In order to provide effective and consistent enforcement of federal laws nationwide, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is stepping up its civil and criminal enforcement by targeting the most serious hazards that relate to air, water, and chemicals. The EPA summarized the measures it will take on how it plans to use “vigorous and targeted” civil and criminal enforcement in the 2011-2015 EPA Strategic Plan. The plan outlines strategic measures for the criminal enforcement program by taking “aggressive action against pollution problems that make a difference in communities.”
For the first time, the EPA has included the measures it plans to take to enforce these hazards in order to protect human health and the environment, as well as protecting the low-income, minority, and tribal communities which may be disproportionally impacted by these hazards. The EPA states that in order to achieve these goals, they need both new strategies and compliance to the rules that they already have. This concentrated effort is meant to achieve “increased transparency” so that more of your business’s information will be accessible to the public and the best way to comply would be to become more involved in your facility’s operations.
Some of the specified enforcement maintenance that the EPA will take by 2015 includes:
- Here are some of the enforcement actions EPA plans to take by 2015:
- Conduct 105,000 federal inspections and evaluations (FY 2005-2009 baseline: 21,000 annually)
- Initiate 19,500 civil judicial and administrative enforcement cases and bring 19,000 to a conclusion (FY 2005-2009 baseline: 3,900 )
- Review overall compliance status of 100 percent of open consent decrees (FY 2009: 100 percent)
- Increase the percentage of criminal cases with charges filed to 45 percent (FY 2009 baseline: 36 percent)
- Maintain an 85 percent conviction rate for criminal defendants
For more information, check out the 2011-2015 EPA Strategic Plan.