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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. 

In addition to this webpage, a report capturing the EPA OIG’s COVID-19 pandemic work is available.

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.

Reports and Recently Announced Projects

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Report: EPA Has Sufficiently Managed Emergency Responses During the Pandemic but Needs to Procure More Supplies and Clarify Guidance

Report #20-E-0332, September 28, 2020. OSCs may not be safe deploying during the COVID-19 pandemic without sufficient personal protective equipment and clear guidance.

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: Impacts of the Coronavirus Pandemic on State and Local Air Compliance Monitoring Activities

Project #OE-FY21-0065, December 14, 2020. The OIG plans to assess how COVID-19 impacts air compliance monitoring by EPA state and local agencies to confirm that facilities that emit air pollution comply with the Clean Air Act and federal air regulations.

Notification: Survey of EPA On-Scene Coordinators and Managers Regarding COVID-19

Project #OA&E-FY20-0240, June 15, 2020. The OIG plans to begin an evaluation to examine the EPA's protection of human health and the environment and EPA on-scene coordinators at emergency responses during the coronavirus pandemic caused by COVID 19.

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.

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.