The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Open Government Plan, makes strong progress toward the requirements of the OGD and affirms its intent to instill openness as a guiding principle agency-wide. The plan highlights numerous proposals and recent actions that conform to the letter and spirit of the OGD and push the agency to go even further. The EPA's plan links numerous and diverse openness activities under an incipient but developing strategy. A broad-ranging and diverse set of Flagship Initiatives and plans for frequent reviews and progress updates add to this significant step forward for agency openness.
The agency's plan would be strengthened by the inclusion of a communications policy that clearly describes the rules governing interactions between the public and agency staff; such a communications policy should break down existing barriers that limit access to agency expertise and stifle scientific discourse. Additionally, the agency should be more specific when identifying the stakeholders it will reach out to for its Flagship Initiatives. For example, to whom will the Chesapeake Bay TMDL webinars be directed, and which "communities historically underrepresented in EPA decision making" will EPA connect with about cleaning up hazardous waste sites, another Flagship Initiative? These are worthy projects, but to meet their potential, all stakeholders must be aware of their existence and capabilities.
If you any think part of the agency's plan is impressive, or you have concrete suggestions on how the agency could improve its plan, please share your ideas with us using the form at the bottom of the page.