Environmental Protection Agency:

Protecting Human Health and the Environment Through Improved Management

RCED-88-101: Published: Aug 16, 1988. Publicly Released: Aug 16, 1988.

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GAO performed a management review of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to determine how EPA can: (1) make and sustain management improvements to strengthen policy development; (2) better achieve program initiatives; (3) improve the integrity of management support systems; and (4) enhance planning for future environmental issues.

GAO found that EPA actions to increase managerial and operational effectiveness included: (1) managing programs and activities with emphasis on achieving measurable environmental results; (2) establishing more effective working arrangements with states; and (3) obtaining improved financial, management, and programmatic information to better set priorities, administer programs, and assess programs. GAO also found that EPA: (1) lacked clearly defined goals for managing measurable environmental results; (2) has not ranked program priorities or made essential links between actions and desired results; (3) has made only limited progress in developing measures of environmental quality and linking them to program activities; (4) has numerous design and implementation problems and information gaps which limit its research effectiveness; (5) has achieved some success in balancing its oversight needs with states' needs for flexibility and autonomy; and (6) lacked fully developed data standards and data requirements and definitions across programs.

Matter for Congressional Consideration

  1. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: GAO is currently looking into this issue further at the request of the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee chairman, with actions possible at the conclusion.

    Matter: Congress should clarify how EPA and the states are to share accountability for: (1) meeting national goals and objectives; (2) achievement of environmental results, efficient use of federal funds, and compliance with federal regulations within the individual delegated state programs; and (3) the consistency of programs and activities nationwide. Congress may need to make adjustments in the environmental statutes or the resources provided EPA and the states to carry out their respective roles and meet congressional expectations as to program accountability.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: EPA has implemented a strategic planning system and issued a strategic plan in July 1992 that articulates an overarching goal of risk reduction and a commitment to measuring the success of its actions on the basis of this goal. The plan also describes strategies for achieving its goals.

    Recommendation: To enhance and facilitate EPA efforts to manage for measurable environmental results, the Administrator, EPA, should: (1) develop a clear and cohesive statement of the policy goal to guide all parts of the agency in moving toward managing for measurable environmental results; (2) make clear the relationships between this policy goal and other agency goals and management themes and link them clearly to the annual priority list to establish a basis for tracking their progress in the agency's planning and budgeting systems; and (3) set and communicate clear concepts on how the policy goal relates to current legislation and proposed changes and to agency efforts in addressing environmental problems that cut across several environmental media, using risk assessment and management tools, and developing and using environmental measures and indicators of progress.

    Agency Affected: Environmental Protection Agency

  2. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: Although, at one time, EPA formed a committee to review the Statutory Review Project, no action is now intended.

    Recommendation: To better link decisions on what areas are of greatest importance to the agency, as indicated in the priority list, with the formulation of the future-year budget, the Administrator, EPA, should make greater use of existing flexibility to shift resources to higher-priority issues by utilizing the Statutory Review Project to document existing areas of legislative flexibility, inform executives and managers, identify legislative barriers to be addressed, and prepare proposals for legislative changes required.

    Agency Affected: Environmental Protection Agency

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The overall EPA strategic plan calls for strategic implementation of its statutory mandates, recognizing that these should not limit its risk reduction efforts. The agency's fiscal year 1994 budget guidance therefore directed program and regional officials to examine opportunities to redirect resources to risk-based activities. EPA has increasingly emphasized the importance of reflecting risk in budget decisions with mixed success. The nature of this recommendation is such that action on it will never be "complete."

    Recommendation: To better link decisions on what areas are of greatest importance to the agency, as indicated in the priority list, with the formulation of the future-year budget, the Administrator, EPA, should make greater use of existing flexibility to shift resources to higher-priority issues by using flexibility consistent with current and proposed legislation to shift a percentage of the total agency budget annually from issues of lower priority to those of higher priority.

    Agency Affected: Environmental Protection Agency

  4. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The recommended action was taken in developing the FY 1994 budget request, for which program managers were asked to prepare action plans for priorities for which they were requesting additional resources or targeting base resources. The plans were also to include measures to track performance.

