Benefits of Performance Partnerships
Performance partnerships are bringing about significant changes in how EPA and states work together to achieve environmental results.
Collaboration between EPA and states has become a routine way of doing business. States are now actively engaged with EPA in strategic planning, program and policy development, environmental data management, and a host of other topics related to implementing effective environmental programs.
The emphasis on joint planning has fostered a greater focus on the state of the environment. Strategic thinking brings greater appreciation for the entire environmental protection agenda, priorities among and within programs, and the potential for cross-cutting solutions.
By focusing on environmental results, performance partnerships help push the continuing development and use of better performance measures for planning, managing, and evaluating environmental programs. Performance partnerships also helped spur work to make environmental information more available to the public.
The process of negotiating Performance Partnership Agreements (PPAs) encourages greater communication between EPA and individual states. This has brought about better mutual understanding of issues and priorities, more clearly defined roles and responsibilities, and more open relationships.
By defining complementary roles and functions, EPA and states can share the workload more effectively and efficiently, reducing transaction costs and duplication of effort. Examples of work-sharing (PDF) (1 p, 21K, About PDF) include dividing up inspections responsibilities, assigning EPA staff to help states with permit backlogs, and states providing laboratory assistance to EPA.
EPA and states use the PPA negotiation process to discuss their plans for implementing projects that cut across program boundaries, such as pollution prevention efforts, data integration projects, or geographic initiatives, and innovative approaches, such as environmental performance programs and voluntary programs.
Through performance partnerships, EPA and states can identify priority needs and direct resources to address them. States can use the funding flexibility available through Performance Partnership Grants (PPGs) to shift resources from lower to higher priority activities or support multi-media or unique projects.
Streamlined grant requirements have also helped states reduce administrative costs, freeing up resources for priority projects. States with more state funds than needed to meet the match requirement in one program but are short in another program can use the PPG's single, composite match requirement to solve this problem.
Examples of how states have used the flexibility in PPGs (PDF) (4 pp, 55K, About PDF) include investing in priority areas such as children's health, hiring summer interns for targeted projects, developing integrated information management systems, carrying out training programs, and conducting monitoring programs.