Strategic Plan

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency FY 2018-2022 Strategic Plan

Strategic Business Unit

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

Plan Details

Plan period: from 12/02/2018  to 30/09/2022

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) developed this FY 2018-2022 EPA Strategic Plan (the Plan) to: (1) refocus the Agency back to its core mission; (2) restore power to the states through cooperative federalism; and (3) lead the Agency through improved processes and adhere to the rule of law. The FY 2018-2022 EPA Strategic Plan sharply refocuses EPA on its role of supporting the primary implementers of environmental programs -- states and federally-recognized Indian tribes -- by streamlining programs and processes, reducing duplication of effort, providing greater transparency and listening opportunities, and enabling the Agency to focus on its core mission work. Process, the rule of law, and cooperative federalism are necessary for an efficient and effective Agency to provide tangible and real environmental results to the American people.

Plan submitted by:

Owen Ambur

FY 2018-2019 Agency Priority Goals: * APG-1: Improve air quality by implementing pollution control measures to reduce the number of nonattainment areas. By September 30, 2019, EPA, in close collaboration with states, will reduce the number of nonattainment areas to 138 from a baseline of 166. * APG-2: Empower communities to leverage EPA water infrastructure investments. By September 30, 2019, EPA will increase by $16 billion the non-federal dollars leveraged by EPA water infrastructure finance programs (Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds and the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act). * APG-3: Accelerate the pace of cleanups and return sites to beneficial use in their communities. By September 30, 2019, EPA will make an additional 102 Superfund sites and 1,368 brownfields sites ready for anticipated use (RAU). * APG-4: Meet new statutory requirements to improve the safety of chemicals in commerce. By September 30, 2019, EPA will complete in accordance with statutory timelines (excluding statutorilyallowable extensions): 100% of required EPA-initiated Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) risk evaluations for existing chemicals; 100% of required TSCA risk management actions for existing chemicals; and 80% of TSCA pre-manufacture notice final determinations. * APG-5: Increase environmental law compliance rate. Through September 30, 2019, EPA will increase compliance by reducing the percentage of Clean Water Act (CWA) National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permittees in significant noncompliance with their permit limits to 21% from a baseline of 24%. * APG-6: Accelerate permitting-related decisions. By September 30, 2019, EPA will reduce by 50% the number of permitting-related decisions that exceed six months.




To Protect Human Health and the Environment


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Core Mission

Goal Statement: Deliver real results to provide Americans with clean air, land, and water, and ensure chemical safety.

Pollution comes in many forms with myriad impacts on human health and the environment. With the goal of clean and safe air, water, and land for all Americans, Congress enacted a range of environmental statutes that spell out EPA's core responsibilities. Our nation has come a long way since EPA was established in 1970. We have made great progress in making rivers and lakes safe for swimming and boating, reducing the smog that clouded city skies, cleaning up lands that were once used as hidden chemical dumps, and providing Americans greater access to information on the safety of the chemicals all around us. Today we can see enormous progress -- yet we still have important work to do. EPA has established priorities for advancing progress over the next five years in each of its core mission areas -- land, air, water -- as well as chemicals. The Agency will focus on speeding the cleanup of Superfund and brownfields sites, and will use a list of top priority sites to advance progress on Superfund sites of particular concern. We will work with states and tribes to more rapidly approve their implementation plans for attaining air quality standards, reducing contaminants that can cause or exacerbate health issues. We will work with our state and tribal partners to provide for clean and safe water by updating aging infrastructure, both for drinking water and wastewater systems. EPA's top priority for ensuring the safety of chemicals in the marketplace is the implementation of the new Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act, which modernizes the Toxic Substances and Control Act (TSCA) by creating new standards and processes for assessing chemical safety within specific deadlines. These efforts will be supported by strong compliance assurance and enforcement in collaboration with our state and tribal partners, up-to-date training for partners, and use of the best available science and research to address current and future environmental hazards, develop new approaches, and improve the foundation for decision making.


