IG finds that EPA should do better job of monitoring consent decrees

The Office of Inspector General for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says that the federal regulator has sometimes failed to ensure that facilities covered under consent decrees were complying with certain key terms.

Further, consent decree terms were not always incorporated into facilities’ permit as required by the consent decree, the IG’s office said in a report released Sept. 10.

“The seven EPA regions we interviewed have not implemented automated systems for tracking compliance,” according to the report. Also EPA guidance does not establish clear requirements on how regional staff should monitor these legal agreements.

“Thus, violations of the approved emission limits could go undetected since Louisiana and West Virginia permitting and enforcement staff were not aware of the requirements of the [consent decrees] we reviewed,” according to the IG’s office.

“We made six recommendations ranging from updating and reissuing guidance for regional monitoring of CDs and termination procedures to requiring the use of a monitoring system to track CD compliance. The agency agreed with three of the six recommendations, which are resolved. The agency partially agreed or disagreed with the remaining recommendations, which are unresolved,” according to the IG.

About Wayne Barber 4201 Articles
Wayne Barber, Chief Analyst for the GenerationHub, has been covering power generation, energy and natural resources issues at national publications for more than 20 years. Prior to joining PennWell he was editor of Generation Markets Week at SNL Financial for nine years. He has also worked as a business journalist at both McGraw-Hill and Financial Times Energy. Wayne also worked as a newspaper reporter for several years. During his career has visited nuclear reactors and coal mines as well as coal and natural gas power plants. Wayne can be reached at wayneb@pennwell.com.