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EPA Plans for Moving Forward with Electronic Reporting David Hindin, US EPA May 31, 2012 General Session for the Exchange Network National Meeting Philadelphia,

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Presentation on theme: "EPA Plans for Moving Forward with Electronic Reporting David Hindin, US EPA May 31, 2012 General Session for the Exchange Network National Meeting Philadelphia,"— Presentation transcript:

1 EPA Plans for Moving Forward with Electronic Reporting David Hindin, US EPA May 31, 2012 General Session for the Exchange Network National Meeting Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 1 5/30/11

2 1. E-Reporting is Here 2. Opportunity 3. Savings and Benefits 4. Agency Electronic Reporting Plans 5. Challenges 2

3  E-Reporting is here, for example:  Taxes  Stocks, bond and mutual funds  Mortgage/loan applications  Medical  Job applications  Retail purchases  Staying in the paper world not an option. 3

4  Advances in emissions/pollutant monitoring and information technology are likely to vastly change environmental protection. ◦ This will give industry, government and public new and better information on pollution sources and environmental conditions. ◦ This will create new incentives to reduce and prevent pollution.  Electronic reporting is critical component in making this happen. 4

5  E-reporting is not just emailing a file to the government.  E-reporting is a system: ◦ Web tool or smart form, (e.g., TRI-ME), which:  Prevents errors, reuses data, performs calculations.  Provides compliance assistance.  Provides quick confirmation of submission and acceptance. ◦ National data standards, including electronic signature identity validation for CROMERR ◦ System to accept, integrate and analyze the data. 5 What is electronic reporting for environmental regulations?

6 Cost Savings  Electronic reporting reduces costs associated with all steps in paper reporting: ◦ Creation of paper report ◦ Mailing ◦ Receipt by government ◦ Manual data entry into system ◦ Subsequent error correction from:  Submitted paper form  Created by government from manual key punching.  This is a major annoyance to regulated entities.

7  With more complete, higher quality, and timely data, government can more effectively prioritize regulation development, permitting, monitoring and enforcement.  Public transparency enhanced. ◦ Transparency tools may be non-government as well, apps.  Regulated entities will know their data is immediately accessible and this will increase incentive for them to comply.

8  NPDES E-Reporting: ◦ Improves quality and utility of NPDES program data by ensuring that the information submitted to EPA and the states is timely, accurate, complete, and nationally consistent. ◦ Automatically identify some violations and assess their severity  TRI-ME: e-reporting promotes more accurate reporting with fewer facility errors and can allow regulators to more efficiently evaluate compliance  Acid Rain program: ◦ Standardized e-reporting helped contribute to the Program’s “largest quantified human health benefits of any federal regulatory program implemented in the last 10 years. 8

9 9  EPA’s Final Plan for Periodic Retrospective Reviews of Existing Regulations, August 2011, made public commitment to advance electronic reporting.  Agency created an Electronic Reporting Task Force in December 2011 to implement. ◦ Co-chaired by Deputy Assistant Administrators for Enforcement (OECA), Environmental Information (OEI), and Region 1 Deputy Regional Administrator. Members include managers from the 4 media program offices, Region 5, Office of General Counsel and Office of Policy. 9

10 10 1. Establish Agency policy for electronic reporting as “default” in new regulations. 2. Identify Agency priority for converting important existing paper reports to electronic, and opportunities for consolidation/deletion of existing paper, and comprehensive plan to do this.  Do this in a “OneEPA” approach.

11 11  Develop policy and implementing procedures/tools to establish electronic reporting as the “default” assumption in new regulations. This will address: ◦ The types of data and format. ◦ When new rules would allow or require paper reporting. ◦ Standard exemptions from mandatory electronic reporting; ◦ The efficient use of agency exchange services (e.g., registration, CROMERR, security, CDX) and data standards; ◦ How to leverage agency resources for reuse and expansion of IT tools, interfaces, and services.

12 12  The Task Force requested Programs and regions to identify their most important paper reports for electronic conversion, and proposals for reducing or streamlining existing paper reporting.  The Task Force will review submissions and recommend a priority Agency list ◦ Recommendations may include how to streamline regulation changes, including use of omnibus rules.

13 13 ◦ Consolidate and convert to electronic the existing paper Financial Assurance reporting regulations under TSCA, RCRA-Corrective Action, RCRA-core, CERCLA and SDWA- UIC. ◦ Perhaps standardize these programs and help ensure financial assurance funds will be available to perform cleanups. ◦ Perhaps create one electronic reporting tool/portal and backend database to support FA reporting. ◦ Perhaps modify all of these regulations via omnibus rule.

14 14  Electronic Reporting has great benefits: ◦ more complete, timely and quality data improve government and industry performance and expand transparency ◦ Long-term costs savings over paper processes.  But electronic reporting requires investment and operation and maintenance costs. ◦ The cost savings are spread across regions, states and regulated entities, but the system development and operation costs are often centralized in EPA headquarters or in a state.

15 15  Vendors could build electronic reporting software for environmental programs. ◦ Similar to IRS model (e.g., Turbo Tax, HR Block at Home)  Private vendors might build better front- end tools than states and EPA  EPA did proof of concept that validated this.  Need to develop systems and resources to do this.

16 16  EPA (OEI) currently does provide some centralized services for supporting electronic reporting, but we still have multiple, separate program specific tools.  Would fewer tools be more efficient and still allow us to meet program specific needs?  Need to streamline regulation development to convert to electronic via omnibus rules and common economic analysis tools.

17 17  State readiness for electronic reporting varies considerably.  States generally support electronic reporting but concerned about investment costs.  Some states may use national EPA systems and tools to support electronic reporting. For example: ◦ EPA front-end reporting tools (e.g., NetDMR, TRI-ME), or CROMERR service for identify proofing for electronic signature. ◦ Back-end national data bases, such as ICIS-NPDES ◦ States will need to extract data (outbound services)

18 18  State EPA Environmental Information Exchange Network and CDX give us good foundation.  We will reach out to states to understand their concerns and to address them.  The challenge is to move to electronic reporting efficiently, and leverage already built systems and tools. ◦ Assume we do not want to build and support 50+ electronic reporting tools for each environmental program.

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