universities, and nongovernmental organizations that provided a range of perspectives on sustainable development and environmental stewardship. The committee addressed its task by providing guidance to EPA on the processes necessary to incorporate sustainability into the agency’s work. The committee did not provide guidance on the specific direction the agency should take to accomplish this task.
The committee reviewed a large body of written material on sustainability in the United States, as well as internationally, and reviewed many other documents related to EPA’s structure and function. The committee also did not devote significant time to defining sustainability but used the definition from Executive Order 13514, where it is defined as
Sustainability: “to create and maintain conditions, under which humans and nature can exist in productive harmony, that permit fulfilling the social, economic, and other requirements of present and future generations” (NEPA; E. O.135144).
The committee has not examined whether or to what extent all EPA statutes are compatible with various aspects of sustainability. Because EPA did not request that the committee address laws pertaining to EPA or organizational and institutional aspects of the agency’s operations, the committee did not examine these topics. The committee did, however, examine the benefits, where EPA has statutory authority and discretion in regulatory and nonregulatory programs, of building sustainability considerations into its administration of these statutes. The committee developed the Sustainability Framework and the Sustainability Assessment and Management approach (Figure S-1) to provide guidance to EPA on incorporating sustainability into decision making. The Sustainability Assessment and Management process is intended to be equally applicable to all types of issues, including human health and ecological risks.
The committee emphasizes in the report that the adoption of the Sustainability Framework and the application of the Sustainability Assessment and Management approach to particular EPA programs, activities, and decisions are discretionary. The committee expects that EPA will choose where to focus its attention and resources in operationalizing sustainability and in implementing its agenda and will adapt the scale and depth of the assessment according to the type of decision and its potential impact. Although it will take time and experience to incorporate sustainability broadly into EPA’s culture and process, the committee anticipates that over time there will be an increasing use of the framework.
There is a broad range of sustainability activities in other federal agencies, and the committee envisions EPA working closely with these other agencies as they implement the framework. Although addressing how EPA should engage other agencies is beyond the scope of this current report, this effort will complement other programs that are addressing national and global needs for integrating sci-
4 Executive Order 13514; Federal Leadership in Environmental, Energy, and Economic Performance; was signed on October 5, 2009.