In a recent US federal budget proposal, the Trump Administration revealed a 30% reduction in the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the largest percentage cut of any single department. This is not a big surprise, as they have questioned the effectiveness of the organization throughout the presidential campaign.

The Trump Administration wants to get rid of more than 50 EPA programs, end funding for former Democratic President Barack Obama’s signature Clean Power Plan aimed at reducing carbon dioxide emissions, and cut renewable energy research programs at the Energy Department.

What does this news have to do with creating more efficient and effective enterprises?

If you were not aware, the US EPA developed a series of Lean and Six Sigma toolkits around 10 years ago. These toolkits were developed to show how Lean and Six Sigma can be used to help companies and organizations reduce their environmental footprint.

There was a large roll out of the program for the first couple years, but very little effort has been made since that time. These are excellent guides to introduce Lean and Six Sigma to companies, which help them save money, reduce risks, AND reduce their environmental impact. A win-win for the business and the environment!

Some of the criticisms from the Trump Administration has been that the EPA is not business-friendly, and there are too many rules and regulations.

The development of these toolkits may be one of the most “business-friendly” initiatives they’ve put together.

Here is a great example from the State of Washington Department of Ecology, which partnered with AccraFab and Impact Washington lean experts to reduce 70,000 gallons of water, and save $179.000 per year!

AccraFab – Lean & Green Manufacturing from Cimira Studios on Vimeo.

However, since they have not continued to promote these toolkits, it makes sense that they may not be aware of them. In fact, in some of my discussions with state environmental departments and other EPA regional contacts, many have not even heard of the toolkits either!

If people internal to the EPA and their close partners are not aware they exist, then we can assume most businesses and politicians do not know they exist either.

It’s time for the EPA to “double-down” on these Lean tookits, to show this new administration that they are able to help businesses save money (while incidentally helping the environment), grow into new markets, attract and retain employees, and reduce risks.

Check out these Lean and Six Sigma toolkits, and share them within your company!


Brion Hurley is a Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt with Rockwell Collins, and is a participating member in the Lean and Sustainable Consortium. He has helped Rockwell Collins move forward on its sustainability efforts using Go and See events and Six Sigma projects. You can follow his work at