In 1993, Congress enacted the Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA), which is intended to improve public confidence in federal agency performance by holding agencies accountable for achieving program results. Under the GPRA, federal agencies must clearly describe the goals and objectives of their programs, identify resources and action needed to accomplish the goals and objectives, develop a means of measuring progress, and regularly report on program achievements.
EPA's mission is "... to protect human health and the environment." To meet this mission and comply with the GPRA, EPA begins with its strategic plan, which establishes long-term goals that define the agency's planning, budgeting, analysis, and accountability process. An annual plan is then prepared to translate the goals into specific actions to be taken and resources to be used. EPA also issues an annual report to provide Congress and the public with information on the agency's programmatic and financial progress and accomplishments during each fiscal year (FY). Finally, the agency submits an annual budget request for the monies needed to accomplish its goals.
EPA issued its first strategic plan in 1997 and a revised plan in 2000. The first strategic plan established ten long-term goals that were used to define the agency's planning, budgeting, analysis, and accountability processes. In September 2003, EPA issued its strategic plan for FY 2003 through FY 2008. The plan, titled 2003-2008 EPA Strategic Plan: Direction for the Future, established five new, long-term, results-based goals for the agency.
In November 2006, EPA issued its report on the agency's performance during FY 2006. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Fiscal Year 2006 Performance and Accountability Report assesses the agency's progress in achieving its FY 2006 goals.
EPA's Revised Strategic Plan
The five goals in EPNs strategic plan focus on achieving measurable environmental results, and describe the results the agency is trying to achieve. According to EPA, " [b]y focusing on a few outcome-oriented goals, [the agency] can achieve better environmental results; provide greater flexibility in our internal operations to state, tribal, and federal partners; and use taxpayer dollars more wisely and effectively."
The Five Goals
The five goals established by EPA for FY 2003 through FY 2008 are:
* Goal 1: Clean air and global climate change--Protect and improve the air so it is healthy to breathe and risks to human health and the environment are reduced. Reduce greenhouse gas intensity by enhancing partnerships with businesses and other sectors.
* Goal 2: Clean and safe water--Ensure drinking water is safe. Restore and maintain oceans, watersheds, and their aquatic ecosystems to protect human health, support economic and recreational activities, and provide healthy habitat for fish, plants, and wildlife.
* Goal 3: Land...