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s 	U.S. Environmental Protection Agency	2007-P-00013
March 29, 2007
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Office of Inspector General
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At a Glance
PRO"*^
Why We Did This Review
We initiated this review to
evaluate how the U.S.
Environmental Protection
Agency's (EPA's) National
Environmental Performance
Track program (Performance
Track) achieves EPA goals.
We specifically sought to
determine how Performance
Track contributes to achieving
environmental goals, how well
it recognizes and encourages
environmental leadership, and
how the program tracks
member performance.
Background
Performance Track is a public-
private partnership that
encourages member facilities
to improve the environment
through using environmental
management systems, local
public outreach, and public
reporting for results. EPA
designed Performance Track
to recognize and encourage
facilities that demonstrate
strong environmental
performance beyond current
requirements.
For further information,
contact our Office of
Congressional and Public
Liaison at (202) 566-2391.
To view the full report,
click on the following link:
www.epa.qov/oiq/reports/2007/
20070329-2007-P-00013.pdf
Catalyst for Improving the Environment
Performance Track Could Improve Program
Design and Management to Ensure Value
What We Found
We found that Performance Track did not have clear plans that connected
activities with its goals, and did not have performance measures that show if it
achieves anticipated results. The program tied an EPA goal to member
commitments, and did not meet the goal because members did not make sufficient
progress toward their commitments. These implementation challenges detracted
from EPA's anticipated results (only 2 of 30 sampled Performance Track members
met all of their environmental improvement commitments). In addition, members
did not have access to some program benefits.
In assessing members' leadership using independent criteria, we found that most
Performance Track members' compliance and toxic release records were better
than average, but some were not. Although most members showed leadership and
environmental progress, the presence of underperforming facilities in this
leadership program reduces the integrity and value of the brand.
What We Recommend
We recommend that EPA design a comprehensive strategic plan to connect
activities with goals and to encourage staff and management to focus on program
goals and member commitments. We recommend that the program measure and
report on performance related to activities and goals. EPA should also maintain
centralized databases for compliance screening and program member information
so that it can readily demonstrate that members meet program criteria. We
recommend that EPA encourage member facilities to set and achieve
commitments so that the public has a clear idea of what results members will
actually produce. We also recommend that EPA include assessing member
leadership in compliance and toxic releases in the program criteria. EPA can use
these data to track members' progress, define top performance, and establish and
modify criteria and performance measures.
In its response, EPA disagreed with how the program should be evaluated and the
extent to which it has succeeded, to date. However, EPA agreed with all of our
recommendations for improvement. They also suggested technical corrections.
We made changes as appropriate. Appendix A provides EPA's response to the
draft report and our comments.

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