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EPA Updates Information Collection Policies

11/21/2018
Contact Information: 
EPA Press Office (press@epa.gov)

WASHINGTON  — The U.S. Environmental Protect Agency’s (EPA) Office of Water and Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance have each issued a memorandum clarifying the processes each office will use for collecting information from the regulated community. Through these updates, EPA has committed to engaging with the regulated community, working to reduce unnecessary burden, and ensuring that the agency’s own internal processes are clear and consistent. 

“EPA is changing the way we do business,” said EPA Office of Water Assistant Administrator David Ross. “One of my top priorities is to enhance the way we work with all of our stakeholders, including the regulated community, to generate more effective environmental management. The updates we are making today will help ensure that our internal processes support the exchange of information and the development of common sense and cost-effective regulations that protect our nation’s waters.”

“Information collection is an important tool to assist our efforts to improve compliance with environmental laws,” said EPA Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance Assistant Administrator Susan Bodine. “This memo captures best practices that will help us collect information consistently and efficiently, while providing recipients with clarity and reduced costs.” 

The Office of Water’s memorandum updates the process for requesting information under Section 308 of the Clean Water Act. The memorandum provides guidelines for narrowly defining the information the agency is requesting. It updates the senior management approval process for initiating the information collection request process. It also puts an emphasis on engaging with the regulated community early in the process so that information can be exchanged in a clear and concise way, with the goal of reducing the need for formal information request letters. 

The Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance memorandum focuses on the use of information requests for all compliance and enforcement related activities including Section 114 of the Clean Air Act and Section 3007 of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, as well as Section 308 of the Clean Water Act. It does not address information requests for developing regulations. The memo includes best practices on using the most efficient methods for obtaining information for compliance and enforcement, including gathering information informally; providing clarity to recipients on requests and the process to respond; and reducing transaction costs for both the recipients and the government. 

Through both memoranda, EPA is working to reduce the burdens the agency’s information collection request processes pose on the agency and the regulated community, while ensuring that the agency continues to receive the information it needs to protect public health and the environment.

To read the Clean Water Section 308 Letters memorandum and policy: https://www.epa.gov/eg/effluent-guidelines-data-collection-policies

To read the memorandum on Best Practices for Compliance and Enforcement-Related Information Requests:  https://www.epa.gov/enforcement/best-practices-compliance-and-enforcement-related-information-requests