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“Relaxed EPA Enforcement Threatens Mission, Agency Watchdog Says”

“The EPA’s reduction in enforcement activity during the coronavirus puts the agency’s regulatory mission at risk, the agency’s internal watchdog said on Wednesday.

That finding cuts against the Environmental Protection Agency’s message that the agency is continuing to do robust enforcement. Earlier this month, nine states urged a New York federal court to block the EPA from using a light touch on environmental enforcement during the pandemic.

The EPA announced March 26 it would stop seeking penalties from those not performing routine compliance monitoring, integrity testing, sampling, laboratory analysis, training, and reporting or certification activities if they’re unable to do so because of the pandemic.

But the EPA’s Office of Inspector General said that “additional reduction in enforcement activity places the EPA’s regulatory mission at greater risk and threatens the Agency’s overall mission to protect human health and the environment.””

Stephen Lee reports for Bloomberg Environment June 17, 2020.