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Implementation of the Performance Approach

In September 1997, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA or the Agency) published in a Federal Register Notice of Intent (PDF) (3 pp, 35K, About PDF) the adoption of the Performance Based Measurement System (PBMS) proposed by the former Environmental Monitoring Management Council (EMMC) to reduce the cost of monitoring; stimulate the development and use of new, more cost-effective monitoring technologies; speed up the introduction of new methods by eliminating the need for formal rule-making with its notice and comment requirements; and improve the quality of science in the monitoring community. While the Agency has taken a number of steps to implement this approach in its regulatory programs, the pace of implementation has been slower than desired.

After shortening the name of the PBMS effort to the "performance approach," the Forum on Environmental Measurement's (FEM's) Performance Approach Action Team took a look at the issues surrounding the lack of progress of the program with the ultimate conclusion that the "one size fits all" approach does not work for the diversely different programs and authority each of our major program offices (i.e., air, pesticides, waste, and water) has in carrying out their work. A new effort has been developed and approved to reinvigorate the goals of PBMS with the versatility each our programs need called Flexible Approaches to Environmental Measurements – The Evolution of the Performance Approach (PDF) (2 pp, 23K, About PDF), which was approved by the Science and Technology Policy Council (STPC) on February 15, 2008.

To better communicate the Agency’s efforts to provide greater measurement flexibility, a new Federal Register Notice (FRN) (PDF) (3 pp, 88K, About PDF) was published on July 22, 2009 “… to provide the public with an up-to-date communication on the Agency’s progress to Flexible Measurement – The Evolution of the Performance Approach.”  In addition to this FRN, a series of webinars were held for the Agency’s Regional Offices, State/Tribal Partners, and the general public. The slides with speaker notes used for the Flexible Approaches to Environmental Measurements – Webinar Presentation with Notes (PDF) (31 pp, 3.30Mb, About PDF) are available and include the contact information for experts in each of our Program Offices that can help with specific questions you have regarding the steps taken within each media program. Also, a Summary of the Questions/Answers (PDF) (63 pp, 63K, About PDF) from each of these sessions is available.

Updates of continued program progress will be provided each October.

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