    Recommendation: To better link decisions on what areas are of greatest importance to the agency, as indicated in the priority list, with the formulation of the future-year budget, the Administrator, EPA, should make greater use of existing flexibility to shift resources to higher-priority issues by increasing the Administrator's options for shifting resources across media and program offices by modifying the budget guidance to ask assistant administrators to submit, with their proposed budgets, information on how they would accomplish their work within a percent range of fewer resources in lower-priority activities and how additional resources could achieve greater measurable results in higher-priority activities.

    Agency Affected: Environmental Protection Agency

  5. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: EPA has revised its planning and budgeting systems to incorporate regional input.

    Recommendation: To better link decisions on what areas are of greatest importance to the agency, as indicated in the priority list, with the formulation of the future-year budget, the Administrator, EPA, should make greater use of existing flexibility to shift resources to higher-priority issues by refocusing the lead region approach to reflect cross-media planning and budgeting and to enhance regional participation in budgeting.

    Agency Affected: Environmental Protection Agency

  6. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: EPA revised its planning/budget schedule so that strategic plans are developed before internal budgets are submitted.

    Recommendation: To ensure that operational planning drives the development of operating budgets and to improve linkages between agency planning and budget systems so that resource allocation supports accomplishment of the Administrator's priorities, the Administrator, EPA, should correct the timing of the development of operating budgets, including the use of work-load models for allocating regional resources, so that the development of operational plans to carry out the Agency Operating Guidance precedes allocation of resources.

    Agency Affected: Environmental Protection Agency

  7. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: For fiscal year 1994, planning and budgeting guidance were provided in the same set of documents. Both planning and budget offices concurrently reviewed program office submissions and provided an integrated review package to the Deputy Administrator. The two offices work together more regularly, according to planning office officials.

    Recommendation: To ensure that operational planning drives the development of operating budgets and to improve linkages between agency planning and budget systems so that resource allocation supports accomplishment of the Administrator's priorities, the Administrator, EPA, should build institutional mechanisms between the Office of Policy, Planning, and Evaluation and the Office of Administration and Resources Management by: (1) combining annual guidance for operational planning and developing operating budgets into a single document that clearly links the two; and (2) instituting joint reviews of proposed plans and budgets by the Office of Policy, Planning, and Evaluation and the Comptroller's Office to ensure that the two processes are serving their appropriate roles in supporting the priority list.

    Agency Affected: Environmental Protection Agency

  8. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: GAO will followup on actions taken in response to similar, more recent recommendations.

    Recommendation: To ensure that operational planning drives the development of operating budgets and to improve linkages between agency planning and budget systems so that resource allocation supports accomplishment of the Administrator's priorities, the Administrator, EPA, should correct the current lack of integration of planning and budgeting in the Resource Planning and Budgeting Manual and the Strategic Planning and Management System Reference Paper by issuing a joint, comprehensive, consistent document or correcting and more adequately reflecting both systems in separate documents on each.

    Agency Affected: Environmental Protection Agency

  9. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: EPA is reluctant to use its reprogramming authority because of concerns about incurring the displeasure of its appropriations committees. Agency officials also feel that, while the concept is good, reprogramming is impractical since it takes about 6 to 8 months before funds can be reprogrammed, leaving very little time in which to spend the funds.

    Recommendation: To more fully utilize its reprogramming authority to shift resources to priority issues during the execution phase of the management cycle and better link oversight activities regarding the achievement of planned goals, including planning system targets, and the use of resources, the Administrator, EPA, should provide guidance on available reprogramming flexibility and, through meetings and training sessions, inform program and regional office officials about the conditions for using this flexibility.

    Agency Affected: Environmental Protection Agency

  10. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: EPA has attempted to emphasize areas of high risk in its budget but believes that Congress has given it less flexibility by earmarking funds. While the agency continues to make progress in this area, the nature of the recommendation is such that it will never be "fully implemented."

    Recommendation: To better link decisions on what areas are of greatest importance to the agency, as indicated in the priority list, with the formulation of the future-year budget, the Administrator, EPA, should make greater use of existing flexibility to shift resources to higher-priority issues by consulting regularly with Congress to identify areas of flexibility under current law and gain congressional support where changes are needed.

    Agency Affected: Environmental Protection Agency

  11. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: GAO will followup on actions taken in response to similar, more recent recommendations.

    Recommendation: To provide an operational link between work done and results to be achieved, as indicated by measurable priority statements, the Administrator, EPA, should refine planning system accountability measures by including productivity goals in the measures as a way of assessing quality, timeliness, and efficiency of service delivery.

