EPA Halts Surprise Inspections of Power,Chemical Plants

02 August 2019

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is doing away with a policy that allows pollution enforcement officials to drop in unannounced for inspections at power and chemical plants.

In a July 11 memo shared with EPA, regional administrators outlined a new enforcement policy that would do away with surprise inspections tactics.The new policy would stop agency officials from conducting inspections at facilities without giving prior notice to the states involved, as a way to increase communication between agencies, states, and regulatory bodies.

“A ‘no surprises' principle is the foundation of joint work planning and will minimize the misunderstandings that can be caused by the lack of regular, bilateral communication,” wrote Susan Bodine, Assistant Administrator for Enforcement and Compliance Assistance in the memo. “With increased EPA cooperation and transparency, the EPA expects the states to respond in kind.”

“The overall goal of joint planning is the sharing of enforcement responsibilities with a clear agreement on EPA and state roles in individual inspections and formal enforcement actions. Such agreements cannot be reached if the EPA or a state is unaware of the actions of the other,” the memo read.

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