U.S. Geological Survey Manual
515.4 - Environmental Management Systems
OPR: Office of Administration, Office of Management Services
Instruction: This chapter replaces Survey Manual Chapter 514.4, dated June 12, 2012. This revised chapter removes references to revoked Executive Orders (E.O) 13693 and E.O. 13423. Changes Senior Sustainability Officer to Chief Sustainability Officer. Removes reference to multiple EMS to reflect one bureauwide EMS.
1. Purpose. The purpose of this chapter is to provide guidance on (1) U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) environmental policies and (2) the implementation of the USGS environmental program objectives using an Environmental Management System (EMS). It supersedes Instructional Memorandum No. APS 2009-03, Environmental Management Systems.
2. Scope. This chapter applies to all USGS employees, programs, and facilities nationwide. Activities involving radioactive and nuclear and biological materials are excluded from this chapter. Activities involving radiological materials are subject to requirements established by licenses issued to the USGS by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. See also SM 445-2-H and SM 445-3-H for activities involving ionizing radiation and biological materials.
3. Authority. Departmental Manual Chapter 515 DM 4, Environmental Management Systems, dated November 17, 2016.
4. Policy. It is USGS policy to conduct its science and other activities in keeping with responsible stewardship of the environment and in compliance with applicable environmental laws and regulations. The USGS will employ EMS as the primary management approach for implementing Bureau environmental program objectives.
5. Definitions. The Department of the Interior Manual Chapter 515 DM 4, Environmental Management Systems, defines the terms that apply to EMS.
A. Environmental Management System (EMS) is defined as a planning tool that helps an organization achieve its environmental compliance obligations and broaden its environmental performance goals by properly managing its operations and activities. EMS are not stand-alone environmental programs or data-management systems or programs, but link together existing and new organizational responsibilities, programs, and activities. The EMS model of “Plan, Do, Check, Act” reflects accepted quality-management principles and provides rigor to existing operations and programs to further ensure continual improvement, as found in the International Organization for Standardization’s ISO 14001:2004(E) standard. The true benefit of the EMS model is that it ensures that existing or new programs closely link an organization’s environmental and energy footprint with legal and other requirements. EMS activities include planning, training, monitoring, measuring, and reporting. In addition, senior managers play an active role in evaluating the status and progress of programs or activities and making decisions for continual improvement. An EMS does not guarantee environmental compliance, but provides the framework and tools to achieve and sustain compliance, thereby reducing liability.
B. Sustainable practices are actions contributing to the condition of being “sustainable,” or using resources in a manner that does not deplete or damage them. Examples of sustainable practices can include (but are not limited to) purchasing environmentally friendly products; conserving water, energy, and other resources; using renewable energy and other renewable resources; pollution prevention; reducing toxic substances; reducing or controlling the emissions of greenhouse gases; electronic stewardship; constructing energy-efficient facilities; and, recycling.
C. Environmental aspects (causes) are defined as the elements of an organization’s activities, products, or services that can interact with the environment. The elements are those that personnel can control and influence. Examples include air emissions, water discharges, and the use of raw materials.
D. Environmental impacts (effects) are defined as any change to the environment, whether adverse or beneficial, that wholly or partially results from an organization’s activities, products, or services. Examples include depletion of natural resources, air pollution, hazardous-waste generation, and soil and water contamination.
E. Environmental objectives are defined as overall goals, driven by the environmental policy that an organization sets out to achieve. An objective should be quantifiable, wherever practicable.
F. Targets are defined as detailed performance requirements that apply to all or part of the organization and are derived from the environmental objectives. Targets also should be quantifiable, whenever practicable, and should support the achievement of the environmental objectives.
G. Cross-functional team (CFT) is a cross-disciplinary group consisting of USGS personnel (as defined by the EMS CFT Charter) who develop and rank environmental aspects and impacts. The CFT is responsible for assessing significant environmental aspects and impacts and setting bureau priorities in part by establishing objectives and targets designed to reduce impacts to the environment.
A. Associate Director for Administration.
(1) Serves as the USGS Chief Sustainability Officer responsible for the implementation of EMS, chairs the USGS Sustainability Council, and exercises executive oversight of the Bureau EMS.
(2) Annually reviews the EMS.
