National EPA Enforcement Initiatives for 2017-2019 Announced

In February 2016, EPA announced its National Enforcement Initiatives for Fiscal Years 2017-2019.  EPA conducts this process of identifying enforcement priorities every three years with the intent of focusing Agency resources on areas of significant non-compliance where federal enforcement is considered to be effective. EPA solicited public comment on its proposed National Enforcement Initiatives last year. The Agency maintains that the final priorities incorporate this stakeholder feedback.

The seven National Enforcement Initiatives for FY 2017-2019 are as follows:

  1. Reducing air pollution from the largest sources
  2. Ensuring energy extraction activities comply with environmental laws
  3. Keeping raw sewage and contaminated storm water out of our nation’s waters
  4.  Preventing animal waste from contaminating surface and groundwater
  5. Cutting hazardous air pollutants
  6. Reducing risks of accidental releases at industrial and chemical facilities
  7. Keeping industrial pollutants out of the nation’s waters*

The first four listed priorities carry over from EPA’s previous National Enforcement Initiatives. EPA is expanding its prior initiative on reducing toxic air pollution by adding a focus on large storage tanks and hazardous waste facilities. New to the list for FY 2017-2019 are priorities focusing on reducing accidental releases at industrial and chemical facilities through innovative accident prevention measures and improved response capabilities and regulating water discharges from chemical and metal manufacturing, mining and food processing facilities. The latter new National Enforcement Initiative is driven by water pollution data from facilities’ Discharge Monitoring Reports.

EPA’s press release announcing these new priorities is available here.

* focus on water discharges from chemical and metal manufacturing, mining and food processing; based on Discharge Monitoring Report data

Jessica Wicha is a senior associate in the Firm’s North American Environmental Practice Group. Ms. Wicha regularly advises domestic and multinational companies on the broad range of compliance and enforcement issues that arise under federal and state environmental, health and safety laws, with a particular focus on solid and hazardous waste and water resource issues. She draws on this expertise to assess and help manage the environmental risks that arise in transactions, including mergers and acquisitions, divestitures and joint ventures. A significant portion of Ms. Wicha’s practice also concentrates on the federal and state environmental, health and safety laws regulating products, including TSCA, FIFRA, California’s Proposition 65, and state chemical content and electronic waste laws. She strives to provide practical solutions and strategies that pertain to a product’s entire life cycle, from cradle to grave.