EPA Adopts Revisions to Clean Air Act General Duty Clause Enforcement Policy – Factors Considered in Assessment of Civil Penalties
On June 20, 2012, the EPA adopted a revised Combined Enforcement Policy (the "Policy") that is used to determine penalties for violations of Section 112(r) of the Clean Air Act ("CAA"), known as the General Duty Clause ("GDC"). The GDC requires all owners and operators of "stationary sources" to prevent accidental releases of listed hazardous substances, including to:
- Identify potential hazards;
- Design and maintain a safe facility; and
- Minimize the consequences any accidental release that occurs.
Despite imposing these mandates, the EPA has not adopted a clear set of regulatory standards for affected facilities to follow, which may leave many entities uncertain or unaware of their GDC-related compliance obligations.