|How is E-Enterprise helping to advance the EPA, state, and tribal shared governance objective of working together as true partners?
E-Enterprise provides multiple opportunities for EPA, states, and tribes to share experiences with efforts to protect human health and the environment. The basic premise of E-Enterprise is to provide a platform for positive change for these partners and an opportunity to share experiences, listen to each other, and identify solutions based on process improvement. Many colleagues traditionally have identified E-Enterprise as primarily focused on IT-related solutions; however, this understanding has changed with recent efforts such as the Office of Enforcement and Compliance’s (OECA’s) Compliance Learning Agenda, evaluating the effectiveness of offsite compliance monitoring techniques. The collaboration generated by E-Enterprise works because not only are staff and managers participating in the meetings and various efforts, but so too are the most senior leaders at EPA, states, and tribes, who are also committed to the principles and outcomes.
What role do you fill on behalf of the E-Enterprise initiative? What has been the most rewarding aspect of your involvement so far?
I have been involved with E-Enterprise for many years now representing OECA on several workgroups and committees, and as OECA’s senior representative on the E-Enterprise Leadership Council (EELC). I am a strong advocate for E-Enterprise showing support for state and tribal projects and projects from other program offices within EPA, as well as making sure OECA is leading efforts that are of mutual interest to the members of the EELC. OECA has led several successful initiatives under the governance of the EELC; nonetheless, the most rewarding effort for me was the promulgation of the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Electronic Reporting Rule. There was a significant data gap for EPA and states in the management of the NPDES program simply because the reporting from regulated facilities was all on paper, which created an insurmountable amount of paper to effectively manage or review. OECA developed the e-reporting rule for this program as well as electronic reporting tools in cooperation with state partners. This was not an easy effort by any means, and it was the largest e-reporting effort for any environmental program in the country at that time. The governance of the EELC was critical for the success of this effort by establishing partnerships with states and overcoming several obstacles along the way.
What opportunities do you see for the E-Enterprise partnership?
E-Enterprise has a significant opportunity in the near future centered around how EPA, states, and tribes collect, manage, and share environmental data for all program areas (e.g., permitting, compliance and enforcement, and air monitoring). The EELC has the opportunity to establish data standards, shared services, and common platforms for collecting, storing, and sharing data among the partners. Establishing this common structure for managing environmental information will make the governance of the EELC – and environmental programs in general – much more effective. This will open the door for process improvements that we never thought possible. Current projects are underway to achieve these objectives. Among these is a modernization effort I am leading of the largest compliance and enforcement data system, the Integrated Compliance Information System, and Smart Mobile Tools for Field Inspectors, which is improving the quality and consistency of environmental inspections.