On March 26, the EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance issued a memo – effective retroactively to March 13 – outlining the steps industries could take to gain exemption from compliance with their environmental and public health obligations. The memo states that EPA will focus primarily on situations where there is “an acute risk or an imminent threat to human health or the environment.” A regulated entity would have to declare that it was not “reasonably practicable” to comply and that this was due to the Covid-19 virus. The memo states that “[a]uthorized states or tribes may take a different approach under their own authorities.” New Mexico is one of three states that is not “authorized” to enforce compliance; this would be done by the EPA Region 6 office in Dallas in consolation with the state. The Law Center is evaluating how this could affect our work and our client’s health and safety.
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