  • Wastewater Treatment
  • Wetlands, Coasts & Oceans
  • Radiation & Radioactive Materials
  • Confidentiality
  • Infrastructure
  • Discharges
  • Land & Contamination
  • Security & Preparedness
  • Clean Up
  • Decision Making
  • Water Resources
  • Air Pollutants
  • Effluents
  • Chemicals
  • Pesticides
  • RCRA Permits
  • Water
  • Toxics Release Inventory
  • UST Regulations
  • Air Quality
  • Analysis
  • Impairment
  • New Chemicals
  • Pesticides
  • Criteria
  • Mobile Emissions
  • Emissions & Air Toxics
  • Guidance, Training & Information
  • Standards & Programs
  • Capabilities
  • Grants & Technical Assistance
  • Quality
  • Section 404 Program
  • Underground Sources
  • Training, Education & Outreach
  • Financial Assistance
  • Chemicals
  • Monitoring & Assessment
  • Water Quality
  • Contaminant Releases
  • Transportation & Tracking
  • Preparedness & Response
  • Health
  • Hazardous Waste Regulations
  • Chemical Releases
  • Priorities & Risks
  • Risk Management
  • Contaminants
  • PCBs
  • Ozone
  • Prevention
  • Tools & Approaches
  • Coal Ash
  • Exposure Information

Cooperative Federalism

Goal Statement: Rebalance the power between Washington and the states to create tangible environmental results for the American people.

The idea that environmental protection is a shared responsibility between the states, tribes, and the federal government is embedded in our environmental laws, which in many cases provide states and tribes the opportunity and responsibility for implementing environmental protection programs. More than 45 years after the creation of EPA and the enactment of a broad set of federal environmental protection laws, most states, and to a lesser extent territories and tribes, are authorized to implement environmental programs within their jurisdictions in lieu of EPA-administered federal programs. Specifically, states have assumed more than 96 percent of the delegable authorities under federal law.27 EPA retains responsibility for directly implementing federal environmental programs in much of Indian country where eligible tribes have not received delegable authorities. There are also programs that by statute may not be delegated to the states or tribes. Recognizing these evolving responsibilities, EPA headquarters and regions will facilitate constructive dialogue with states and tribes to ensure maximum utilization of resources. EPA will adapt its practices to reduce duplication of effort with authorized states and tribes, and tailor its oversight of delegated programs. Cooperative federalism – the relationship between states, tribes and EPA – is not just about who makes decisions, but about how decisions are made and a sense of shared accountability to provide positive environmental results. EPA understands that improvements to protecting human health and the environment cannot be achieved by any actor operating alone, but only when the states, tribes, and EPA, in conjunction with affected communities, work together in a spirit of trust, collaboration, and partnership. Effective environmental protection is best achieved when EPA and its state and tribal partners work from a foundation of transparency, early collaboration – including public participation – and a spirit of shared accountability for the outcomes of this joint work. This foundation involves active platforms for public participation, including building the capacity of the most vulnerable community stakeholders to provide input. With these public participation opportunities, the beneficiaries of environmental protection – the American people – will be able to more meaningfully engage through their communities, their local governments, and their state and tribal governments. Including the public’s voice, particularly the voices of the most vulnerable to environmental and public health challenges among us, in EPA’s policy, regulatory, and assistance work is essential to meeting their needs as the Agency implements its statutory responsibilities. EPA also recognizes that meeting the needs of states, tribes, local governments, and communities, and achieving environmental improvements cannot be done in isolation from economic growth. Opportunities for prosperous economic growth and clean air, water, and land are lost without effective infrastructure investments that align with community needs. This is especially true for infrastructure investments that repair existing systems, support revitalization of existing communities and buildings, take advantage of existing roads, and lead to the cleanup and redevelopment of previously-used sites and buildings. Currently, there is a need for significant infrastructure investments. EPA will play a role in meeting this need by aligning its relevant programs to catalyze other resources, supporting beneficial infrastructure investments, and meeting community needs for thriving economies and improved environmental and human health outcomes.


  • Accountability
  • Participation, Capacity & Engagement
  • Environmental Justice
  • Compliance Assistance Centers
  • Disadvantaged Communities
  • Strategies
  • Alignment
  • Community-Based Work
  • Goals & Priorities
  • Advisory Committees & Forums
  • Collaboration & Communication
  • Federal Advisory Committees
  • Investments
  • Mobile Tools
  • Public Participation
  • Tools
  • Investment
  • Compliance Assurance
  • Compliance Monitoring
  • Monitoring Data
  • Assistance
  • E-Enterprise
  • Technologies
  • Community Solutions
  • Fairness
  • FOIA
  • Shared Governance
  • Tools & Approaches
  • Infrastructute
  • Children
  • Transparency & Participation
  • International Partnerships
  • Federal Partnerships
  • Tools

Rule of Law & Process

Goal Statement: Administer the law, as Congress intended, to refocus the Agency on its statutory obligations under the law.

