The following covers the legal authority for the EPA’s records management operations, the scope of its records management programs, and the types of records management services it performs.
Legal Authority for the EPA’s records management operations:
The EPA record management operations seem subject to the National Archives. The authority listed in their Records Management Policy refers to the National Archives and White House websites. The various responsibilities for maintaining a Federal agency’s records management program are laid out in the Federal Records Act of 1950 (44 U.S.C. Chapter 31), and it seems like most of the responsibility falls on the head of the agency, in our case the EPA.
It is the head of the EPA’s duty to establish a Record Management program (§ 3102); establish safeguards (§ 3105); and notify the Archivist of any actual, impending, or threatened unlawful removal, defacing, alteration, or destruction of records in the EPA’s custody (§ 3106). General duties (§ 3101) also require that that head shall make and preserve records containing adequate and proper documentation of the organization, functions, policies, decisions, procedures, and essential transactions of the EPA and designed to furnish the information necessary to protect the legal and financial rights of the Government and of persons directly affected by the EPA’s activities.
a. 44 U.S.C. Chapter 31 – Records Management by Federal Agencies (Federal Records Act) [http://www.archives.gov/about/laws/fed-agencies.html]
NB: In general, the Federal Records Act requires all federal agencies to make and preserve records containing adequate and proper documentation of their organization, function, policies, decisions, procedures, and essential transactions.
More specifically, here is the authority (Part 1223) for Managing Vital Records:
(a) The authorities for this part are 44 U.S.C. 3101; Executive Orders 12656, Assignment of Emergency Preparedness Responsibilities, and 13231, Critical Infrastructure Protection in the Information Age; and National Security Presidential Directive (NSPD 51)/Homeland Security Presidential Directive (HSPD-20) or applicable successor directives. These authorities require the head of each agency to make and preserve records that contain adequate and proper documentation of the organization and to perform national security emergency preparedness functions.
(b) These regulations are in conformance with guidance provided in Federal Continuity Directive (FCD) 1, Federal Executive Branch National Continuity Program and Requirements, and FCD 2, Federal Executive Branch Mission Essential Function and Primary Mission Essential Function Identification and Submission Process.
Scope of records management programs:
The program covers record retention (including policies, schedules, implementation, and assistance); storing, transferring, and retiring records; organization of retrieval; and protection of information and the right to access information.
The EPA’s Records Management Policy establishes specific requirements under which EPA records are effectively and efficiently managed throughout their lifecycle to facilitate the accomplishment of EPA’s programmatic and administrative missions, to preserve official EPA records in accordance with applicable statutory and regulatory requirements, and to promote access to information by EPA staff, EPA partners, and the public, as appropriate.
The Policy addresses all records made or received by EPA under federal law or in connection with the transaction of public business, and preserved or appropriate for preservation as evidence of EPA functions, organization, and activities or because of the value of the information they contain. This Policy applies to all EPA Headquarters Programs, Regions, Laboratories and other Offices.
Types of services performed:
Essential elements required in the Records Management Policy include issuing up-to-date records management directives, properly training those responsible for implementation, and carefully evaluating the results to ensure adequacy, effectiveness, and efficiency.
The vital records procedure covers all vital records and applies to all EPA Headquarters Programs, Regions, Laboratories and other Offices, under the authority of 36 CFR Part 1236 (Management of Vital Records) and CIO 2155.1 (the U.S. EPA – Records Management Policy). In carrying out a vital records program, the EPA must:
- Specify agency staff responsibilities;
- Appropriately inform all staff about vital records;
- Ensure that the designation of vital records is current and complete; and
- Ensure that vital records are adequately protected, accessible, and immediately usable.
The Records Management Policy puts particular responsibility on the Administrator and the Assistant Administrator for the Office of Environmental Information (OEI), but all staff are responsible for maintaining proper record keeping practices.