Implementing Environmental Management Systems in the Federal Government: Real Change or Flavor-of-the-Month?

By Ortiz, James | Electronic Green Journal, January 1, 2005 | Go to article overview

Implementing Environmental Management Systems in the Federal Government: Real Change or Flavor-of-the-Month?


Ortiz, James, Electronic Green Journal


Managing environmental conditions in federal facilities poses major challenges throughout the United States government. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, there are 12,153 regulated federal facilities nationwide. The increasing age of federal facilities along with decreasing agency budgets for equipment repair and replacement, and the shifting of dwindling resources into more politically attractive areas are increasingly problematic. However, the private sector's approach in applying management system principles to environmental issues has shown that they can be very effective. This organized approach of management system principles, also known as environmental management systems (EMS), can lead to more efficient and effective environmental management in federal facilities. For the federal government, EMSs are now the preferred means of managing facility environmental conditions. However, EMS implementation cannot be accomplished overnight. It takes commitment from all levels within federal agencies to implement EMSs since EMSs must be incorporated into day-to-day facility activities and operations.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that there are 12,153 regulated federal facilities nationwide (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency [EPA], 2004). Federal facilities are involved in such diverse operations as airports, construction, fish and wildlife management, hospitals, laboratories, industrial-scale operations, materials storage and shipment, military and naval operations, public lands management, and vehicle fleet management. Depending upon their missions, federal agencies, just like their private sector counterparts, are required to comply with all federal, state, tribal and local environmental requirements and are not immune to enforcement actions. They are subject to fines and penalties by the EPA, state and local regulatory agencies for violations of environmental requirements (EPA, 1999, p. xv). Also, in those cases where federal agencies have facilities located overseas such as the Department of Defense (DOD), they are subject to the host nation's environmental requirements as well (U.S. Department of Defense, 1996, p. 2).

Managing the Environment at Federal Facilities

Managing the environmental conditions in federal facilities poses major challenges throughout the federal government due to the increasing age of federal facilities along with decreasing agency budgets for equipment repair and replacement, and the shifting of dwindling resources into more politically attractive areas (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Dept. of Public Policy [UNC], 2003, p. 247). Also, many federal facilities are managed well, while others are poorly managed.

In calendar year 2001, 283 federal facilities reported that they were responsible for 79 million pounds of total releases in the Toxic Release Inventory under the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPA, 2004, p. 44). Such releases by federal facilities do impact the environment and call for a more organized approach to address environmental issues. This organized approach of management system principles is called an environmental management system. The Project Final Report of the National Database on Environmental Management Systems defines an environmental management system (EMS) as "a formal set of policies and procedures that define how an organization will manage its potential impacts on the natural environment and on the health and welfare of the people who depend on it" (UNC, 2003, p. 5). The Office of the Federal Environmental Executive (2004) defines an EMS as a "formal set of management processes and practices that enables an organization to manage and reduce its environmental impacts and operate with greater efficiency and control." According to Coglianese and Nash (2001), "EMS's set forth internal rules, create organizational structures, and direct resources that managers use to routinize behavior in order to help satisfy their organizations' environmental goals" (p. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Implementing Environmental Management Systems in the Federal Government: Real Change or Flavor-of-the-Month?
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.