On June 29, 2020, US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the termination of its policy easing enforcement of environmental regulations during the COVID-19 pandemic. This policy was outlined in its March 26, 2020 memorandum entitled “COVID-19 Implications for EPA’s Enforcement and Compliance Assurance Program.” The policy is set to expire on August 31, 2020 at 11:59 PM Eastern Daylight Saving Time.
The policy eased EPA’s enforcement in a variety of regulatory areas including monitoring, permitting, and specific facility operations such as management of hazardous waste. Regulated facilities are and were expected to maintain documentation detailing why they could not maintain compliance due to situations arising from the COVID-19 pandemic.
If EPA chooses to terminate the policy before August 31, 2020, they will give the public seven days notice prior to termination. EPA also emphasizes that nothing in this announcement limits its ability to exercise enforcement on a case-by-case basis regarding any noncompliance, including noncompliance caused by the COVID-19 pandemic before or after the policy is terminated.
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