On April 10, 2014, USEPA released its 99-page Strategic Plan for Fiscal Year 2014 – 2018. As part of the Strategic Plan, USEPA set out its Mission is to protect human health and the environment. USEPA plans to accomplish its Mission by following five Strategic Goals. One of USEPA’s Strategic Goals is to protect human health and the environment “by enforcing laws and assuring compliance.”
While many in the regulated community suppose USEPA has vigorously enforced laws and doggedly assured compliance in the past, there are those in the regulated community who will receive heightened scrutiny under the Strategic Plan. By 2018 USEPA will conduct an annual review of the overall compliance status of 100 percent of the open consent decrees. USEPA’s pledge will elevate such reviews from 91 percent of open consent decrees achieved in Fiscal Year 2013 to 100 percent by 2018.
Apparently a 91 percent review rate is not a strong enough message to the regulated community in the view of USEPA. Regardless, those in the regulated community who are parties to consent decrees should expect in coming years intensified examination of whether they are complying with the terms of their consent decrees.
The Strategic Plan may be viewed at http://www2.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2014-04/documents/epa_strategic_plan_fy14-18.pdf.