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EPA Officials Describe New Enforcement Strategy

Date: August 24, 2012

Source: News Room

EPA sees improved data as the means to improve compliance with environmental laws, along with "more effective" and "simpler" rules and permitting requirements. The emerging "next generation" strategy seeks to improve waning compliance rates without burdening the agency's already constrained enforcement budget. Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator of EPA's Office of Enforcement & Compliance Assurance (OECA) said during a recent web conference that "the rates of non-compliance that we see are a serious issue that tell us we need to develop new strategies." She sees a direct correlation between programs with strong discharge monitoring report data and higher compliance rates. "This isn't a new problem, but it's growing increasingly important. Our data on non-compliance is incomplete and incomplete data is itself a problem," she said.

The effort is also driven in part by dwindling federal funds, which includes reductions to OECA's budget. The agency's existing budget is $8.4 billion for fiscal year 2012, though President Obama has proposed reducing it further to $8.3 billion for fiscal year 2013, which Giles has said would result in scaling back of some enforcement actions.

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