Environmental Law Alert - April 2010 - EPA Announces National Enforcement Initiatives for 2011-2013

Author:Mr Barnes & Thornburg LLP's Environmental Law Department
Profession:Barnes & Thornburg

On Feb. 22, 2010, the United States Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance (OECA) announced new enforcement goals and the National Enforcement Initiatives for fiscal years 2011-2013. Every three years, EPA sets national enforcement initiatives to address the particular environmental issues, specifically those that are confined to a specific industry sector or source type, which EPA believes effectively may be addressed through a concentrated enforcement initiative led by national enforcement teams. EPA sets strategies for enforcement initiatives, and teams of EPA and regional staff and management direct work and monitor the progress necessary to achieve the goals and annual milestones set forth in the performance-based strategies. For the 2011-2013 time period, EPA will be employing the National Enforcement Initiative approach to address the following six environmental and public health issues:

Keeping Raw Sewage and Contaminated Stormwater Out of Our Nation's Waters. This National Enforcement Initiative will focus on reducing discharges from Combined Sewer Overflows (CSOs), Sanitary Sewer Overflows (SSOs) and Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (MS4s). Preventing Animal Waste from Contaminating Surface and Groundwaters. This National Enforcement Initiative pertains to Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs), which are agricultural operations where animals live in a concentrated environment. The animals generate a large amount of manure, which if not properly controlled, can overflow from the lagoons or ponds in which it is typically held and contaminate surface water or groundwater. The Clean Water Act prohibits the discharge of these pollutants into surface waters, and federal regulations require larger CAFOs to have permits in certain circumstances. However, many CAFOs are not complying with these requirements. EPA will focus primarily on existing large and medium CAFOs that have been identified as discharging without a permit. Reducing Widespread Air Pollution from the Largest Sources, Especially the Coal-Fired Utility, Cement, Glass, and Acid Sectors. This National Enforcement Initiative pertains to the New Source Review (NSR) and Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) programs in the Clean Air Act and the requirement that certain large industrial facilities install state-of-the-art air pollution controls when they build new facilities or make "significant modifications" to existing facilities....

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