September 3, 2009

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EPA Seeks Input On Enforcement Priorities

EPA's Online Forum - Seeking Public Input on National Enforcement Priorities

On September 1, 2009, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency launched an online discussion forum to receive public input on the future priorities for EPA's national enforcement program. The public will be able to provide feedback through the EPA Web site until December 1 to submit ideas for EPA to consider for new areas of enforcement focus.

The current enforcement priorities through 2010 focus on significant environmental problems, including pollution from :

(a) stormwater runoff,

(b) air toxics,

(c) concentrated animal feeding operations, and

(d) mineral processing.

To submit suggestions for potential priorities, access this link:

We have pasted the National Priorities information, below, for FYs 2008 - 2010.

National Priorities for Enforcement and Compliance Assurance

CAA: Air Toxics
CAA: New Source Review
CWA: Wet Weather
Storm Water
Financial Responsibility
RCRA: Mineral Processing
Indian Country
Short Term Planning
Long Term Planning
EPA's national enforcement and compliance assurance program is characterized by its multi-media scope and breadth. The national program is responsible for maximizing compliance with 10 distinct federal environmental statutes dealing with prevention and control of air pollution, water pollution, hazardous waste, toxic substances, and pesticides. The Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance (OECA) carries out compliance and enforcement activities in 28 separate program areas.

The national program is organized into two major components:

A limited number of national program priorities, which focus on significant environmental risks and noncompliance patterns
Core program activities that implement the requirements of all environmental laws and programs
OECA established National Priorities for Fiscal Years 2008 - 2010 and announced these priorities through the FY2008 National Program Managers' (NPM) Guidance (PDF) (85pp, 1.2M,About PDF) in May 2007.

Evaluation criteria used in selecting the priorities:

Significant Environmental Benefit: Can significant environmental benefits be gained, or risk to human health or the environment be reduced, through focused EPA action?
Pattern of Noncompliance: Are there identifiable and important patterns of noncompliance?
Appropriate EPA Responsibility: Are the environmental and human health risks or the patterns of noncompliance sufficient in scope and scale such that EPA is best suited to take action?
National enforcement and compliance assurance activities, which include the national priorities, support Goal 5 of EPA's Strategic Plan. For more information about the Agency's strategic plan, visit the Office of the Chief Financial Officer.

For each of the national priority areas, EPA has developed a strategy to achieve specific goals. The strategy summaries included here contain a description of the environmental problem or noncompliance problem; why the Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance is addressing the problem; how the problem will be addressed; and highlights the progress made by the priorities for fiscal year 2005 through 2007 (PDF) (86pp, 820K,About PDF).

The Guide for Addressing Environmental Problems: Using an Integrated Strategic Approach (PDF) (115pp, 4.51MB,About PDF) is a detailed reference to help staff and managers plan, develop, implement and measure OECA's national priorities. The Guide will help determine which mix of tools - enforcement, inspections, incentives or assistance - will best maximize the environmental benefits. It includes chapters on: goals and measures, selecting and sequencing tools, assigning roles and responsibilities, communicating and exiting the strategy. For a quick review of what the Guide has to offer there is a fact sheet (PDF) (1pg, 46K,About PDF) available

EPA has identified over 400 links to online compliance and enforcement resources that may be helpful in implementing these performance-based strategies. These links can be accessed through the Compliance Assurance Resources Compendium for Fiscal Year 2008 - 2010 National Enforcement and Compliance Priorities (PDF) (60pp, 775K,About PDF), current as of February 2008, is also available.

On February 9, 2007, the Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance (OECA) published a Stakeholder Comment on Proposed National Enforcement and Compliance Assurance Priorities for Fiscal Years 2008, 2009 and 2010 (PDF) (3pp, 59K,About PDF) soliciting recommendations and comments from the public on the triennial national enforcement and compliance assurance priorities to be addressed for fiscal years 2008, 2009 and 2010. The public provided comments through March 12, 2007.

On October 12, 2007, the Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance (OECA) published an Announcement of the National Enforcement and Compliance Assurance Priorities for Fiscal Years 2008, 2009 and 2010 (PDF) (2pp, 83K,About PDF). This Notice announced EPA's enforcement and compliance assurance priorities for the years 2008 through 2010.

FY 2008 - 2010 National Priorities
Clean Air Act: Air Toxics
Reducing public exposure to toxic air emissions by ensuring compliance through directed monitoring and enforcement of the Maximum Achievable Control Technology (MACT) standards.

Clean Air Act /Prevention Of Significant Deterioration and New Source Review
Ensuring that New Source Review (NSR) and Prevention Of Significant Deterioration (PSD) requirements of the Clean Air Act (CAA) are implemented. Failure to comply with NSR/PSD requirements may lead to the inadequate control of emissions resulting in the release of thousands of tons of pollution to the air each year, particularly of nitrogen oxides, volatile organic compounds, and particulate matter.

Clean Water Act: Wet Weather
Ensuring compliance with Clean Water Act requirements by addressing four (listed below) environmental challenges that are exacerbated by wet weather. Wet weather discharges contain bacteria, pathogens and other pollutants that can cause illnesses in humans, lead to water quality impairment, including beach and shellfish bed closures and harm our nation's water resources.

Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations The major environmental problem associated with CAFOs is the large volume of animal waste generated in concentrated areas.

Combined Sewer Overflows Combined sewer systems are designed to collect rainwater runoff, domestic sewage and industrial wastewater in the same pipe. During periods of rainfall or snow melt, the wastewater volume in a combined sewer system can exceed the capacity of the system or treatment plant.

Sanitary Sewer Overflows The main pollutants in raw sewage from SSOs are bacteria, pathogens, nutrients, untreated industrial wastes, toxic pollutants, such as oil and pesticides, and wastewater solids and debris.

Storm Water Storm water runoff from urban areas can include a variety of pollutants, such as sediment, bacteria, organic nutrients, hydrocarbons, metals, oil and grease.

Financial Responsibility

Ensuring an operator has adequate funds to address the closure of facilities that handle hazardous wastes, hazardous substances, toxic materials, or other pollutants. The funds provide for the ability to clean up those materials so they do not contaminate soils, groundwater, surface waters or the air. Having the financial resources to perform closure and cleanup are an important part of protecting human health and the environment from solvents, dioxins, oils, heavy metals, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and other dangerous pollutants that contaminate soils, groundwater, surface waters, and sediments. This priority seeks to prevent improper handling and release of hazardous materials and wastes and defaults that would shift the costs from the responsible parties to others, including state and federal taxpayers.

Resource Conservation and Recovery Act: Mineral Processing
Reducing risk to health and the environment by achieving increased compliance rates throughout the mineral processing and mining sectors and by ensuring that harm is being appropriately addressed through compliance assistance and enforcement.

Indian Country
Working with federally-recognized Indian tribes to address significant human health and environmental problems associated with drinking water, solid waste, and environmental risks in tribal schools (e.g., lead-paint) through capacity building and compliance monitoring.

National Priorities Returned to Core Program
Safe Drinking Water Act: Microbial Rule (FY 2003 - 2004 Priority)
The Safe Drinking Water Act Microbial Rule national priority was returned to the core program in October 2004. Core program activities implement the requirements of all environmental laws and programs.

Petroleum Refining (FY 2003 - 2005 Priority)
Using compliance and enforcement tools to reduce air emissions and eliminate unpermitted releases from operable domestic petroleum refineries. This priority is near goal and will be assessed during FY 2005 to determine if sufficient progress has been made to return this priority to the core program.

This information,above, is provided at the following link to the EPA website: