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EPA to Terminate COVID-19 Compliance Program

Friday, August 28, 2020

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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently released an addendum on termination of the entity’s COVID-19 Enforcement and Compliance Assurance Program.

Assistant Administrator for Enforcement and Compliance Assurance Susan Parker Bodine published the memo at the end of June, which called attention to the wide range of state responses to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“On March 26, 2020, I issued a memorandum entitled COVID-19 Implications for EPA’s Enforcement and Compliance Assurance Program, a temporary policy regarding EPA’s exercise of enforcement of environmental legal obligations during the COVID-19 public health emergency,” the notice reads.

Environmental Protection Agency, Public Domain, via Wikimedia Commons

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently released an addendum on termination of the entity’s COVID-19 Enforcement and Compliance Assurance Program.

“Since that time, new federal guidelines and directives have been issued to support both the public health response and economic recovery efforts, and many parts of the country have already taken steps to relax social distancing restrictions in parts or all of individual states, with the goal of returning to normal operations. As state and local restrictions are relaxed or lifted, so too may the restrictions that potentially impede regulatory compliance, reducing the circumstances in which the temporary policy may apply.”

Bodine noted that as states and businesses begin to reopen, there will be a period of adjustment as regulated entities plan how to effectively comply both with environmental legal obligations and with public health guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or other agencies.

Thus, the Enforcement and Compliance Assurance Program was revised to add a termination date, which the EPA has set for Aug. 31.

The termination clause reads: “This means that the EPA will not base any exercise of enforcement discretion on this temporary policy for any noncompliance that occurs after August 31, 2020.”

However, it adds: “Nothing herein limits the ability of the EPA to exercise enforcement discretion on a case-by-case basis regarding any noncompliance, including noncompliance caused by the COVID-19 public health emergency, before or after the temporary policy is terminated. This includes the situation in which a person or entity makes a reasonable attempt to comply with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or other agencies regarding actions suggested to stem the transmission and spread of COVID-19, which the person or entity reasonably deems applicable to its circumstances.”

   

Tagged categories: COVID-19; EPA; EPA; Good Technical Practice; Government; NA; North America

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