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Federal and State Partnerships

In its enforcement programs and activities, EPA works closely with the states (e.g., in conducting inspections, in joint development of cases, etc.) which have been authorized by EPA to carry out the federal programs. To be " authorized," a state must have enforcement programs and statutes that are essentially as stringent as the federal programs. Authorized states bear the lion's share of responsibility for implementing federal programs. EPA also receives assistance in its enforcement activities from the tribal governments as well as other federal agencies. More detailed information about the state and tribal partnerships in enforcement is given below.

States play a crucial role in enforcing the nation's environmental laws. Although there are some programs for which states cannot receive authorization (e.g., the Oil Pollution Act program under Section 311 of the Clean Water Act), states can apply for and receive authorization to administer most environmental programs. As most states have approval to implement and enforce at least a portion of the environmental laws, it is critical that states and EPA work together to ensure effective enforcement. Strengthening this enforcement partnership through joint planning and priority setting and joint enforcement actions as appropriate is a high priority for EPA.

Information resources contains additional policies regarding relationships with states.

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