Tag Archives: J. Tom Boer

Senate Confirms Susan Parker Bodine as New Head of EPA’s Enforcement and Compliance Office

On Thursday, the Senate confirmed Susan Parker Bodine as the Assistant Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance (“OECA”).  OECA, the chief enforcement arm of EPA, coordinates the agency’s enforcement of numerous federal environmental laws within its authority. This is the second leadership role at EPA for Bodine, who brings … Continue Reading

California’s State Water Board Unleashes New Supplemental Environmental Project Policy for Public Comment

The regulated community in California may soon have additional reasons to implement supplemental environmental projects (SEPs) when settling an administrative environmental enforcement action. Under a 2009 State Water Resources Control Board (Water Board) policy, settling parties may voluntarily undertake an environmentally beneficial project in return for an offset of a portion of any civil penalty, … Continue Reading

Vapor Intrusion: Acute Exposure Regulatory Developments and Litigation Trends

Over the last decade, regulators have accelerated their focus on vapor intrusion risk at hazardous cleanup sites. This has led to new cleanup standards, policies and guidance to evaluate potential risks, environmental investigation requirements for brownfield redevelopments, and the reopening of previously closed remedial actions. Recently, attention has turned from chronic to acute vapor intrusion … Continue Reading

DOJ Directive May Squeeze the Life Out of Supplemental Environmental Projects

A new policy directive issued earlier this week by the Department of Justice (Justice) has raised concern among regulated industry that the availability of Supplemental Environmental Projects (SEPs) in civil settlements could be severely reduced, or even largely eliminated. If the directive is applied to restrict the availability of SEPs, it would remove a useful, and at times powerful, tool routinely used by the regulated community to negotiate acceptable settlement agreements in civil enforcement actions. It could also eliminate tens of millions of dollars of annual funding of such projects—which typically benefit local communities or address niche environmental issues—currently provided through the use of SEPs in consent decrees. Because applicable policies preclude Justice from requiring parties to include SEPs in settlements, it is difficult to identify any upside in any potential narrowing or elimination of SEPs as an optional tool to assist in the resolution of civil environmental enforcement actions.… Continue Reading

California Turns Up The Heat

Since President Trump’s election, his Administration has emphasized cooperative federalism and has opened the door for more state responsibility. California is walking through that door, and has positioned itself, according to its elected officials, at the vanguard of the so-called “resistance” to the Administration and its policies, real and perceived. This is particularly clear on environmental, energy, and natural resource matters. Last week illustrates the growing divide between California and the federal government in these areas.… Continue Reading

President Trump’s Budget Proposal Would Curb EPA’s Environmental Enforcement Spending by 20 Percent, But Major Enforcement Priorities Would Continue

The White House Office of Management and Budget released on Tuesday the Trump administration’s first full budget proposal for the 2018 fiscal year (starting in October 2017). The comprehensive proposal provides detail about the administration’s policy priorities. If the budget is adopted by Congress as written, the Environmental Protection Agency would face its greatest budget cuts ever. These cuts would broadly impact federal environmental efforts, including the enforcement of federal environmental laws.… Continue Reading

Susan Parker Bodine Nominated to Head EPA’s National Enforcement Office

President Trump recently nominated Susan Parker Bodine to lead the Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance (“OECA”). OECA is responsible for coordinating the enforcement of federal environmental laws under EPA’s authority. OECA acts through a combination of compliance assistance, administrative enforcement and, in partnership with the US Department of Justice, civil and criminal enforcement.… Continue Reading

Environmental Enforcement Efforts Continue Amid Regulatory Rollbacks

The latest news is full of stories of federal agencies reviewing and, in some cases, rescinding environmental regulations and cutting agency spending. From these reports, it could seem the federal government might also cut back its enforcement of environmental laws. But in fact, even in this turbulent regulatory and fiscal appropriations landscape, enforcement–particularly criminal enforcement–of core existing environmental laws is one aspect of environmental regulation that is sure to continue.… Continue Reading

US Chemical Safety Board Faces the Chopping Block

The fiscal year 2018 budget blueprint released by the Trump administration on March 16, 2017, proposes to zero out funding for the Chemical Safety Board (CSB or the Board). Elimination of CSB funding would reduce federal government expenditures by approximately $12 million annually.… Continue Reading

EPA Releases Fiscal Year 2016 Enforcement Statistics Showing Continued Focus on High-Profile, Complex Cases Due to Decreasing Agency Resources

On Monday, December 19, the US Environmental Protection Agency released its enforcement and compliance annual results for fiscal year 2016 (FY 2016). The report compiles environmental enforcement statistics for the final year of the Obama administration and shows the continuation of an enforcement trend focusing on high-impact, high-value cases intended by the administration to deliver significant environmental and public health results and drive compliance across regulated industry. The wildcard in drawing conclusions from this year’s report, however, is how the terrain will change with the arrival of the Trump administration in early 2017. … Continue Reading

Environmental Enforcement Through an Administration Transition

As the presidential transition draws nearer, many have asked what the change in administration will mean for the enforcement of our nation’s environmental laws. The Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Interior, Army Corps of Engineers, US Coast Guard and other agencies are all tasked with enforcement responsibilities under the major federal environmental statutes. The future of environmental enforcement under the incoming Trump administration thus depends on the future of each of these agencies.… Continue Reading
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