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Appropriate Injunctive Relief in Civil Enforcement Settlements

Consistent with Administrator Regan’s direction to strengthen enforcement of violations of environmental statutes in communities overburdened by pollution, on April 26, 2021, Larry Starfield, Acting Assistant Administrator for the Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assistance (OECA) issued a memorandum to enforcement staff entitled Using All Appropriate Injunctive Relief Tools in Civil Enforcement Settlements. The memo charges enforcement case teams to appropriately use the full array of policy and legal tools available in resolving enforcement actions to ensure that environmental laws – and the policies to implement them – deliver benefits to all individuals and communities. Examples of tools to consider in settlements include advanced monitoring devices (e.g. fence-line monitoring for pollutants), third-party verification and increased transparency of enforcement data. Case teams should also consider settlement provisions for mitigating past harm caused by noncompliance.

The April 2021 memorandum supersedes two prior memoranda on this topic (2015 and 2018) but draws on many of the concepts and examples under former Assistant Administrator for OECA Cynthia Giles’ 2015 memorandum on Next Generation Compliance.

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