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New Strategic Plan signals change of direction for EPA

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New Strategic Plan signals change of direction for EPA

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency intends to release its Strategic Plan for fiscal years 2018-2022. The document will mark the agency's pivot from previous priorities such as climate change, air quality and chemical safety, toward "cooperative federalism" and the rule of law — both of which have been frequent talking points of agency Chief Scott Pruitt.

A brief preview of the Strategic Plan was released Oct. 4 as the agency prepares to publish the entire document in the Federal Register. The three-page document outlines three key goals reflecting Administrator Pruitt's priorities for realigning the agency's mission.

The goals are:

- Core Mission: Deliver real results to provide Americans with clean air, land and water.

- Cooperative Federalism: Rebalance the power between Washington and the states to create tangible environmental results for the American people.

- Rule of Law and Process: Administer the law, as Congress intended, to refocus the agency on its statutory obligations under the law.

The full Strategic Plan, the last edition of which covered 2014-2018, will detail objectives and strategies for achieving these goals. The preview said the agency intends to improve significantly the way it does business and engages with "public sector partners at all levels and the regulated community."

The renewed commitment to cooperative federalism in the Strategic Plan was previewed by an EPA official during a webinar Sept. 26. EPA Chief of Operations Henry Darwin said the agency intends to change the way the agency works with states and realign with the cooperative federalism concept.

In the previous Strategic Plan, the EPA's five goals focused on addressing climate change and improving air quality; protecting America's waters; cleaning up communities and advancing sustainable development; ensuring the safety of chemicals and preventing pollution; and protecting human health and the environment by enforcing laws and assuring compliance.

Comments on the new plan will be due Oct. 31.