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Fwd: WHITMAN AIMS TO BOOST UPFRONT COMPLIANCE, AVOID ENFORCEMENT



List members,

Thought you all would find this of interest. EPA played "gotcha" with some
of my clients and they resented it.

Warren

>
>WHITMAN AIMS TO BOOST UPFRONT COMPLIANCE, AVOID ENFORCEMENT
>                      _______________________________________________
>                                Date: June 15, 2001 -
>
>EPA Administrator Christine Todd Whitman has committed the agency to
>boosting its
>compliance assistance efforts to ensure companies are in line with
>environmental laws before
>enforcement actions are necessary, telling industry officials June 12, "I
>don't care what you're
>doing in your plant, I care what you're doing in the environment."
>
>Whitman also called on business leaders during a meeting of the National
>Association of
>Manufacturers to help educate the public about industry's compliance with
>rules, arguing that
>most companies make a good faith effort to comply with the law and are in
>fact good corporate
>citizens.
>
>Sources say Whitman also wants to move away from the Clinton-era practice
>of bringing
>"gotcha" enforcement actions, where the agency identifies an area of
>widespread
>noncompliance and then brings a massive, sector-wide enforcement action
>without ever offering
>to help facilities come into compliance.
>
>An EPA official explains that Whitman's basic philosophy on enforcement is
>that the agency
>should work cooperatively with industries to identify problematic areas in
>the nation's
>environmental laws or rules that companies are unaware of and help
>businesses come into
>compliance before the need for punitive enforcement actions are necessary.
>
>However, industry officials and Whitman say the changes in philosophy have
>yet to be
>implemented in the agency's enforcement program, due largely to a lack of
>political leadership
>at EPA's Office of Enforcement & Compliance Assurance (OECA) and in the
>regions, and that
>enforcement staff are "going on as if nothing has been changed."
>
>An EPA official says that Whitman hopes to build partnerships with industry
>and identify
>specific rules and requirements that have caused companies problems and
>work with officials to
>help facilities comply with the laws. Similarly, the source says that in
>many cases, the agency
>has done a poor job of publicizing rules or providing industry with
>adequate guidance on
>compliance with key regulations, and that Whitman will press OECA and the
>rest of the agency
>to better identify obscure regulations and highlight them so that industry
>has enough information
>to avoid noncompliance.
>
>Once political leadership is in place, Whitman will direct enforcement
>officials to "form those
>partnership and work with [industry] . . . instead of playing gotcha," the
>source explains.
>However, the source also warns "she will not hesitate to use the stick if
>that's necessary."
>
>During her speech Whitman also urged businesses to launch a public
>education campaign to
>convince citizens -- and inspectors and enforcement personnel -- that
>industry is generally in
>compliance with the rules and wants to be a good neighbor. By convincing
>the public that
>industry is not scheming to find ways to violate laws, it would be possible
>to better ensure that
>"inspections get done in a way that is more congenial."
>
>
>
>
>Source: Inside EPA via InsideEPA.com
>Date: June 15, 2001
>Issue: Vol. 22, No. 24
> Inside Washington Publishers
>