EPA will seek to reinvigorate the rule of law and process as it administers the environmental laws as Congress intended, and to refocus the Agency on its basic statutory obligations. To accomplish this, EPA will work cooperatively with states and tribes to ensure compliance with the law, as well as to create consistency and certainty for the regulated community. Of course, EPA will take civil or criminal enforcement action against violators of environmental laws. A robust enforcement program is critically important for addressing violations and promoting deterrence, and supports the Agency’s mission of protecting human health and the environment. Ensuring compliance with the law also ensures consistency and certainty for the regulated community so it has a complete understanding of the impact of proposed actions on human health, the environment, and the economy, and a clear path and timeline to achieve that compliance. EPA’s policies and rules will reflect common sense, consistent with the Agency’s statutory authorities, and provide greater regulatory and economic certainty for the public. EPA will enforce the rule of law in a timely manner and take action against those that violate environmental laws to the detriment of human health or the environment. One of EPA’s highest priorities must be to create consistency and certainty for the regulated community. Consistency in how the laws and regulations are applied across the country is part of that process. EPA will undertake a variety of efforts to ensure that consistency in application of laws and regulations is evaluated and addressed, while respecting the unique circumstances of each state and tribe. EPA recognizes the importance of applying rules and policies consistently as well as creating certainty by meeting the statutory deadlines that are required for EPA’s actions. The rule of law must also be built on the application of robust science that is conducted to help the Agency meet its mission and support the states and tribes in achieving their environmental goals. Research, in conjunction with user-friendly applications needed to apply the science to real-world problems, will help move EPA and the states forward in making timely decisions based on science. Carrying out this goal requires that EPA improve the efficiency of its internal business and administrative operations. First, EPA’s business operations, specifically the vast permitting processes established by the different environmental statutes, are key to ensuring economic growth and human health and environmental protection. Over the next five years, EPA will modernize its permitting practices to increase the timeliness of reviews and decisions, while working more collaboratively, transparently, and cost effectively to achieve the Agency's mission. The second part of improving internal operations includes reducing EPA's overhead and creating more efficient and effective administrative processes (e.g., acquisition) that allow EPA to accomplish its core mission work.


  • TSCA
  • Priority Sites
  • Liabilities
  • Health
  • Permitting & Reporting
  • Industry Sectors
  • Information Architecture
  • Collaboration & Coordination
  • Noncompliance & Impacts
  • Tools
  • Risk Management & Data Analytics
  • Causal Relationships
  • Tool & Service Sharing
  • Consistency & Certainty
  • Water Resources
  • Uncertainty & Communication
  • Reviews
  • Data Delivery
  • SPeCS for SIPs
  • Chemical Evaluation
  • E-Enterprise Web Portal
  • Shared IT Services
  • Technical Support
  • State Permits
  • E-Permitting
  • Information Sharing
  • Emissions
  • Software Tools
  • Compliance
  • Input & Lean Principles
  • Algal / Cyanobacteria Toxins
  • Efficiencies
  • Partnerships
  • Workforce planning & Management
  • Collaboration
  • Cybersecurity
  • Federal Facilities
  • E-Reporting
  • Regulatory Guidance
  • Acquisition & Grants Systems
  • Processes & Operations
  • Data Management
  • ToxCast/Tox21
  • Underground Storage Tanks
  • Working Relationships
  • Cleanup Enforcement
  • Healthy Communities
  • PRPs
  • Consistency
  • Cooperative Decision Making
  • Data
  • Streamlining & Modernization
  • Remediation
  • Assessment Technologies
  • Vulnerable Groups
  • Cleanups
  • Nanoparticles
  • Stormwater & Wastewater
  • Water Quality & Aquatic Life
  • Criminal Enforcement
  • Decision Making
  • Prediction
  • Collaboration
  • Reuse
  • Science
  • Direct Responsibilities
  • ISAs
  • Consistency & Fairness
  • Policy Changes
  • Training & Professional Development
  • Regulations & Deadlines
  • Efficiency & Effectiveness
  • Prevention & Reduction
  • Egregious Cases
  • Pollutants
  • Chemicals
  • Drinking Water
  • Civil Enforcement
  • Federal Sites
  • IT/IM Capabilities & Customer Experiences
  • Air Quality
  • Base Catalog
  • Drinking Water
  • Cleanups
  • Waterborne Pathogens
  • Legal Challenges

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