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Oct 1 -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announces the availability of the Draft FY 2022-2026 EPA Strategic Plan (118 pages) for public review and comment by November 12, 2021. EPA seeks comment from citizens, states, tribes, local governments, industry, the academic community, non-governmental organizations, and all other interested parties. EPA anticipates the final Strategic Plan will be submitted to Congress in February 2022.
 
The Strategic Plan includes seven strategic goals focused on protecting human health and the environment and four cross-agency strategies that describe the essential ways EPA will work to carry out its mission. The Strategic Plan also establishes long-term performance goals and FY 2022-2023 Agency Priority Goals by which EPA will hold itself accountable to monitor progress in protecting human health and the environment in collaboration with EPA's partners and stakeholders.
 
EPA’s FY 2022-2026 Strategic Plan communicates the Agency’s priorities and provides the roadmap for achieving its mission to protect human health and the environment. In this Strategic Plan, the Agency renews its commitment to the three principles articulated by William Ruckelshaus, who served as the EPA’s first Administrator (1970 – 1973, and then again from 1983 – 1985), to: follow the science, follow the law, and be transparent. The Agency also adds a fourth foundational principle: advance justice and equity. We add this principle to infuse the consistent and systematic fair, just, and impartial treatment of all individuals into all EPA policies, practices, and programs. These principles form the basis of the Agency’s culture and will guide our operations and decision making now and into the future.

Building on work already begun under President Biden’s Executive Orders (E.O.s) 13985: Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government and 14008: Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad, and in alignment with the Administration’s whole-of-government approach, we are charting a course in this Strategic Plan where tackling climate change and advancing environmental justice and civil rights are integral to all we do in carrying out EPA’s mission. In accordance with these priorities, we have established new strategic goals on addressing climate change and environmental justice to signal the importance of these issues. We will embed this focus into the work we do to carry out our five programmatic strategic goals for enforcement and compliance, air quality, water quality, land revitalization, and chemical safety.

Our four cross-agency strategies describe the essential ways EPA will carry out our mission. These strategies include reinforcing science as foundational to Agency decision making; protecting children’s environmental health; building back EPA’s workforce with particular attention to equity and enhancing mission-support functions to achieve organizational excellence; and renewing our commitment to EPA’s trust responsibility to Tribal nations and our engagement with Tribal, state, and local government partners, stakeholders, the regulated community, and the public.

EPA’s Strategic Plan includes a suite of long-term performance goals (LTPGs) that reflect the quantifiable outcomes we will achieve for each strategic objective and cross-agency strategy by 2026. LTPGs will help us understand, monitor, and tell the story of progress we are making to partners and external stakeholders, Agency employees, and the public.

In addition, we have identified three FY 2022-2023 Agency Priority Goals (APGs), which are intended to jumpstart actions and showcase progress toward Administrator Regan’s priorities:

• Phase down the production and consumption of hydrofluorocarbons;
• Clean up contaminated sites and invest in water infrastructure to enhance the livability and economic vitality of overburdened and underserved communities; and
• HUD and EPA will reduce exposure to lead to protect families, particularly children, in overburdened and underserved communities.

For the first time, EPA’s Strategic Plan incorporates a Learning Agenda and Capacity Assessment, consistent with the requirements of the Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act of 2018. Our goal is to achieve a culture of evidence-building, continuous learning, and evaluation in our operations and decisions. The Learning Agenda will address key questions across priority areas by leveraging high-quality data. The Capacity Assessment will guide our efforts to develop the skills, expertise, and infrastructure that support routine, rigorous use of data. We also identified emerging issues and external factors for consideration in developing strategies to carry out the Plan. This included strategic foresight horizon scanning, which involved literature reviews and interviews with experts to identify emerging issues on selected topics.
 
Draft FY2022-2026 EPA Strategic Plan: https://www.regulations.gov/document/EPA-HQ-OA-2021-0403-0002
FR notice inviting public comment:  https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2021/10/01/2021-21349/draft-fy-2022-2026-environmental-protection-agency-strategic-plan

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