    Agency Affected: Environmental Protection Agency

  12. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: GAO will follow up on actions taken in response to similar, more recent recommendations.

    Recommendation: To provide an operational link between work done and results to be achieved, as indicated by measurable priority statements, the Administrator, EPA, should refine planning system accountability measures by stating measures and objectives in terms that are both operational and measurable.

    Agency Affected: Environmental Protection Agency

  13. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: EPA has plans to undertake a second comparative risk project. In addition, EPA has completed several regional comparative risk projects.

    Recommendation: To better identify the most significant issues to be addressed in order to achieve an integrated, cross-media program for accomplishing measurable environmental results, the Administrator, EPA, should better utilize and build on the results of the Comparative Risk Project, Strategic Planning Initiatives, and initiatives for greater participation by regional offices and the states. This should include beginning the planning to undertake a second Comparative Risk Study in 2 or 3 years, when some of the data and analytical gaps have been filled.

    Agency Affected: Environmental Protection Agency

  14. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: Although EPA recognizes the need to strike a balance, it has no plans for articulating rules on how to reach such a balance.

    Recommendation: To better identify the most significant issues to be addressed in order to achieve an integrated, cross-media program for accomplishing measurable environmental results, the Administrator, EPA, should better utilize and build on the results of the Comparative Risk Project, Strategic Planning Initiatives, and initiatives for greater participation by regional offices and the states. This should include articulating decision rules for balancing efforts directed at human health and those aimed at preserving and maintaining the environment.

    Agency Affected: Environmental Protection Agency

  15. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: All 10 EPA regions have completed comparative risk studies, and the agency instructed the regions, in its guidance for preparing the fiscal year 1994 budget request, to request funding for areas found to be of high risk.

    Recommendation: To better identify the most significant issues to be addressed in order to achieve an integrated, cross-media program for accomplishing measurable environmental results, the Administrator, EPA, should better utilize and build on the results of the Comparative Risk Project, Strategic Planning Initiatives, and initiatives for greater participation by regional offices and the states. This should include undertaking risk studies in all 10 regions to build the analytical base for regional office participation in the development of the priority list and the Agency Operating Guidance.

    Agency Affected: Environmental Protection Agency

  16. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: As part of the EPA planning and budgeting process for fiscal year 1994, regions and national programs were directed to prepare plans linking resource requests to risk reduction, the agency's broad goals, and regions' strategic plans.

    Recommendation: To better identify the most significant issues to be addressed in order to achieve an integrated, cross-media program for accomplishing measurable environmental results, the Administrator, EPA, should better utilize and build on the results of the Comparative Risk Project, Strategic Planning Initiatives, and initiatives for greater participation by regional offices and the states. This should include ensuring that, as priorities are refined through additional analysis, they are linked to proposals for legislative changes and reflected in budget formulation, the Agency Operating Guidance, allocation of resources to the regions, and accountability measures.

    Agency Affected: Environmental Protection Agency

  17. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: EPA has developed several geographic initiatives in which the agency has focused on specific water bodies or geographic regions to attempt to measure and control pollution from disparate sources and in various environmental media.

    Recommendation: To better identify the most significant issues to be addressed in order to achieve an integrated, cross-media program for accomplishing measurable environmental results, the Administrator, EPA, should better utilize and build on the results of the Comparative Risk Project, Strategic Planning Initiatives, and initiatives for greater participation by regional offices and the states. This should include using the waste system flow chart developed by the Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response in its Strategic Planning Initiative as a technique to include more pollution sources and their pathways and receptors to permit wider consideration of cross-media transfers and possible solutions.

    Agency Affected: Environmental Protection Agency

  18. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: GAO will followup on similar recommendations made in more recent reports.

    Recommendation: To better identify the most significant issues to be addressed in order to achieve an integrated, cross-media program for accomplishing measurable environmental results, the Administrator, EPA, should better utilize and build on the results of the Comparative Risk Project, Strategic Planning Initiatives, and initiatives for greater participation by regional offices and the states. This should include utilizing the experience of the Near Coastal Waters Strategic Planning Initiative in developing strategies in other program areas. Specifically, the problem definition, consideration of options, and ranking system used to classify estuaries and near coastal waters by severity of problems can be adapted to better focus attention on sites with the most environmentally significant problems.

