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EPA Extends Enforcement Priorities to 2016


EPA announced that it will extend its six existing sector-based enforcement priorities through fiscal year 2016.  EPA has been prioritizing these initiatives since fiscal year 2011.  Although EPA has said it has made “substantial progress in addressing noncompliance,” with the six enforcement initiatives, EPA is extending the initiatives for three additional years because it said “more work remains to be done.”

EPA reviews its national enforcement initiatives every three years to determine where it may best deploy its resources and to identify the most pressing environmental problems where noncompliance is a contributing factor.  EPA solicited public comments on extending the six initiatives in January, and recently announced on its website that, after reviewing public comments, it will extend the six initiatives through fiscal year 2016.

The six initiatives are:

  • Reducing air emissions from the largest sources;
  • Reducing discharges of untreated sewage and stormwater;
  • Preventing waste from concentrated animal feeding operations;
  • Reducing air toxics emissions through leak detection and repair, reducing flared emissions, and targeting pollution emitted during times of startup, shutdown and equipment malfunction;
  • Ensuring that hydraulic fracturing and other energy extraction processes comply with air and water laws; and
  • Reducing pollution from mineral processing operations.

In the announcement, EPA also said that it “plans to incorporate new strategies and tools such as the Next Generation Compliance program to more effectively address noncompliance and reduce risks” in the six areas.  EPA has said it will develop a strategic plan for the Next Generation Compliance Program by the end of fiscal year 2013 and described the initiative as a “new paradigm” in its compliance program to address noncompliance with environmental regulations.  The initiative will involve using advanced emissions detection technology to spot pollution releases, to help industry prevent releases, and to help governments and the public target noncompliance.  EPA has also said that it will require electronic reporting on sources, pollution, and compliance.

To view a complete PDF of the May/June 2013 issue of the Environmental Letter, click HERE.

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