The EPA Audit Policy, "Incentives for Self-Policing: Discovery, Disclosure, Correction and Prevention of Violations," has been in effect since 1995. It reflects input from industry, trade associations, state environmental programs, and public interest groups. The Audit Policy is designed to provide incentives for regulated entities to come into compliance with the federal environmental Laws & Regulations. These incentives are for regulated entities that voluntarily discover, promptly disclose and expeditiously correct noncompliance, making formal EPA investigations and enforcement actions unnecessary.
In addition, EPA has developed a series of Environmental Auditing Protocols to assist the regulated community in developing self-audit programs at individual facilities for evaluating their compliance with the environmental requirements under the federal Laws & Regulations. The protocols are intended solely as guidance in this effort. The regulated community's legal obligations are determined by the terms of applicable environmental facility-specific permits and underlying statutes, as well as the applicable state and local laws.
EPA's Audit Policy: Tailored Incentives for New Owners -- On August 1, 2008, EPA published in the Federal Register (FR) its “Interim Approach to Applying the Audit Policy to New Owners (“Interim Approach),” which describes Audit Policy incentives tailored for new owners that want to make a “clean start” at their recently acquired facilities by addressing environmental noncompliance that began prior to acquisition.
The Interim Approach, which was effective upon publication of the FR, is designed to motivate new owners to audit their facilities and to encourage self-disclosures of violations that will, once corrected, yield significant pollutant reductions and benefits to the environment. EPA is concurrently seeking public comment on the Interim Approach for a period of 90 days.
eDisclosure -- EPA's Electronic Audit Policy Self-Disclosure System -- As of July 1, 2013, EPA decommissioned its web-based system which allowed companies to electronically self-disclose certain violations under EPA’s Audit Policy. Although eDisclosure is being taken off-line, entities can make still make disclosures. For instructions on how to submit disclosures, please see: “How Do I Make a Voluntary Disclosure Under EPA’s Audit Policy?”