Back
Back
Back
Back
Back
Back
Back
Back
Back
Back
Back
Back
Back
Back
Back
Back
Back

EPA Enforcement and Compliance Assurance Programs

Written by: Gregory H. Smith

3/30/2020

On March 26, the EPA Headquarters Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance issued a broad policy statement, retroactive to March 13, describing its intention to exercise enforcement discretion with respect to compliance with environmental compliance testing and reporting obligations that cannot be met because of the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Nonetheless, the regulated community is required to comply to the fullest extent it can.

To the extent that the unavailability of personnel and COVID-19 restrictions prevent timely compliance with testing and reporting requirements, in order to benefit from the suspension of punitive sanctions pursuant to the policy, all regulated entities must follow specific requirements of management, record keeping, and reporting.

These requirements are described as follows in the policy:

  1. Minimize the effects and duration of any non-compliance caused by COVID-19
  2. Identify the specific nature and date of noncompliance
  3. Identify how COVID-19 caused the noncompliance, best efforts to comply, and measures to come into compliance at the earliest possible date
  4. Carefully document compliance with these obligations.

 

The obligations subject to the enforcement forbearance include routine compliance, monitoring, integrity testing, sampling, laboratory analysis, training, and reporting or certification. In addition, there are provisions for accepting digital signatures.

Generally speaking, for Administrative Orders, Consent Decrees, and other settlement agreements the requirements for reporting to EPA impediments to compliance that are embedded in those agreements should be followed.

The policy also addresses imminent threats to human health or the environment and failure of air emission controls and waste water or water treatment systems. The requirements for hazardous waste generators to transfer accumulating hazardous waste offsite within certain time periods under RCRA are relaxed.

There are specific provisions for public drinking water systems regulated under the Safe Drinking Water Act, Accidental Releases, and criminal violations.

This policy does not apply to Superfund or RCRA corrective action enforcement cases that will be addressed in a separate memorandum.

States that have correlative enforcement authority will make their own judgments about compliance with all of the obligations addressed by the EPA policy.

Finally, the policy is temporary, careful compliance with its terms will no doubt be necessary to benefit from it, and the agency emphasizes that compliance at all times should be achieved to the fullest extent possible.

To read the statement, click here.

Integrity and trust

At McLane Middleton we establish and maintain long-standing relationships with our clients to help us better achieve their unique goals over time. This approach to building trust requires that our esteemed lawyers and professionals use their broad, in-depth knowledge and work together with integrity to ascertain sound resolutions to legal matters for their clients.

Strength in numbers

McLane Middleton is made up of more than 105 attorneys who represent a broad range of clients throughout the region, delivering customized solutions. As a firm we are recognized as having the highest legal ability rating. The firm is rated Preeminent by Martindale Hubbell and is recognized as one of the nation's leading law firms in Chambers USA. Our attorneys are distinguished leaders in their respective practice areas.

Meet Our People

Commitment and collaboration

McLane Middleton's versatile group of attorneys and paralegals become trusted authorities on each case through collaboration. We work with our clients to learn their individual needs first and foremost and, together, we develop comprehensive solutions to their specific legal matters. This approach helps us exceed our clients' expectations efficiently and effectively, client by client, case by case.

Practice Areas

A history of excellence

McLane Middleton was established in 1919 in New Hampshire, and has five offices across two states. However, deep historical roots don't allow you to become innate. Our firm is organized, technological, and knowledgeable. Our history means we are recognized. But our reputation is built on the highest quality of service and experience in very specific areas of law.

The Firm

Intelligence paired with action

Our team continuously seeks opportunities to enhance their professional development and put key learnings to action. The pursuit of further insight guides us to volunteer service opportunities, speaking engagements, and teaching roles. Our lawyers are sought after thought leaders across their industries, and recipients of leadership awards throughout the region.