Joint State-EPA Report on Worksharing Principles and Best Practices Published

This week, the EPA-State Worksharing Task Force published a report presenting core principles and examples of best practices.  The report entitled, “Principles and Best Practices for Worksharing,” is meant to facilitate and expand the conversation between states and EPA Regional offices about worksharing. Staff from four states participated on the task force including Colorado (lead state), Montana, Tennessee, and Washington.

The report includes nine core principles to inform, guide, and serve as a framework for negotiating effective worksharing agreements and/or arrangements.  The report also offers best practices for five worksharing activities commonly employed by states and U.S. EPA Regional offices.   Following the core principles suggested, best practices are offered for five

activities: 1) Conducting Inspections, 2) Pursuing Enforcement Actions, 3) Drafting Permits, 4) Conducting Environmental Monitoring, and 5) Providing Technical and Financial Assistance. Additionally, the report provides two specific regional approaches in the areas of monitoring (Nebraska and Region 7) and environmental justice (states and Region 3).

Next steps for the task force are 1) to consider ways to reinvigorate use of the Intergovernmental Personnel Act (IPA), and 2) training.  Regarding training, the report notes that EPA should prioritize training courses for state personnel to address specific gaps in expertise. For instance, due to high staff turn-over, basic training for permit writers or air modelers may be needed.  In the aftermath of an environmental disaster, training to respond to immediate needs may be critical. The report notes that courses offered with some frequency on-site in state offices, or at a minimum in regional offices, or alternatively via online training webinars are the most helpful to state staff.

A copy of the newly released report may be found HERE.

In July 2012, the task force published its first report entitled, “Prohibitions, Areas of Caution, and Recommendations to Enhance Worksharing Opportunities.” This first report may be found HERE.