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Policies, Guidance and Other Resources

Listed below are several important resources for more information on the Audit Policy.

Policies and Guidance

Incentives for Self-Policing: Discovery, Disclosure, Correction, and Prevention of Violations is the official April 11, 2000, policy, commonly referred to as U.S. EPA's "Audit Policy" or the "Self-Disclosure Policy."

Revised Policy on Compliance Incentives for Small Businesses. Effective 5/11/00, this policy sets forth enforcement and compliance procedures specific to small businesses (thus its common name of "Small Business Policy").

Interim Approach to Applying the Audit Policy to New Owners Effective 8/1/2008, this Interim Approach describes tailored Audit Policy incentives for new owners that want to make a “clean start” at their recently acquired facilities by addressing environmental noncompliance that began prior to acquisition. A summary of the approach is also available on-line.

Audit Policy Interpretive Guidance (January 1997) This guidance was developed to answer frequently asked questions regarding the implementation of the original Audit Policy issued in 1995.

Audit Policy: Frequently Asked Questions 2007 This document describes the differences between the original Audit Policy issued in 1995 and the 2000 Policy and is intended to supplement the 1997 Interpretive Guidance.


Audit Policy Update Newsletters, published between 1996-2001 by EPA's Office of Regulatory Enforcement, Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance provides information on the changes to the Audit Policy and other information relating to its use.

Enforcement Alert is a newsletter published by EPA's Office of Civil Enforcement, Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. It is intended to inform and educate the public and the regulated community about important environmental enforcement issues, recent trends, and significant enforcement actions. It calls attention to areas where a business may want to consider conducting a voluntary audit.

Sample Documents

Sample status report Some companies have used this report to provide information to EPA during the course of conducting a comprehensive corporate-wide audit. The initial report, and subsequent periodic progress reports, have helped identify issues early in the auditing process and assisted in the overall progress of the audit.

Sample Disclosure Follow-up Letter This is an example of what the Agency sends a company after receiving a self disclosure pursuant to EPA's Audit Policy. The letter provides companies with clear guidance on the kind of information needed by EPA to better understand the potential violations and determine whether a company's disclosure meets the conditions of the Audit Policy.


Memorandum on the Confidentiality of Information Received Under Agency's Self-Disclosure Policy This memorandum sets out the policy of EPA's Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance with respect to the confidentiality of self-disclosures received by EPA under EPA's Audit Policy.

Memorandum--Subject: Implementation of the Environmental Protection Agency's Self- Policing Policy for Disclosures Involving Potential Criminal Violations - In an effort to ensure the integrity and meaningful application of the Audit Policy between EPA and those entities making disclosures involving potential criminal violations, this guidance clarifies the conditions that are expected to be met by a disclosing entity before the Agency will make a recommendation against criminal prosecution of the disclosing entity. This guidance assumes a working knowledge of both the Audit Policy and the supplemental Agency guidance issued in keeping with that policy, and should be read and considered with these in mind.

Memorandum--Subject: Reduced Penalties for Disclosures of Certain Clean Air Act Violations - Certain Clean Air Act (CAA) violations discovered, disclosed and corrected by a company prior to issuance of a Title V permit are potentially eligible for penalty mitigation under the "Audit Policy". EPA may reduce penalties pursuant to its Audit Policy where a company (a) reviews its prior decision regarding the application of New Source Review (NSR) and Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) requirements (e.g., a determination that NSR permit requirements did not apply) that was made in good faith and (b) discloses to EPA a violation discovered through such a review and agrees to correct it prior to Title V permit issuance, and (c) otherwise meets conditions 3 through 9 of the Audit Policy. 

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