February 6, 2023

Volume XIII, Number 37

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February 03, 2023

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EPA Issues Guidance on Enforcement Discretion During COVID-19 Pandemic

On March 26, 2020, EPA issued the policy document entitled “COVID-19 Implications for EPA’s Enforcement and Compliance Assurance Program.” The policy document addresses situations where compliance with environmental obligations may not be “reasonably practicable” due to COVID-19. The policy is retroactive to March 13, 2020. Regulated entities would still need to report their non-compliance under the terms of their permit or other requirement, but EPA is indicating that it will waive penalties for violations if the failure is due to COVID-19. Some of the routine requirements, such as compliance monitoring, sampling, laboratory testing, routine reporting could certainly be delayed due to COVID-19 with the need for social distancing and restrictions on travel, so this guidance can be seen as a good indicator that delays in completing these tasks will not result in further financial hardship. Timely response to accidental releases are still required and EPA indicates that its priority will be responding to acute risks and imminent threats to public health and the environment. We have not seen similar guidance from Wisconsin DNR, but it would generally be reasonable to expect that the State would address compliance requirements in a similar fashion.

© 2023 Davis|Kuelthau, s.c. All Rights ReservedNational Law Review, Volume X, Number 91

About this Author

Ted Warpinski, Davis Kuelthau Law Firm, Green Bay, Environmental Litigation Law Attorney

With over 30 years of experience, Ted has worked on a wide variety of environmental and litigation cases across Wisconsin. From the early years of Superfund litigation on sites like the Fadrowski Drum Disposal Site in Franklin, Wisconsin and the Moss-American Site in Milwaukee, Ted has been immersed in both the legal and technical aspects of environmental law.

Ted’s litigation practice has grown to include environmental nuisance claims and toxic tort litigation, contract and property disputes, construction defects, insurance coverage litigation...

M. Andrew Skwierawski Environmental & Commercial Attorney Davis Kuelthau Law Firm Milwaukee
Senior Attorney

With 12 years of legal experience, Andy combines his background as a veteran software developer and small business owner to his technical and scientific-focused law practice that includes environmental litigation, e-discovery, complex commercial disputes and municipal compliance.

Andy enjoys working with clients to understand their goals and find creative ways to achieve them.

His technology law practice includes crafting and responding to e-discovery requests as well as reviewing software licensing and service...