Environmental Protection

Agency Tests eDisclosure for Self Auditing

A pilot project is using the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Web site as the platform for regulated facilities to self-disclose environmental violations in a secure environment, according to an Aug. 7 press release.

The agency has an audit policy that 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 policy conditions. The agency will not waive or reduce penalties for repeat violations or violations that results in serious actual harm, however.

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.

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.

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