    Agency Affected: Environmental Protection Agency

  19. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: According to EPA, this regional involvement has occurred at its annual planning meetings in 1991 and 1992.

    Recommendation: To better identify the most significant issues to be addressed in order to achieve an integrated, cross-media program for accomplishing measurable environmental results, the Administrator, EPA, should better utilize and build on the results of the Comparative Risk Project, Strategic Planning Initiatives, and initiatives for greater participation by regional offices and the states. This should include involving the regions more effectively in the development of agency priorities by having them develop and rank their own priorities and give a regional presentation at the annual planning meeting.

    Agency Affected: Environmental Protection Agency

  20. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: EPA has moved away from problem priority lists to priority themes and initiatives, in the belief that such an approach allows for better integration across programs and consequently more effective action. While reasonable, the proposition remains to be evaluated.

    Recommendation: To provide better guidance for developing resource requirements and making trade-offs during budget formulation, developing operational plans and budgets, and selecting appropriate accountability measures, the Administrator, EPA, should revise the priority list to: (1) state priorities in measurable short- and long-term statements to provide the missing link between policy guidance in the priority list, the Agency Operating Guidance, and managerial accountability; and (2) provide a way to determine relative importance by ranking the priority list.

    Agency Affected: Environmental Protection Agency

  21. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: EPA is reluctant to use its reprogramming authority because of concerns about incurring the displeasure of its appropriations committees. Agency officials also feel that, while the concept is good, reprogramming is impractical since it takes about 6 to 8 months before funds can be reprogrammed, leaving very little time in which to spend the funds.

    Recommendation: To more fully utilize its reprogramming authority to shift resources to priority issues during the execution phase of the management cycle and better link oversight activities regarding the achievement of planned goals, including planning system targets, and the use of resources, the Administrator, EPA, should revise the Resource Planning and Budgeting Manual to stress the use of reprogramming as a method of responding to agency priorities. For example, the section on reprogramming, as it applies to budget execution, needs to emphasize its use as a way to shift funds to priority list areas.

    Agency Affected: Environmental Protection Agency

  22. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: According to EPA officials, the agency no longer performs quarterly performance reviews.

    Recommendation: To more fully utilize its reprogramming authority to shift resources to priority issues during the execution phase of the management cycle and better link oversight activities regarding the achievement of planned goals, including planning system targets, and the use of resources, the Administrator, EPA, should use the quarterly planning system reviews as a combined progress review on performance targets and review of resource utilization to identify opportunities to reprogram funds from lower to higher priorities. This could include: (1) considering issues in the priority list for the operating year, as well as for the future fiscal year, as candidates for resource shifts in quarterly reviews with national program managers and review sessions with regional offices; and (2) reviewing the extent to which various levels of management are using reprogramming to move resources from lower-priority areas to higher-priority issues.

    Agency Affected: Environmental Protection Agency

  23. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: A task force of EPA and state officials has been convened to make recommendations on improving state-EPA relations. Work groups have also been formed by several EPA regional offices. GAO has made similar recommendations in two other reports--RCED-91-97 and RCED-95-64.

    Recommendation: To help sustain and advance current EPA efforts to establish a more effective federal/state relationship in carrying out national environmental programs, the Administrator, EPA, should identify cases of individual state transaction review by EPA and reassess whether such procedures are essential. If the procedures are not essential or other monitoring techniques can be substituted, they should be eliminated.

    Agency Affected: Environmental Protection Agency

  24. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Several regional offices have offered multi-year guidance and funding agreements, and some have put multi-year agreements into place. As part of implementing the State Capacity Task Force report, EPA plans to continue studying this concept.

    Recommendation: To help sustain and advance current EPA efforts to establish a more effective federal/state relationship in carrying out national environmental programs, the Administrator, EPA, should, to the extent feasible, provide multiyear, instead of the current annual, guidance to the states and work with Congress to consider providing multiyear financial assistance.

    Agency Affected: Environmental Protection Agency

  25. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The state-EPA task force recommended that EPA and the states develop a process for developing guidance on oversight for states, EPA regions, and headquarters. GAO has made similar recommendations in another report--RCED-95-64.

    Recommendation: To help sustain and advance current EPA efforts to establish a more effective federal/state relationship in carrying out national environmental programs, the Administrator, EPA, should improve evaluations of state program performance, especially with regard to incorporating the measurement of environmental results. In communicating and addressing performance problems, the Administrator should stress the type and amount of improvement needed and options available to the states to take corrective action.

