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Enforcement Strategy for RCRA Corrective Action

The cleanup enforcement program supports the RCRA Corrective Action program in achieving its mission of maintaining healthy and sustainable communities where people and the environment are protected from hazardous contamination by working with the EPA’s regional offices, states, and tribal partners to use compliance and enforcement tools as appropriate.

On September 1, 2020, the EPA announced its new vision, mission, and goals for the RCRA corrective action program beyond 2020. The program’s beyond 2020 mission is for the EPA, states, and tribal partners to work together to ensure that owners and operators of hazardous waste treatment, storage, and disposal facilities conduct effective and efficient cleanups to protect human health and the environment, support continued use, and make land ready for reuse including, if necessary, placement of controls to protect communities into the future. More information is available on the Agency’s RCRA Corrective Action Program Vision/Mission/Goals for 2030 webpage.

Enforcement’s Role in Achieving RCRA’s Vision, Mission, and Goals

The Agency’s corrective action program is driven by aspirational goals, announced in May 2004, that were focused on meeting certain cleanup measures by the year 2020. In 2010, the EPA’s enforcement program, in collaboration with its state partners, developed the National Enforcement Strategy for Corrective Action (NESCA) to help achieve the Agency’s 2020 corrective action goals. The enforcement strategy’s five components included:

  1. Strategically use enforcement to move facilities along the remediation process by prioritizing certain types of facilities for corrective action enforcement;
  2. Engage in robust communication and coordination with states;
  3. Provide ongoing support to the EPA Regions and states to address special considerations that arise in the enforcement context;
  4. Provide training and other desired support to regulators; and
  5. Develop improved ways to measure both federal and state enforcement accomplishments in corrective action.

In 2012, the EPA issued the Assessment of the National Enforcement Strategy for RCRA Corrective Action and  identified three next steps for implementing the strategy: 1) increase the emphasis on communication and coordination within the EPA and with state partners; 2) explore opportunities for compliance monitoring; and 3) increase the state role in corrective action compliance monitoring and enforcement.

Since the 2010 enforcement strategy was issued, the EPA has issued over 100 corrective action enforcement orders under RCRA §§ 3008(a), 3008(h), 3013, and 7003 authorities. States also issued enforcement orders under their authorities to help meet corrective action objectives.

More information on the 2020 RCRA Corrective Action program goals is available on the EPA’s RCRA Corrective Action Sites Across the Country webpage.

Learn More: RCRA Corrective Action enforcement authorities.

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