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EPA Announces Temporary Enforcement Discretion on Environmental Requirements

U.S. EPA announced earlier this week a temporary policy on the use of enforcement discretion to address noncompliance with environmental requirements that results from the COVID-19 pandemic.  The policy, which applies retroactively to March 13 with no specific end date, covers situations where compliance is “not reasonably practicable” and includes routine compliance monitoring and reporting.  Facilities are required to document efforts to minimize the effects and duration of noncompliance, identify the nature and dates of noncompliance, state how COVID-19 caused the noncompliance, and describe steps taken to return to compliance. 

The policy makes clear that EPA does not expect to seek penalties in situations where the agency agrees that “COVID-19 was the cause of noncompliance and the entity provides the supporting documentation to the EPA upon request.”  The policy does not apply to criminal violations, Superfund and Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) corrective actions, accidental releases and imports.  EPA also acknowledges in the policy that states may take a different approach.  See EPA Policy.  More Info: Jackson Morrill 

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