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 counsel in the Firm’s North American Environmental Practice Group. Her practice covers the spectrum of environmental legal matters, including regulatory compliance counseling, enforcement defense, and environmental aspects of complex business transactions. She strives to provide practical solutions to her client's environmental legal challenges, including day-to-day compliance issues, remediation matters, emergency spills and releases, and regulatory enforcement. Ms. Wicha also has extensive experience advising on environmental transactional matters across a wide range of industry sectors and global jurisdictions. This work includes scoping and coordinating environmental due diligence, managing environmental consultants, advising clients on environmental liability and risk allocation issues and tools, drafting and negotiating environmental contractual language, and coordinating permit transfers.