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Office of Inspector General

EPA OIG's Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic

official CDC Coronavirus bannerThe U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Office of Inspector General is meeting the new challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic by initiating audits, evaluations and investigations related to the pandemic's impact on the EPA's and CSB's missions, and its impact on public health and the environment at the core of those missions. We have started examining and identifying how the pandemic has affected Agency programs and operations, from such concerns as water infrastructure worries to air quality enforcement to misconduct or criminal activity. We will work with our oversight partners, including other Federal OIGs, the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee under the Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency (CIGIE), and GAO, to coordinate our work and address matters of interagency or cross-jurisdictional concern.

Our office recognizes that we are facing unprecedented times and reinforce our commitment to conferring with congressional and Agency leadership; issuing reports; and investigating waste, fraud, and abuse. 

Potential Audit or Evaluation Topics

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  • Enforcement and regulatory waivers and flexibilities.
  • Fraud schemes taking advantage of crisis by marketing unsafe and non-EPA-approved products to the public.
  • Agency staffing shortfalls implicating oversight of critical environmental and  public health programs.
  • Agency return to work and employee health and safety upon re-entry.
  • Maintaining strong cyber and IT protections while workforce teleworking.

Recently Announced Projects

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Notification: EPA's Oversight of Tribal Drinking Water Systems

Project #OA&E-FY20-0044, May 29, 2020. The OIG plans to begin an evaluation of EPA's oversight of tribal drinking water systems. This evaluation is being expanded to include the EPA's response to COVID-19.

Notification: EPA's Initial Implementation of CARES Act Section 3610

Project #OA&E-FY20-0220, May 27, 2020. The OIG plans to begin a project related to the EPA's reimbursement of paid leave under the CARES Act. This project is part of the OIG's efforts to examine the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on EPA operations.

Notification: Evaluation of the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board's compliance with the Federal Information Security Modernization Act of 2014

Project #OA&E-FY20-0034, May 14, 2020. The OIG plans to assess the CSB's compliance with the U.S. DHS FY2020 IG FISMA Reporting Metrics. This evaluation may be impacted with any concerns about security of the agency’s network during the COVID-19 disease.

Notification: Research for Future Audits and Evaluations Regarding Effects of Coronavirus Pandemic (SARS-CoV-2 Virus and COVID-19 Disease) on EPA Programs and Operations

Project #OA&E-FY20-0212, May 7, 2020. The OIG plans to initiate a project to research and identify topics for potential audits and evaluations related to the EPA's response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Notification: Evaluation of EPA's Information Systems' Compliance with Federal System Security Plans Requirements (2nd notification)

Project #OA&E-FY20-0176, May 6, 2020. One objective of this audit is to evaluate elements within the System Security Plans to determine whether they provide details to allow the EPA to make decisions to secure its network during the COVID-19 pandemic.

View all project notification memorandums

Potential Investigation Targets

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We take seriously our obligation to investigate fraud related to the coronavirus pandemic—that is, the SARS-CoV-2 virus and resultant COVID-19 disease. We are particularly committed to investigating fraud schemes involving criminal activity or misconduct that impact the American people or thwart the EPA’s ability to fulfill its mission, as well as investigating conduct that relies on, takes advantage of, or exploits a weakness or vulnerability in an EPA program or operation.

Different Types of Investigations that the OIG May Undertake

  • Fraud schemes relating to the EPA’s programs and operations.
  • Fraudulent claims for money that should be spent to advance an EPA program. 
  • Improper avoidance of obligations to pay as required by an EPA program.
  • Misrepresentations of the EPA’s endorsement of products by fraudulently applying the Agency seal, identifier, or product registration numbers to product labels or advertisements.
  • Cyberscams targeting EPA employees, as well as security threats to the EPA.

What is the EPA OIG?

The Office of Inspector General is an independent organization that performs audits and investigations of the EPA to detect and prevent fraud, waste and abuse. Learn more

OIG Independence of EPA

The EPA's Office of Inspector General is a part of the EPA, although Congress provides our funding separate from the agency, to ensure our independence. We were created pursuant to the Inspector General Act of 1978, as amended Exit.

Environmental Protection Agency  |  Office of Inspector General
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W. (2410T)  |  Washington, DC 20460  |  (202) 566-2391
OIG Hotline: 1-888-546-8740.