Fuel Smarts

EPA Modifies Self-Disclosure Policies

April 13, 2000

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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has revised its two self-disclosure policies which encourage companies and other regulated entities to voluntarily disclose and correct violations.

Under the Audit Policy and the Small Business Compliance Policy businesses that meet certain conditions are eligible for penalty reductions, waivers and other benefits. However both policies prohibit benefits to companies for certain violations, such as those that may result in serious harm or risk, those that reflect repeated noncompliance, or those in which corporate officials condone criminal behavior.
In addition, the policies allow EPA to recover economic benefits from violating companies to ensure that complying businesses are not put at a competitive disadvantage by those not complying.
The key revisions to the Audit Policy include: 21 days instead of 10 to disclose a violation after it's discovered; and clarification that a facility may qualify for Audit Policy credit even if another facility owned or operated by the same parent organization is already the subject of an inspection, investigation or information request.
The Small Business Policy, available for companies with 100 or fewer employees, reduces or waives penalties for small businesses that disclose and make good faith efforts to correct violations, provided they meet the criteria in the policy.
Key revisions lengthen the amount of time from 10 to 21 days that entities have to disclose a violation after discovery and expand the number of ways that the violations can be discovered.
Both revised policies are effective May 11 and will be available at http://www.epa.gov/oeca. Materials related to the evaluation and revisions are available at EPA's Enforcement and Compliance Docket and Information Center.

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