USGS - science for a changing world

U.S. Geological Survey Manual

515.4 - Environmental Management Systems


OPR: Office of Administration and Enterprise Information, Office of Management Services

Instruction: New chapter.

1. Purpose. The purpose of this chapter is to supersede Instructional Memorandum No. APS 2009-03, Environmental Management Systems, and to provide guidance on (1) U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) environmental policies and (2) the implementation of the USGS environmental program objectives through the use of Environmental Management Systems (EMS).

2. Scope. This chapter applies to all USGS employees, programs, and facilities nationwide.

3. Authority. The chief authorities governing EMS are Executive Order (EO) No. 13423 of January 24, 2007, Strengthening Federal Environmental, Energy, and Transportation Management; the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) document, Implementing Instructions and Requirements for EO 13423, dated March 29, 2007; Departmental Manual Chapter 515 DM 4, Environmental Management Systems, dated August 13, 2008; and Department Manual Chapter 523 DM 1, Climate Change Policy, dated February 20, 2012.

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 Systems (EMS) are defined as planning tools that help an organization achieve its environmental compliance obligations and broaden its environmental performance goals by properly managing its operations and activities. They 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 provide 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 teams (CFTs) are groups consisting of various members of a geographical area or facility (as defined by the EMS organizational structure) who develop and rank aspects and impacts. CFTs are responsible for assessing significant aspects and impacts and setting priorities on the basis of an area’s activities and needs.

6. Responsibilities.

A. Associate Director for Administration and Enterprise Information and Acting Associate Director for Human Capital.

(1) Serves as the USGS Senior 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 they are developed, implemented, and fully operational.

(b) Verifies their effectiveness through a conformance review.

(c) Ensures that they reflect EMS elements and framework referenced in the ISO 14001:2004 standard.

(d) Ensures that they have been established in accordance with Executive Order 13423.

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 in order 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 with regard to EMS.

C. Regional Executives 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 in order 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, 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 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 Sustainability Officer in promoting the implementation of the EMS and sustaining this process.

(2) Establishes and appoints members to the CFTs. The CFTs will act as agents of the Sustainability Council to assist with implementation of the EMS and to help assess bureauwide 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 Sustainability Officer in the annual reviews of the EMS.

F. Cross-Functional Teams.

(1) Develop and prioritize significant environmental aspects and impacts and the corresponding objectives and targets for their respective area (or facility, 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/ Diane K. Wade                                                                  June 12, 2012

________________________________________                ___________________            

Diane K. Wade                                                                                   Date
Associate Director for Administration and
Enterprise Information and Acting Associate Director for Human Capital


Return to Survey Manual Table of Contents
Return to Survey Manual Index
Return to Survey Manual Home Page

Accessibility FOIA Privacy Policies and Notices

Take Pride in America logo logo U.S. Department of the Interior | U.S. Geological Survey
Page Contact Information: OA, Office of Policy and Analysis
Last modification: 30-Aug-2017@12:30