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Enforcement

National Compliance Initiatives

The EPA focuses its enforcement and compliance resources on the most serious environmental violations by developing and implementing national program priorities, previously called National Enforcement Initiatives (NEIs). As part of the EPA’s ongoing efforts to increase the environmental law compliance rate and reduce the average time from violation identification to correction, the EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance (OECA) has adjusted and renamed the NEI program. The improved program is named the National Compliance Initiatives (NCI) program, a name that better conveys the overarching goal of increased compliance and the use of not only enforcement actions, but the full range of compliance assurance tools. The NCIs are in addition to the EPA’s core enforcement work, including protecting clean and safe water, reducing air pollution, and protecting safe and healthy land.

The EPA has selected the six NCIs listed below for the FY 2020-2023 cycle for the enforcement and compliance assurance program. The enforcement and compliance assurance program also will be contributing to the Agency’s goal of reducing childhood lead exposures and associated health impacts as part of implementing the President’s Task Force on Environmental Health Risks and Safety Risks to Children Lead Action Plan.

The selection of these six NCIs is the culmination of a process that began with a memorandum from the Assistant Administrator for OECA on August 21, 2018, which announced the transition of the NEIs to NCIs.

These six NCIs advance the Agency’s Strategic Plan objectives to improve air quality, provide for clean and safe water, ensure chemical safety, and improve compliance with our nation’s environmental laws—all while enhancing shared accountability between the EPA and states and federally-recognized Indian tribes with authorized environmental programs. The EPA conducted outreach on these NCIs to states and tribes and solicited public input through a Federal Register notice.

OECA headquarters and the regional enforcement and compliance assurance divisions will be developing implementation frameworks for each NCI and working with states and tribes with authorized programs that want to participate. These implementation frameworks will include approaches using our full range of compliance assurance tools, including compliance assistance, self-audits, and informal and formal enforcement actions to achieve the goals of each NCI. While compliance assistance will be a component of each implementation framework, formal enforcement will remain an important tool in the NCIs to address serious noncompliance and create general deterrence.

Air

Hazardous Chemicals

Water

​The following five NCIs from the FY 2017-2019 cycle have been modified or returned to the EPA’s core enforcement program: