US EPA reinstates enforcement policies

16 September 2020

On August 31, the temporary enforcement policy enacted by the US Environmental Protection Agency as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic was disbanded. The policy, issued on March 26, was meant to give relief to regulated entities unable to comply with certain reporting obligations because of the pandemic.

The relaxed enforcement policy was not required to extend beyond August 31, as new federal guidelines have been issued to support the public health response and economic recovery efforts, Susan Parker Bodine, the EPA’s assistant administrator for enforcement and compliance assistance, wrote in a June 29 memo.

“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 wrote.

The EPA has faced a lot of criticism in recent months from critics in Congress, the environmental community, and the media that interpreted the policy as offering broad waivers that go beyond routine monitoring, reporting, and record-keeping.