New York’s Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) recently proposed an environmental “audit incentive” policy, which is similar to the United States’ Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) long standing self-audit policy. In its draft policy, DEC encourages participation by waiving or reducing penalties for environmental violations that regulated entities discover through an environmental audit, and expeditiously report and correct. Ironically, as New York moves forward with a policy designed to enhance compliance in a world where government resources are constrained, EPA has signaled that it is seeking to reduce its own program to meet budget pressures. EPA’s policy provides significant value to participants, and has been a successful means to encourage compliance. New York’s policy should do the same by providing a valuable tool for companies that voluntarily seek to achieve compliance and reduce penalty exposure. When finalized, the policy’s broader qualification standards for newly-acquired operations should be especially useful when companies acquire operations with existing compliance issues.

The GT AlertOne Step Forward, One Step Back – NY Moves Forward on Its Environmental Self-Audit Policy as EPA Looks to Retreat was prepared by Steven C. Russo and Adam B. Silverman.

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