EPA Sets August 31, 2020 Termination Date for COVID-19 Enforcement Policy

COVID-19 Update

Date: July 01, 2020

On June 29, 2020, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced an August 31, 2020 termination date for its March 26, 2020 policy, COVID-19 Implications for EPA’s Enforcement and Compliance Assurance Program (Policy), although EPA cautioned that the Policy may be terminated earlier in some areas of the country upon seven days’ written notice based on case-by-case circumstances. States with similar enforcement discretion policies will likely follow EPA’s lead and wind down their own COVID-19 discretionary enforcement policies in a similar time frame. EPA did not announce a termination date yet for its related enforcement policy for remediation obligations, Interim Guidance on Site Field Work Decisions Due to Impacts of COVID-19.

EPA’s Policy remains under attack by a number of states and environmental and public interest groups with various actions pending. While the termination date may defuse these actions, they are likely to continue as the viability of the Policy between March 26-August 31, 2020 may still become an issue, and many of the plaintiffs are seeking disclosure and tracking of notifications made pursuant to the Policy. EPA’s June 29 memorandum notes that the agency retains its authority to evaluate noncompliance matters on a case-by-case basis, whether or not that noncompliance is COVID-19-related, and believes that situations where compliance is “not reasonably practicable” under the Policy should become less common.

View EPA’s complete June 29 memorandum on the addendum and further updates to its frequently asked questions here:


Thompson Hine’s Environmental practice is continuing to monitor state agency enforcement policies and is prepared to answer your questions on environmental enforcement across the country. For more information, please contact:

Devin A. Barry

Heidi B. (Goldstein) Friedman

Jean-Luc Kreitner

or any member of our Environmental practice group.

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