The Right Trousers

About the author:  Jenny Robbins is on the EPAStat Quarterly Report team, which produces the report with partners across EPA to evaluate and improve performance.

“The only man I know who behaves sensibly is my tailor; he takes my measurements anew each time he sees me. The rest go on with their old measurements and expect me to fit them.”
– George Bernard Shaw

As George points out, fresh and frequent data is a must for any successful endeavor, including pants. At EPA we want to make sure our pants fit. To this end, EPA uses a quarterly report (the EPAStat Quarterly Report (EQR) to be exact) to see how we’re progressing on selected performance measures – both environmental and internal management benchmarks. We just released the latest installment. This fourth quarter report is particularly exciting (go with us here) as it gives us a chance to review our progress over the course of the entire year and compare that to how we’ve done in years past. Where have we had the greatest successes? Where have we fallen behind and why? Most exciting of all, how can we take advantage of existing opportunities for improvement?

So, how did we fare in FY 2008? Overall, EPA had a successful year with notable achievements in enforcement and compliance, air pollution reductions, and water quality protection, and for the most part, EPA had several improvements over FY 2007 performance. Our work is by no means done but, in the spirit of continuous improvement, we’re feeling up to the challenges that FY 2009 will bring.

One of the year’s more sizable achievements is the whopping 3.9 billion pounds of pollution expected to be reduced, treated or eliminated as a result of concluded enforcement actions and audit agreements in FY 2008, significantly exceeding the year’s 890 million pound target. Billions of pounds of carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxides, volatile organic compounds, pathogens, and storm water pollutants will be impacted.

In terms of the nation’s air quality, EPA also made great progress in reducing diesel emissions. One of the ways EPA addresses the significant amount of pollution still being emitted from old diesel engines is by awarding grants for diesel emission reduction projects and retrofitting or replacing old engines. In FY 2008, the number of diesel projects funded with EPA grants nearly tripled from last year thanks to efforts by EPA Regions to establish clean diesel coalitions with the states. These projects are resulting in considerable reductions in air pollutants such as particulate matter, nitrous oxide, and hydrocarbons.

Of course, a number of challenges remain for FY 2009. An area in which the Agency hopes to improve is the timeliness of key regulatory actions. EPA is continuing to work on getting those regulatory actions furthest behind schedule back on track so that the public and the environment can benefit from them sooner.

This year also brought EPA more causes to celebrate. In early December, EPA was awarded the Presidents Quality Award (PQA) for the second year in a row – a first in the history of the award! The award recognizes a number of management innovations we’ve made over the past year including the launch of EPAStat.

We aim to continue our work as a performance leader in the federal govermment. Here’s to EPA’s continued success and improvement in FY 2009!

The EPAStat Quarterly Report Team

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