ICYMI enjoying the beach or your favorite lake, every four years USEPA's Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance (OECA) announces its enforcement priorities. The National Enforcement and Compliance Initiatives 2024-2027 (NECI) plan was rolled out on August 17, 2023. Not surprisingly, environmental justice (EJ) initiatives are replete throughout. Three of the six initiatives are characterized by EPA as new and the balance are carryovers:
- Mitigating Climate Change (new) (with an intense focus on methane from oil and gas facilitities and landfills)
- Addressing Exposure to PFAS (new) (using CERCLA, RCRA, Clean Water Act and Safe Drinking Water Act as enforcement authorities)
- Protecting Communities from Coal Ash Contamination (new)(focusing on RCRA noncompliance regarding coal fire residuals)
- Reducing Air Toxics in Overburdened Communities (modified)
- Increasing Compliance with Drinking Water Standards (continued)
- Chemical Accident Risk Reduction (continued)
EPA commits to working through these initiatives with state enforcement and compliance counterparts and to offering compliance assistance where appropriate. "But those who break the law, who put the environment and the health of our communities at risk, and who seek an unfair competitive advantage must be held accountable based on the law and the facts. EPA will utilize its criminal and civil enforcement tools fairly and strategically to protect communities in the United States from the harmful effects of illegal pollution..."