BLR News


EPA Budget Woes Mean More High-Profile Compliance Enforcement Actions

Old Saybrook, CT – January 18, 2005 Which reality is the correct one concerning the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) enforcement activities: Is it the perception, frequently seen exhibited in the general press, that EPA is a toothless tiger? Or is it what many businesses believe, that the agency responsible for protecting the nation’s environment is breathing down their necks, looking for the smallest compliance oversight?

Steve Quilliam, editor at – Making State Environmental Compliance Easier, says, “The truth is that the EPA is very interested in enforcement, particularly in storm water runoff, and in air and water pollution.” Quilliam notes, “the EPA is looking for high-profile cases that give its enforcement activities the greatest bang for the buck. Companies with hazardous waste issues should prepare now, before an inspector arrives.” The Agency’s enforcement strategy comes as budgets for programs like Superfund have been cut, and the Bush administration has made other moves unpopular with environmental groups. reports that EPA enforcement statistics for FY 2004 show a very busy Agency. It conducted 21,000 inspections during the year, up 11% over FY 2003. Those inspections resulted in dramatically more penalties, with 2,248 civil administrative penalty actions finalized — a whopping 32% increase. Criminal charges, certainly the worst nightmare for corporate environmental executives, also jumped: 293 criminal defendants were charged with environmental crimes during the year, 46 more than in FY 2003.

State Environmental Compliance an Issue

Quilliam points out that the federal EPA is not the only agency enforcing environmental laws. “Most states have their own complicated environmental regulations for business to comply with.” Fortunately, Business & Legal Reports, Inc.’s plain-English website,, features plain-English interpretations of all federal and state regulations. Arranged by topic and including hundreds of tools like checklists and inspection forms, the website simplifies the job of complying with complex regulations. offers a free download of its informative White Paper, “Regulatory Analysis – Inspections,” with detailed advice on how to prepare for an EPA inspection. To get this download go to , or call 800-727-5257.

Old Saybrook, Conn.-based BLR provides plain-English compliance and training tools for environmental, safety, HR, and compensation managers. For information and a free catalog, call 800-727-5257 or visit

BLR Editor: Steve Quilliam