The United States Environmental Protection Agency recently modernized its implementation of its two primary self-disclosure incentive policies – the Audit Policy and the Small Business Compliance Policy – by creating a centralized, web-based “eDisclosure” portal to receive and automatically process regulated entities’ self-disclosed civil violations of environmental law. The Audit Policy and Small Business Compliance Policy provide penalty mitigation and other incentives for large and small businesses that discover, promptly disclose and expeditiously correct environmental violations and take steps to prevent future violations. According to EPA, the automated eDisclosure system will make the processing of more routine voluntary disclosures faster and more efficient, and save time and resources for both regulated entities and EPA. Nonetheless, while efficiency is desirable for both public and private parties, potential users of the new system should bear in mind that self-disclosure of a violation to EPA should be undertaken with the assistance of experienced environmental consultants and legal counsel.
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