EPA Scrutiny of Self-Audit Policy May Discourage Self-Disclosure of Violations

On June 30, the EPA Inspector General directed the Agency to develop a more rigorous process for screening self-disclosure of violations made to the EPA’s electronic disclosure system (eDisclosure). The Director found that the Agency lacked adequate internal controls to ensure that the EPA screening process is effective and that significant concerns, such as criminal conduct and potential imminent hazards are identified and addressed by the Office of Enforcement.  Significant concerns are ineligible for the penalty mitigation shield available for minor noncompliance issues that are voluntarily disclosed to the EPA under the eDisclosure system. Companies are advised to review the new EPA guidance carefully to determine if their potential disclosures could rise to the level of criminal conduct or a potential, imminent hazard. For more information, please contact one of the attorneys in Smith, Gambrell & Russell’s Environmental Practice Group.

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