EPA Enforcement Head Seeks Early Notice of DOJ Referrals

two(April 3, 2018) - Susan Bodine, Assistant Administrator for the EPA Office of Enforcement & Compliance Assurance (OECA), issued a memo on March 23 – Interim Procedures for Providing Early Notice of Civil Judicial Referrals – to the EPA regional offices requiring early notice and case collaboration on cases recommended for referral to the US Department of Justice (DOJ).

The stated purpose of the memo is to “help to ensure the smooth management of judicial cases, in furtherance of the Agency’s strategic measure to ‘reduce the average time from violation identification to correction.’”  The memo requires managers to brief the Regional Administrator (RA) for Region-led cases and provide Assistant Administrator Bodine with a briefing paper containing key information about the case and the RA’s position. For headquarters-led cases, the appropriate manager must brief Assistant Administrator Bodine prior to referral to the DOJ.

This is the second enforcement guidance of which NACWA is aware under Bodine’s leadership.  On January 22, Bodine issued a memo -- Interim OECA Guidance on Enhancing Regional-State Planning and Communication on Compliance Assurance Work in Authorized States -- to EPA regional offices in order “to immediately begin the movement toward a more collaborative partnership between the EPA and authorized States.”

Among other things, the document suggests that EPA is looking to allow states to play a more proactive role in enforcement issues, including the possibility of additional compliance assistance to help utilities with compliance concerns instead of immediate enforcement actions.

Members with any questions can contact Amanda Waters, NACWA’s General Counsel.