In June 2019, the U.S. EPA’s Office of Enforcement & Compliance Assurance announced that it has selected six National Compliance Initiatives (“NCIs”) for fiscal years 2020 through 2023. The six priorities are (1) reducing excess air emissions of harmful pollutants from stationary sources; (2) reducing toxic air emissions from hazardous waste facilities; (3) reducing risks of accidental releases at industrial chemical facilities; (4) stopping the manufacture, sale, and installation of aftermarket defeat devices for emission controls on vehicles and engines; (5) reducing “significant noncompliance” with wastewater discharge permits; and (6) reducing noncompliance with drinking water standards at community water systems.
The six NCIs signal not only a nomenclature change from “enforcement” initiatives to “compliance” initiatives, but also somewhat of a substantive change from the eight National Enforcement Initiatives (“NEIs”) that had been announced in 2016 by the U.S. EPA (under the Obama Administration) for fiscal years 2016-2019. Those eight NEIs included item nos. 1, 2, and 3 above, but also included the following (1) ensuring that energy extraction activities comply with environmental laws; (2) keeping raw sewage and contaminated stormwater out of water bodies; (3) keeping industrial pollutants out of waterbodies; (4) preventing animal waste from contaminating surface and ground water; and (5) cutting hazardous air pollutants (HAPs).
For more information about issues relating to enforcement actions by state or federal environmental agencies, please contact Andy Thompson.