GRANT MANAGEMENT AND IMPROVING TIMELINESS OF GRANTS AWARDS

                                    EPA/OARM and OA
Overview: Over 40% of EPA's budget is grants to States and Tribes.  It is important that grants are
provided in an efficient manner and that they are used in a timely manner to lead to the results
intended. EPA is looking to provide flexibilities to streamline and improve grant management

Key Customer Groups: Primarily States and Tribes

Challenges: Delays due to federal budget process can lead to slow award of grants. Additionally,
grant reporting frequency needs to be assessed in an effort to reduce burden while maintaining critical
data.
Key Milestones and Timeline:
             The first phase of this effort will be to reach consensus on priority areas for reform in
             consultation with State and Tribal partners, and in coordination with OMB's
             Administrative Flexibility initiative.  This will occur during Q1 and Q2 of FY2012.
             The second phase will involve vetting of draft policies on streamlining/burden reduction
             in consultation with State and Tribal partners. This will occur during Q3 of FY 2012.
             The third phase will involve issuing final policies in consultation with State and Tribal
             partners and approved by EPA's senior-level Grants Management Council. This will
             occur in 04 of FY 2012.
1.  Increase Feedback from Customers

      EPA will continue to work with Tribal representatives to identify areas of concern and determine
       where improvements may be made. Tribal feedback to date indicates there are opportunities to
       achieve greater consistency in reporting requirements for Tribal Performance Partnership
       Grants (PPGs). EPA will work with Tribes to address this issue.

       EPA will continue to hold regular conference calls with State representatives to identify areas of
       concern and determine methods to increase communication between the Agency and States.
       One issue identified through these calls is that there may be outdated grant Terms and
       Conditions. EPA will work with the States to address this issue.

2.  Adopt Best Practices for Improving Customer Experience

      EPA is working to expand the use of existing direct implementation tribal cooperative agreement
       authority (DITCA).  The DITCA authority enables EPA to enter into financial assistance
       agreements with tribes and eligible intertribal consortia to help carry out Agency program
       implementation. These cooperative agreements can improve efficiency of EPA program
       implementation in Indian  country. EPA is considering efforts to: (1) identify pilot projects where a
       single DITCA can provide compliance assistance for multiple tribal jurisdictions; (2) target

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          EPA Customer Service Plan                      December 2011
       DITCAs to areas of Indian country with significant facility non-compliance; and (3) track changes
       to facility compliance. EPA will work to educate program offices and regions on the availability
       and use of DITCAs by December 30, 2012.

      In 2008, EPA adopted Grants Policy Issuance (GPI) 08-05: Burden Reduction for State Grants.
       This policy codified actions taken by EPA to address grant-related issues identified under the
       Agency's State Administrative Reporting Burden Reduction Initiative. EPA will take a similar
       approach for bundling of assurances for Tribes that would apply to Continuing Environmental
       Programs (CEPs), project grants, and non-Performance Partnership Grants (non-PPGs). EPA
       will issue implementing guidance by April 2012.

3.  Set. Communicate, and Use Customer Service Metrics and Standards

      EPA, Tribal representatives, and National  Program Managers will assess the needed
      programmatic reporting frequency for continuing environmental program (CEP) grants. The
      group will determine if programmatic criteria can be established for Tribal grants management
      which, if met, may enable the  respective Tribe to reduce the frequency of grant progress reports.

      EPA and Tribal representatives identified that current federal delays in approving Tribal indirect
      cost rate proposals can jeopardize a Tribe's ability to claim indirect costs under EPA grants.
      After soliciting Tribal feedback, EPA recently issued an interim Indirect Cost Rate Policy for
      Tribes that should enhance the indirect cost rate process, and in partnership with Tribes, will
      evaluate the effectiveness of the Policy.

4.  Streamline Agency Processes to  Reduce Costs and Accelerate Delivery

      EPA  and States determined that improvements are needed to streamline State grant
       management. Working with the States, National Program Managers and Regions, EPA has
       launched an initiative to enhance State grant timeliness and more specifically address issues
       with 1) delays in awarding grant funds after the passage of a full appropriation, 2) delays in
       obligating grant funds in the first year of availability, and 3) accumulation of unliquidated
       obligations in awarded grants and the need to accelerate grant outlays.

      EPA  and State representatives identified that some pre/post awards forms require routine
       submissions even when the data on the report shows no positive information. These reports
       may be more efficiently managed through an exceptions-only reporting process, i.e., the State
       would only submit the report when there are "positive" data. EPA will work with States to
       determine which pre/post award forms may follow an exceptions-only reporting process.

      EPA  and State representatives identified that grants may be delayed due to the need to obtain
       intergovernmental review comments either from a State single point of contact or areawide
       planning agency.  Feedback from EPA's State partners suggests that this process is
       cumbersome and time-consuming, therefore EPA will consult with  OMB to determine if there is
       a flexibility within the existing legal framework to make the  process more efficient.

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          EPA Customer Service Plan                      December 2011


                 SERVICE #2: PESTICIDES RE-REGISTRATION/MAINTENANCE FEE

                                         EPA/OCSPP
Overview:  The Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), section 3(c)(5), states
that the Administrator shall register a pesticide if it is determined that, when used in accordance with
labeling and common practices, the product "will not generally cause unreasonable adverse effects on
the environment." As with other Government licensing programs, EPA collects a fee from pesticides
manufacturers to cover the government's costs and, in return, ensures that registration actions are
performed in a timely and efficient manner.

