EPA Sets Termination Date for COVID-19 Enforcement Policy

(July 10, 2020) – EPA’s Assistant Administrator for the Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance, Susan Bodine, recently issued a memorandum establishing a termination date of August 31, 2020 for EPA’s temporary policy on exercising its enforcement discretion during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The temporary enforcement policy generally outlines when EPA will consider issues related to the pandemic in determining whether enforcement is appropriate, and expresses EPA’s intention to excuse certain penalties, such as compliance monitoring, sampling and reporting violations, caused by COVID-19. 

According to the termination date memorandum, in recognition of the lifting of COVID-related restrictions and other circumstances surrounding the issuance of the policy, “EPA will not base any exercise of enforcement discretion on the temporary policy for any noncompliance that occurs after August 31, 2020.” However, the memorandum also states that EPA may terminate the policy on either a state or national basis earlier than August 31, but notes that the Agency will not do so without providing at least seven days’ notice. 

Additionally, the memorandum notes that EPA may still “exercise enforcement discretion on a case-by-case basis regarding any noncompliance, including noncompliance caused by the COVID-19 public health emergency, before or after the temporary policy is terminated.” 

NACWA will continue to monitor EPA’s enforcement initiatives related to COVID-19 and will inform you of any important developments as they occur. Members with questions on EPA’s enforcement memos can contact Emily Remmel, NACWA’s Director of Regulatory Affairs, or Amanda Aspatore, NACWA’s Chief Legal Counsel.