US-OHIO | COVID-19 | Ohio EPA Issues Policy Statement on Enforcement Discretion

The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued a policy statement on how it intends to exercise its enforcement discretion due to issues arising from the COVID-19 pandemic. This creates a process for regulated entities, as described in the alert, to make requests to Ohio EPA to waive late fees, extend reporting deadlines, and exercise enforcement discretion so that sites are not penalized for violating regulations as long as they comply with this policy statement and obtain approval.

Such requests are intended to help entities find alternative approaches to maintaining compliance in the face of COVID-19. Ohio EPA is also directing regulated entities to maintain records adequate to document activities related to the noncompliance and details of the regulated entities’ best efforts to comply.

Unlike the Federal policy issued on March 26, 2020, this policy requires regulated entities to make email requests to the Director of Ohio EPA to obtain approved enforcement discretion. Regulated entities should email EPA.COVID-19REGFLEX@epa.ohio.gov. At a minimum, the email should include the following:

  • The specific regulatory or permit requirement which cannot be complied with
  • A concise statement describing the circumstances preventing compliance
  • The anticipated duration of time that the noncompliance will persist
  • The mitigative measures that will be taken to protect public health and the environment during the need for enforcement discretion
  • A central point of contact for the regulated entity, including an email address and phone number

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Sources:

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Response, Questions, and Guidance, March 2020, Ohio EPA.

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