EPA Offers Web-Based System for Self-Disclosing Environmental Violations

The federal agency recently unveiled a pilot project that allows regulated facilities to self-disclose environmental violations in a secure environment on EPA's Web site under the agency's audit policy.

This electronic self-disclosure system, or eDisclosure, should reduce transaction costs for companies by ensuring that each disclosure contains complete information.

Under the pilot, regulated facilities nationwide will be able to use eDisclosure to disclose violations of the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (for example, failure to submit toxic chemical release forms to EPA's Toxic Release Inventory). Regulated facilities located in Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas will be able to disclose violations of all environmental laws. Based on the results of the pilot, EPA will consider expanding eDisclosure to other states in the near future.

EPA's audit policy provides incentives to companies that voluntarily discover, promptly disclose and correct and prevent future environmental violations. EPA may reduce or waive penalties for violations if the facility meets the conditions of the policy. EPA will not waive or reduce penalties for repeat violations, or violations that resulted in serious actual harm.

Since 1995, more than 3,500 companies have disclosed and resolved violations at nearly 10,000 facilities under the audit policy.

For more information on eDisclosure, visit http://www.epa.gov/compliance/incentives/auditing/edisclosure.html.

For more information on EPA's audit policy, go to http://www.epa.gov/compliance/incentives/auditing/index.html.

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