(a) Ensures that the EMS is developed, implemented, and fully operational.
(b) Verifies EMS effectiveness through a conformance review.
(c) Ensures that the EMS reflects elements and framework referenced in the ISO 14001:2004 standard.
B. Chief, Office of Management Services (OMS).
(1) Develops Bureau plans for EMS, sets goals, establishes environmental performance metrics, collects performance and other data, measures progress against established benchmarks, and prepares reports about the EMS as required by the Department of Interior (DOI).
(2) Represents the USGS on matters regarding the EMS before DOI and other parties.
(3) Seeks the advice of the USGS Sustainability Council and other parties about formulating efforts to implement the EMS, gathering and sharing best environmental practices, and promoting the realization of EMS objectives.
(4) Ensures that EMS objectives are integrated, wherever practicable, into oversight measures in Bureau real-property management activities and applies existing facility planning mechanisms (such as Site-Specific Asset Business Plans) toward this end.
(5) Establishes the qualifications for and selects independent auditors identified by the USGS to assure that the EMS conform with prescribed DOI, Bureau, and other standards.
(6) Issues procedures, templates, schedules, and other instructions that are necessary to implement the provisions of this chapter.
(7) Develops mandatory training in EMS for employees and others who require it, and establishes appropriate notifications and tracking to ensure that the training is accomplished.
(8) Provides technical assistance and guidance.
(9) Provides program support for implementing the EMS and interprets Bureau policies, plans, programs, directives, procedures, and rules regarding EMS.
C. Regional and Associate Directors.
(1) Conduct mission operations and operate real- and personal-property assets in a manner that assures responsible stewardship of the environment and compliance with applicable environmental laws and regulations.
(2) Identify, manage, and improve environmental performance (including compliance with all applicable Federal, State, and local environmental regulations and sustainable practices); prepare EMS; and, where warranted, develop a center-specific EMS (also defined as “EMS-Appropriate Facility”) in accordance with the instructions issued by the OMS.
(3) Continually assesses their mission’s program needs to reduce their environmental footprints.
(4) Take proactive actions to reduce energy and water consumption, promote recycling, and otherwise adopt best environmental practices.
(5) Ensure that national science program needs are integrated into the EMS.
(6) Dedicate the necessary resources and request appropriate personnel participation in the respective CFTs.
D. Science Center Directors.
(1) Implement an EMS at their respective facilities and/or centers, following the process established by the OMS.
(2) Address objectives and target identified by the respective CFT.
(3) Conduct mission operations in a manner consistent with the objectives and targets of the EMS.
(4) Dedicate appropriate resources to implement the EMS at their facilities and/or centers.
(5) Provide feedback on progress in accomplishing CFT objectives and targets.
(6) Provide information on new aspects and impacts that may be deemed significant.
(7) Designate a Collateral Duty Environmental Protection Coordinator (or other field-level personnel) to act as an agent of the Science Center Director to assist with implementing the EMS.
E. Sustainability Council.
(1) Assists the Chief Sustainability Officer in promoting the implementation of the EMS and sustaining this process.
(2) Establishes and appoints members to the CFT. The CFT will act as agents of the Sustainability Council to assist with implementation of the EMS and to help assess bureau-wide progress.
(3) Provides advice about formulating implementation efforts, gathering and sharing best environmental practices, and promoting the realization of the EMS objectives.
(4) Assists the Chief Sustainability Officer in the annual reviews of the EMS.
F. Cross-Functional Team.
(1) Develop and prioritize significant environmental aspects and impacts and the corresponding objectives and targets for USGS (or Center/facility, region, where applicable) using templates provided by the OMS. Re-evaluate environmental aspects, impacts, objectives, and targets as needed.
(2) Monitor and report the EMS progress to the Sustainability Council.
(3) Communicate information related to the DOI sustainable-practice performance goals, objectives, and targets to the Science Center Directors of the appropriate facilities.
(4) Serve as operational subject-matter experts and environmental liaisons in their respective areas of the EMS.
(5) Ensure that key operational activities are considered and included when setting objectives and targets.
/s/ Roseann Gonzales September 4, 2018
Roseann Gonzales Date
Associate Director for Administration
Return to Survey Manual
Table of Contents
Return to Survey Manual Index
Return to Survey Manual Home Page