EPA General Enforcement Discretion Policy Ends August 31, 2020

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will not extend its current enforcement discretion waiver beyond August 31, 2020, the agency announced this week.

The EPA issued the open-ended general enforcement discretion policy on March 26, 2020 due to movement and work limitations imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic. The enforcement discretion policy was open ended with no termination date when first issued.

The EPA set the August 31 deadline this week due to the loosening of stay at home orders in many states nationwide.

The enforcement discretion was designed to address difficulties regulated parties may have maintaining certain routine compliance requirements during the COVID-19 pandemic including routine monitoring and reporting; integrity testing; sampling; lab analysis; training; and certification.

The EPA enforcement discretion policy is beneficial to fuel marketers because it provided compliance relief and flexibility from UST regulations, SPCC regulations, fuel quality attest engagements sampling and testing, among many other EPA program requirements except spill and release cleanup related activities.

The EPA said that as state and local restrictions are relaxed or lifted, the need for regulatory compliance flexibility has been significantly reduced. However, the EPA said it would continue to monitor COVID-19 developments and provide enforcement discretion on a case by case basis if necessary.

The EPA COVID-19 enforcement policy can be found here: EPA COVID-19 Enforcement Discretion Policy. The PMAA Regulatory Alert explaining the EPA policy can be found here: PMAA Regulatory Alert.

Note: The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection ended its temporary program to waive or suspend some environmental requirements based on requests on July 1, 2020 because it was not receiving requests.

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