EPA notice sets August 31 end date for enforcement discretion

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued a notice setting August 31, 2020 as the end date for the agency's policy of enforcement discretion due to the COVID-19 national emergency. The policy memorandum indicated EPA might ease environmental obligations and forgo enforcement in certain situations during the COVID-19 emergency.

The discretion policy explained that the agency's continuing enforcement focus during the outbreak would be "on situations that may create an acute risk or imminent threat to public health or the environment." EPA stated that it "does not expect" to seek penalties for noncompliance with routine monitoring and reporting obligations resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic and will exercise discretion in doing so. Per the new notice, the enforcement discretion policy will no longer apply to noncompliance with EPA regulations after August 31, 2020.