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EPA Plain Writing Initiative

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Plain Writing Act
2013 Annual Report

I. Senior Agency Official for Plain Writing

Eric E. Wachter
Director
Office of the Executive Secretariat
wachter.eric@epa.gov
(202) 564-7960

II. Training

    A. The EPA has an online training for all employees who produce documents for the public and for any employee who would like to be trained in plain writing.

    B. The EPA offers classroom workshops and training sessions for interested employees.

    C. Among the training highlights in 2013:

    i. The Office of Environmental Information held a plain writing training for approximately 20 communications staff members to discuss writing standards, including plain writing.

    ii. The Office of Environmental Information also established a writing-for-the-web course that colleagues from the Office of External Affairs delivered several times for EPA web writers, coders and reviewers. This ongoing course emphasizes writing web content plainly and directly and how to target an audience and write for that audience. More information about this training can be found at http://www2.epa.gov/webguide/epa-web-training-classes#writing.

    iii. As a supplement to the agency’s correspondence manual, EPA’s Region 2 produced a style guide that further explains clear, concise writing and provides alternatives for complex statements, technical jargon and acronyms. The region also has provided training on PowerPoint presentations to technical staff employees, with a focus on employees who participate in community outreach.

 III. Ongoing compliance/sustaining change

    A. The national-program and regional office have designated officials for plain writing to work in collaboration with the senior official. See appendix for a list of the designated officials.

    B. With institutional knowledge of the unique processes and various documents produced in their offices, these designated officials have implemented processes for ongoing compliance.

    C. These processes include communications officials’ approval of documents; multi-level managerial review for plain writing; designating plain-writing coordinators in individual offices; and refresher training courses.

    D. Offices continue to follow plain-writing procedures that were already in place to satisfy the executive order and administrative orders that predate the Plain Writing Act.

    E. Among the compliance highlights in 2013:

    i. The Office of Air and Radiation follows a process for technical staff and communications staff to work together to review and approve public communications materials, including website content, factsheets, press releases and print materials, to ensure that they are written in plain language.

    ii. Region 2 has implemented a formal review process for correspondence, social media, web posts and other written communications to require that at least one professional editor reviews the documents to ensure the documents are written plainly.

  IV. Agency’s plain-writing website

    A. The EPA’s plain-writing website is www.epa.gov/plainwriting.

    B. The site is linked from www.epa.gov/open.

Appendix

EPA Plain Writing Designated Officials

Office of Administration and Resource Management
Joanne Oxley

Office of the Administrator
Eric Wachter

Office of Air and Radiation
Wanda Farrar

Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance
Keith Bartlett

Office of Environmental Information
Jonda Byrd

Office of the Chief Financial Officer
Gene Pontillo

Office of the General Counsel
Aditi Prabhu

Office of the Inspector General
vacant

Office of International and Tribal Affairs
Chris Hoff

Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention
vacant

Office of Research and Development
Dayna Gibbons

Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response
Nancy Cohen

Office of Water
Travis Loop

Region 1
Nancy Grantham

Region 2
Bonnie Bellow

Region 3
Terry White

Region 4
Bryan Myers

Region 5
John Peterson

Region 6
David Gray

Region 7
vacant

Region 8
Wendy Dew

Region 9
Kelly Zito

Region 10
Charles Bert

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