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Why Use ERP?

Note: EPA no longer updates this information, but it may be useful as a reference or resource.

ERP is an adaptable and information-rich approach that states have used to both assess and improve the performance of a variety of sectors. States cite the following four key reasons for pursuing ERP: cost-effectiveness, accountability, improved awareness and cooperation within a sector, and flexibility.

  • Cost-effectiveness. Most agencies don't have the resources they need to fully monitor and work one-on-one with facilities in a variety of sectors with a large universe of facilities using traditional methods of compliance assurance. Available evidence suggests that ERP can achieve performance at least as good as that of traditional compliance assurance approaches, with potentially fewer resources over time. ERP appears to be more cost-effective when used in these kinds of sectors and/or when it is applied over more than one ERP implementation cycle. Both of those factors help defray the initial implementation costs of ERP, which can be relatively substantial. More broadly, the reliable performance data generated by ERP statistical approaches can lead managers to make more informed and effective policy decisions within and across sectors.

  • Accountability. Improved facility accountability may reduce the long-term need for resource-intensive enforcement actions, and shift the burden of compliance from the inspector to the facility. ERP can also help regulators satisfy their stakeholders' demands for accountability by using a credible system of measurement.

  • Improved awareness and cooperation within a sector. Agencies report that ERP helps businesses understand their regulatory requirements and industry best practices by explaining their obligations in clear terms. ERP also fosters cooperation by encouraging facilities to see agencies as partners. Better-performing facilities also appreciate that ERP "levels the playing field" in a sector by holding everyone accountable to the same standards, with agencies taking enforcement action on poor performers when necessary.

  • Flexibility. ERP has been used for a variety of sectors and environmental media, and can be designed to best suit the policy context (e.g., self-certification can be made voluntary or mandatory). States also have begun to apply individual components of ERP, as appropriate. For instance, many states are using the ERP measurement approach as a stand alone tool, particularly for assessing performance of a sector before determining whether and how to intervene. (EPA provided support to states on these and other measurement approaches.)

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