EPA To End Relaxed Environmental Enforcement Policy By September

Jul 2, 2020

An aerial of the Burns Harbor area, where many of Indiana's big industrial companies are located, 2014. (Ken Lund/Flickr)

The Environmental Protection Agency plans to end its policy relaxing penalties for some violations during the pandemic. In an EPA memo, the agency said as states reopen, they're reducing the restrictions that make it difficult for industrial companies to comply with environmental laws. 

In late March, the EPA said companies that failed to do routine things like monitor their pollution could be given a pass — as long as they keep a record of what happened and why they couldn’t comply with the law because of the outbreak.

READ MORE: EPA May Waive Some Pollution Penalties Due To Coronavirus

The Indiana Department of Environmental Management said it would use discretion in enforcement with companies that can’t comply due to COVID-19 on a case-by-case basis.

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Environmentalists have criticized the EPA’s policy. They said if companies aren’t required to monitor their pollution, regulators won’t know if they’re releasing too much.

The EPA’s temporary enforcement policy will end on Sept. 1.

Contact Rebecca at rthiele@iu.edu or follow her on Twitter at @beckythiele.

Indiana Environmental reporting is supported by the Environmental Resilience Institute, an Indiana University Grand Challenge project developing Indiana-specific projections and informed responses to problems of environmental change.