    Agency Affected: Environmental Protection Agency

  26. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: While the state-EPA task force recommended guidance on oversight, its recommendation does not touch on the issue of taking back delegated programs.

    Recommendation: To help sustain and advance current EPA efforts to establish a more effective federal/state relationship in carrying out national environmental programs, the Administrator, EPA, should establish specific guidelines as to when and under what circumstances EPA will begin action to take back delegated program authority. These guidelines should be communicated to both agency staff and the states for use in cases where evaluations find that state performance is poor.

    Agency Affected: Environmental Protection Agency

  27. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: As a result of joint state/EPA efforts such as the State Capacity Task Force, agency and state leaders recently signed an agreement establishing a more effective partnership in carrying out environmental programs. The agreement includes joint planning and priority setting, increased use of environmental goals and indicators, and differential oversight based on conditions and performance. All states are expected to participate by FY97.

    Recommendation: The Administrator, EPA, should take the lead in working with Congress and the states to reassess the current federal/state relationship and to determine whether a more comprehensive approach is needed to accomplish EPA, state, and congressional objectives and expectations for the partnership.

    Agency Affected: Environmental Protection Agency

  28. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: An Executive Steering Committee for IRM was established in March 1994. A CIO was appointed in February 1995, and an IRM Planning Division was established in October 1995. EPA developed a high-level data architecture and formalized it in an Environmental Information Acquisition and Use Plan. To improve data and voice networks, EPA redesigned and implemented the latest router technology, implemented Internet capability for all agency employees, and is working with GSA to improve its telecommunications contract.

    Recommendation: The Administrator, EPA, should take appropriate steps to develop a long-range, mission-based plan that focuses on the actual use and value of information in achieving EPA goals. Specifically, the plan should define the framework for developing a modern information resources management infrastructure, which will: (1) establish high-level management authority for planning, directing, and implementing information resources management activities; (2) establish a data architecture that identifies the agency's data flows and relates its data assets to operational needs; and (3) further improve data and voice networks needed for the conduct of business at operational locations across the nation.

    Agency Affected: Environmental Protection Agency

  29. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: EPA completed implementation of its new financial management system in March 1989, and has named a project manager to oversee it.

    Recommendation: In modernizing and improving EPA financial activities, the Administrator, EPA, should continue to provide the support and priority needed for financial systems developmental efforts.

    Agency Affected: Environmental Protection Agency

  30. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The EPA Office of Policy, Planning, and Evaluation serves as the focal point through its management of the new planning, budgeting, and accountability system.

    Recommendation: To ensure that the goal and initiatives of managing for measurable environmental results are being implemented, monitored, and accomplished, and to implement the previous recommendations, the Administrator, EPA, should establish an organizational focus as a way for providing the leadership to ensure the successful implementation and achievement of the initiative. A focal point could be an individual, a group, or an office designated as responsible for seeing that the necessary policies, procedures, processes, and systems are developed, implemented, monitored, and revised to ensure that progress is being made in effectively achieving the initiative.

    Agency Affected: Environmental Protection Agency

  31. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: EPA has reviewed the IEMP projects to identify issues that can be improved in future projects.

    Recommendation: To more effectively accomplish the objectives of the demonstration projects, the Administrator, EPA, should review the results of the Integrated Environmental Management Program geographic studies to identify changes that need to be made in the management of demonstration projects in general.

    Agency Affected: Environmental Protection Agency

  32. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: EPA has reviewed the IEMP projects to identify issues that can be improved in future geographic studies, and actively disseminated study results.

    Recommendation: To more effectively accomplish the objectives of the demonstration projects, the Administrator, EPA, should review the results of the Integrated Environmental Management Program (IEMP) geographic studies to identify achievements, limitations, problems, and lessons learned that are common to the projects so that the results are effectively disseminated and used to improve future geographic studies.

    Agency Affected: Environmental Protection Agency

  33. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: GAO will followup on actions taken in response to similar, more recent recommendations.

    Recommendation: To revitalize and better direct EPA efforts to identify environmental measures, as a way of achieving its goal of managing for measurable environmental results, the Administrator, EPA, should adopt the framework for organizing and collecting management and environmental data and concentrate agency efforts on identifying and testing the best available measures. The process should include assigning specific responsibility for the effort and establishing time frames for completion, allocation of resources, and peer review or oversight.

