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Strategic Planning and Budgeting

Overview of ECOS' Work on Strategic Planning Alignment with EPA

The ECOS Planning Committee works on a variety of projects to help states improve and enhance their strategic planning and priority setting efforts. The Committee has been very involved in the past year working with EPA to coordinate and better align EPA's planning processes with those of the states.

The following are some of the major national efforts the Planning Committee is working closely with EPA on, to improve overall harmonization.

q The EPA Strategic Plan: The Plan provides the overall framework for EPA's planning and priority-setting systems. EPA's 2003 Strategic Plan serves as the road map for the next 5 years, laying out EPA's five long-term goals for air and global climate change, water, land, communities and ecosystems, and compliance and environmental stewardship. The ECOS Planning Committee solicits input from members to draft comments to EPA on the Strategic Plan. Past ECOS comments are included on the ECOS website. In addition, States contribute comments to EPA's Strategic Plan individually.

q The EPA Annual Plan and Budget, which links the Agency's annual Budget to the Strategic Plan, establishes annual performance targets and funding levels for the fiscal year. The Annual Plan and Budget, interprets EPA's longer-term goals and objectives into specific performance goals and measures as well as annual activities. States work with their regional counterparts as well as EPA's national program officers to settle on how the work will be done to achieve the goals.

q EPA Regional Plans outline how Regions will make progress toward Agency objectives over the next 3 to 5 years. The plans provide the basis for negotiating the Regions' annual performance commitments with national program offices. Regional Plans highlight unique environmental conditions and problems, consider State and Tribal priorities and strategies, and discuss strategies and tools to address them. EPA prepared Regional Plans for the first time in 2004; Regions drafted their plans in the Fall and Winter of 2003, and finalized them in April, 2004. States, through ECOS, were invited to participate in planning meetings and give feedback on the regional plans, to become more actively engaged in the process.

q EPA National Program Manager (NPM) guidance documents are 3-year strategies that map out the priorities, strategies, and performance measures that EPA regional media program offices are expected to carry out to accomplish the strategic goals set out in EPA's Strategic Plan. The NPM guidance reflects consideration of information in the Regional Plans, which in turn, reflect consideration of State and Tribal concerns. EPA issues draft NPM guidance documents for all five major programs (air, water, land, pesticides, and enforcement) at once (Spring), so that Regions, States, and Tribes can consider them together.

q Performance Partnership Agreements (PPAs), Performance Partnership Grants (PPGs) and grant work plans: Generally, a PPA is a joint endeavor between EPA and a state which outlines an environmental protection strategy to meet that state's needs. To develop PPAs, EPA and State officials discuss environmental conditions and program needs, agree on goals and priorities, devise strategies for addressing priority needs, determine each partner's roles and responsibilities, and decide how they will measure progress. The PPA is tailored to meet a state's unique environmental protection needs. States can choose to receive federal grant funds in a combined PPG, which allows them to direct resources where they are needed most, much like a block grant approach. A PPG also potentially leverages resources for innovative, multi-media approaches such as pollution prevention and sustainable development programs. The schedule for negotiating PPAs varies since many are multi-year, but annual grant negotiations usually take place during the Summer. ECOS keeps an updated list of which states have PPAs and PPGs on the organization's website.

q The Annual Commitment System, new in 2004, is a computerized system through which Regions negotiate performance targets with national program offices. It replaces the Memoranda of Agreement (MOA) process. This year ECOS Planning Committee chair Steve Owens (AZ) sent out a notice to states encouraging environmental officials to send comments to EPA on the draft commitments. EPA posted proposed commitments for State and Tribal review and comment in July; commitments will be made final in October. Annual State grant work plans reflect these commitments

q State Strategic Plan Pilots, ECOS/EPA State Planning Pilots (September 2007)

Letters

ECOS Strategic Planning Call Letter (April 22, 2009)

EPA Response to ECOS Input on Strategic Plan Change Document (January 15, 2009)

ECOS' Comments on 2009-2014 EPA Strategic Plan Change Document (November 25, 2008)

ECOS transmittal letter comments on 2009-2014 EPA Strategic Plan Change Document (November 25, 2008)

EPA Strategic Planning Transmittal Letter (August 20, 2008)

ECOS Input on EPA's Five-Year 2009-2014 Strategic Plan Update (August 20, 2008)

Documents

Final Report of Planning Pilot Projects (March 8, 2005)