Key Customer Groups: Pesticides manufacturers.

Challenges:  Keeping up with the workload for review and registration of new pesticides, new uses for
existing pesticides, and other registration requests in accordance with FQPA standards and Pesticide
Registration Improvement Renewal Act timeframes. The authorizing statute (Pesticide Registration
Improvement Renewal Act) will expire at the end of FY 2012.  Efforts are underway to reauthorize the
statute, which could result in changes to both programmatic requirements and fee structure.
1. Increase Feedback from Customers

      EPA will continue to provide locally-based technical assistance and guidance by partnering with
       states and tribes on implementation of pesticide decisions. The Agency will address issues
       including newer/safer products and improved outreach and education. Technical assistance will
       include workshops, demonstration projects, briefings, and informational meetings in areas
       including pesticide safety training and use of lower risk pesticides.

2 Adopt Best Practices for Improving Customer Experience

      EPA began promoting reduced risk pesticides in 1993 by giving registration priority to pesticides
       that have lower toxicity to humans and non-target  organisms such as birds, fish, and plants; low
       potential for contaminating groundwater; lower use rates; low pest resistance potential; and
       compatibility with Integrated Pest Management (IPM).1 Several countries and international
       organizations also have instituted programs to facilitate registering reduced risk pesticides. EPA
       works with the international scientific community and the Organization for Economic
       Cooperation and Development (OECD) member countries to register new reduced-risk
       pesticides and establish related tolerances (maximum residue limits). Through these efforts,
       EPA can help reduce risks to Americans from foods imported from other countries.

3 Set, Communicate, and Use  Customer Service Metrics and Standards

       During FY 2013, EPA will continue to implement registration review of existing pesticides and
        develop work plans for pesticides entering the review pipeline, adjusting as necessary due to
        reauthorization of the statute. The goal of the  registration review process is to review pesticide
1 See U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Pesticides: Health and Safety, Reducing Pesticide Risk internet site:
http://www.epa.gov/pesticides/health/reducing.htm.

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          EPA Customer Service Plan                      December 2011
       registrations every fifteen years to ensure that pesticides already in the marketplace meet the
       most current scientific standards and address concerns identified after the original registration.


4 Streamline Agency Processes to Reduce Costs and Accelerate Delivery

      Through ongoing education and research in environmentally sound pest remediation methods,
       the program ensures that effective and safe pesticides are available for regular use and for
       emergency situations. Under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act Section
       18, EPA must ensure that, under the very limiting provisions of the exemption, such  emergency
       uses will not present an unreasonable risk to the environment. In such cases, EPA's goal is to
       complete the more detailed and comprehensive review for potential unreasonable risk
       conducted for pesticide registration within three years following the emergency.
                               SERVICE #3: ONE EPA WEBSITE

                              EPA/Jointly led by OEAEE and OEI
Overview: EPA's website is a valuable communications tool, seen 15 million times monthly by people
trying to learn about environmental issues, comply with regulations, help protect the environment, and
do business with EPA. Under the One EPA Web project, we will rebuild epa.gov to focus on content
that most directly helps people accomplish their tasks online, such as such as learning about an issue,
understanding regulatory requirements, finding ways to engage in an issue, or discovering how they
can help protect the environment.

Key Customer Groups: Citizens, businesses, scientists, other government agencies

Challenges: Sufficient staff time to devote to identifying audiences and appropriate content; staff and
management attention to develop new online systems; the current organizational focus on the website
means rethinking how we devote resources to rebuilding; too much time spent publishing every
document we own  instead of focusing efforts on supporting key audiences' top tasks.

Featured Actions: Building new sites on priority topics,  identifying key audiences  for each topic and
selecting content that best serves the needs of those audiences.  Focus is on helping people
accomplish their tasks, not overwhelming readers by simply publishing every document. For example, if
someone comes to epa.gov to learn how they can help protect the environment, we'll prominently
provide specific  tips, while maintaining links to regulatory history. We will rebuild at least 20 topic-based
websites in FY2012 in an ongoing transformation that will continue into future years.
1.  Increase Feedback from Customers

  Collect and analyze data about the most-visited pages to inform the choice of topics to build in
   FY2012. Continue using online surveys to understand what information users are looking for and
   their top tasks.

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          EPA Customer Service Plan                     December 2011
2 . Adopt Best Practices for Improving Customer Experience

  Prioritize investments based in part on the most popular topics people are currently visiting on
   epa.gov. Choose which sites to build in FY2012.
  Revise "About EPA" pages to deliver more local information by state, moving away from focusing on
   EPA's administrative regions. Target:  FY2012.
  Review and revise "popular topics" listed on EPA's home page. Target: monthly.
  Conduct training on plain writing and emphasize plain writing on new websites. Target: provide
   multiple trainings in FY2012.

3. Set, Communicate, and  Use Customer Service Metrics and Standards

  Deliver quarterly website status updates to senior managers containing such metrics as popular
   pages, popular searches, and metadata quality, with the goal of educating and focusing attention on
   the importance of high-quality web development.
  Use heat maps (graphics showing where people actually click) to determine how to lay out web
   pages.
  Use web traffic reports to inform decisions about which documents to highlight.

4 Streamline Agency Processes to Reduce Costs and Accelerate Delivery

  Launch a new web content management system in FY2012 to publish epa.gov, which will  reduce
   costs from coding individual pages.
  Use canned searches to  help people find information rather than maintaining hand-built lists of links.
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