    Agency Affected: Environmental Protection Agency

  34. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: EPA is not evaluating these earlier efforts but is applying their approaches to initiatives in the Chesapeake Bay and Great Lakes.

    Recommendation: To revitalize and better direct EPA efforts to identify environmental measures, as a way of achieving its goal of managing for measurable environmental results, the Administrator, EPA, should adopt the framework for organizing and collecting management and environmental data and concentrate agency efforts on identifying and testing the best available measures. The process should include assessing the progress being made in Region 10, on the Conservation Foundation project, and the work at Corvallis Laboratory to determine how they can contribute to measurement identification and implementation.

    Agency Affected: Environmental Protection Agency

  35. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: EPA formed working groups with the U.S. Geological Survey, NOAA, and others to share environmental data.

    Recommendation: To revitalize and better direct EPA efforts to identify environmental measures, as a way of achieving its goal of managing for measurable environmental results, the Administrator, EPA, should adopt the framework for organizing and collecting management and environmental data and concentrate agency efforts on identifying and testing the best available measures. The process should include revisiting its past surveys and data collected as part of its operating and monitoring activities, as well as similar data collected by states and other federal agencies, to determine if these data might be appropriate for use in assessing program results.

    Agency Affected: Environmental Protection Agency

  36. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: EPA plans to be a much stronger advocate for data collection and to request small but important budget increases, according to agency planning officials.

    Recommendation: To revitalize and better direct EPA efforts to identify environmental measures, as a way of achieving its goal of managing for measurable environmental results, the Administrator, EPA, should adopt the framework for organizing and collecting management and environmental data and concentrate agency efforts on identifying and testing the best available measures. The process should include recognizing the vulnerability of monitoring and survey activities to budget reductions when making decisions relating to the expansion, termination, or reduction of these activities.

    Agency Affected: Environmental Protection Agency

  37. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Water and Superfund programs have developed environmental indicators; other programs are developing them. Ultimately, EPA intends to build these into its management accountability system.

    Recommendation: A necessary step in evaluating program effectiveness is to link program activities to measures of environmental quality and to decisions on allocation and targeting of resources. The Administrator, EPA, should begin taking the steps necessary to link program and monitoring activities to environmental indicators. Efforts underway in Region 4 appear to provide a good starting point.

    Agency Affected: Environmental Protection Agency

  38. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The EPA Office of Research and Development has recognized the need to move in this direction. The nature of the recommendation is such that action to implement it will never be "complete."

    Recommendation: To ensure the continued strengthening of a sound analytic base needed for assessing and managing environmental risks, the Administrator, EPA, should identify the critical research needs for implementing the initiative of managing for measurable environmental results and establish a process or structure to ensure that these needs are met.

    Agency Affected: Environmental Protection Agency

  39. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The EPA new "core" research program is to develop a national database on the extent and nature of human exposure to pollution.

    Recommendation: To ensure the continued strengthening of a sound analytic base needed for assessing and managing environmental risks, the Administrator, EPA, should assess the status of methods and activities for determining exposure, particularly human exposure, to pollutants to provide a basis for deciding the additional research needed to develop and use effective methods.

    Agency Affected: Environmental Protection Agency

  40. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Office of Research and Development (ORD) realigned its organizational structure to use risk assessment and risk management as organizational principles for its labs. ORD has also revamped its committee process to include all parts of EPA and external groups, as well. ORD has also established a new strategic planning and management process for setting research priorities.

    Recommendation: To ensure the continued strengthening of a sound analytic base needed for assessing and managing environmental risks, the Administrator, EPA, should establish a long-range research planning process for addressing research needs. As part of this effort, the Administrator should evaluate the present Research Committee process of developing the agency's research agenda with a view toward determining how it can be revised to ensure a proper balance between the agency's short- and long-term research needs.

    Agency Affected: Environmental Protection Agency

  41. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: EPA participated with GAO in performing audits of its financial statements for fiscal years 1987 and 1988. In addition, the Chief Financial Officers Act of 1990 requires federal agencies, including EPA, to perform annual financial audits.

    Recommendation: In modernizing and improving EPA financial activities, the Administrator, EPA, should institute an annual audit of EPA financial statements.

    Agency Affected: Environmental Protection Agency

 

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