December 23, 2014

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The Environmental Protection Agency has released for public comment a draft strategic plan for the agency’s next four years.  The Draft FY 2014-2018 EPA Strategic Plan (the “Plan”) is used to support implementation of EPA’s priorities and as a management tool by senior EPA leadership.

The Plan is organized around five strategic goals: (1) Addressing climate change and improving air quality; (2) Protecting America’s waters; (3) Cleaning up communities and advancing sustainable development; (4) Ensuring the safety of chemicals and preventing pollution; and (5) Protecting human health and the environment by enforcing laws and assuring compliance.

One of the major topics covered is what EPA has termed “Next Generation Compliance.”  Through the use of new information and monitoring technologies, EPA hopes to achieve better compliance results while at the same time relying less on traditional methods of enforcement, such as on-site inspections and legal actions. Indeed, EPA envisions a significant decrease in federal inspections and evaluations over the next four years, as well as a decrease in enforcement cases. A shift towards electronic reporting from regulated entities and increasing public accessibility to data that EPA has gathered are also part of the “Next Generation Compliance” concept.

Public comments will be accepted until January 3, 2014, and EPA hopes to submit the plan to Congress in February 2014.

A copy of the Draft FY 2014-2018 EPA Strategic Plan may be accessed here.