EPA Unveils Pilot Program for Companies to Self-Report Violations Electronically
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ("EPA") has unveiled a pilot program for electronic disclosure ("eDisclosure") of known environmental violations. The pilot program will allow companies nationwide to electronically self-report violations under the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act ("EPCRA"). Electronic self-reporting of major EPCRA elements include: Emergency Notification (section 304) and CERCLA section 103 (only if an Emergency Notification violation is disclosed), Material Safety Data Sheets (section 311), Emergency and Hazardous Chemical Inventory Forms (section 312), and Toxic Chemical Release Forms (section 313). Under EPA's Audit Policy, EPA may waive certain civil penalties where a regulated facility voluntarily reports a violation. All regulated entities interested in utilizing the pilot program should register with EPA's Central Data Exchange.
Depending on the success of the pilot program, the eDisclosure program could expand, allowing regulated entities to electronically self-disclose violations of other federally enforceable environmental requirements in exchange for possible incentives under the Audit Policy.