The cornerstone of NEPPS was the Performance Partnership Agreements.
Providing states with a single, therefore more flexible, grant under NEPPS would also be a strong tool for improving federal-state relationships.
Although participation is voluntary, most states have opted into the NEPPS process.
NEPPS promised big changes in federal-state relationships.
By 2000, state officials believed that participation in NEPPS had not brought significant reductions in reporting and other oversight activities.
One reason NEPPS has not succeeded is because it could not change the system of guidance and memoranda of understanding.
One report, criticizing enforcement in Pennsylvania, led that state's environmental agency to call off its preparations to participate in NEPPS.
Some states are still not interested in NEPPS, perceiving it as a waste of energy as long as EPA still requires them to submit information on the old bureaucratic measures and as long as EPA holds onto its traditional oversight tools: the right to bring enforcement actions in states and to remove delegated programs from a state's control.
If it can be successfully implemented, NEPPS will be the perfect complement to the ultimate reinvention experiment endorsed by Congress: the Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA) of 1993.
If Congress continues to take GPRA seriously and if EPA and the states continue to take NEPPS seriously, there will be a demand for more and better indicators of environmental performance and trends.
Although these are encouraging results for a relatively young program, it is too soon to tell how well the NEPPS principles will translate into important and enduring achievements.
Nonetheless, it is clear that the NEPPS represents a substantial departure from the traditional federal-state relations in environmental policy.