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News Flash: EPA Releases Strategic Plan

APTIM’s compliance experts are sharing a few takeaways and observations about the Strategic Plan's seven goals as they pertain to clients' environmental compliance programs and practices.

On March 28, 2022, to coincide with the presidential administration’s submittal of their proposed budget for Fiscal Year (FY) 2023, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published its FY 2022-2026 EPA Strategic Plan. The Strategic Plan identifies seven goals, each with two or three objectives. The seven identified goals are:

  1. Tackle the Climate Crisis
  2. Take Decisive Action to Advance Environmental Justice and Civil Rights
  3. Enforce Environmental Laws and Ensure Compliance
  4. Ensure Clean and Healthy Air for All Communities
  5. Ensure Clean and Safe Water for All Communities
  6. Safeguard and Revitalize Communities
  7. Ensure Safety of Chemicals for People and the Environment

Below are a few takeaways and observations about the goals from APTIM’s experts.

Tackle the Climate Crisis includes an “aggressive” reduction of greenhouse gases with a short-term focus on hydrofluorocarbons. The transportation, electricity production, and oil and natural gas sectors are specifically called out as areas of focus. This goal also includes facilitating the transition to a clean energy economy.

The Enforce Environmental Laws and Ensure Compliance goal includes the EPA’s continued use of the National Compliance Initiatives for identifying value-added areas of focus as well as collaboration with state and local agencies to determine where Federal assistance may be beneficial. Increased inspections, effective targeting, and “timely” enforcement are all emphasized in this section.

Both the Ensure Clean and Healthy Air for All Communities and Ensure Clean and Safe Water for All Communities goals seem to be focused on existing strategies and regulations as far as businesses are concerned. There is an emphasis on mitigation of contamination. Both also have renewed emphasis on natural factors such as radon and drinking water.

Safeguard and Revitalize Communities places some focus on hazardous waste, but it is relatively vague, referring to reducing waste and increased recycling but with no specific strategies or performance goals. The Strategic Plan mentions updating hazardous waste regulations “as necessary” with the Generator Improvements Rule and Pharmaceutical Rule cited as recent examples, but does not present new initiatives or ideas.

Copies of the full plan and a five-page overview, which includes tables of their goals, objectives, and specific strategies, can be found here.

Reviewing and aligning your environmental compliance programs with the EPA’s Strategic Plan can help businesses anticipate regulatory initiatives, focus on governmental priorities, and ensure you are prepared for any focused regulatory inspections. APTIM monitors regulatory trends and priority realignments and can bring that knowledge to assist you in strengthening your existing programs accordingly. We maintain working relationships with regulators at all levels (Federal, state, and local) and understand not only their regulations but the motivations and driving forces behind them.

By Brian Mullen, Scientist III

APTIM. Expect the Extraordinary.

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