EPA Administrator Details Design of Reorganized Enforcement Office

[EPA press release - October 13, 1993]

EPA Administrator Carol M. Browner today announced a reorganization of the Agency's enforcement arm that will toughen enforcement and promote innovative approaches to cleaning up the nation's air, water and soil.

Newly renamed the "Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance," the office will help companies obey environmental laws -- and take strong action against those that do not.

"The new structure will enable us to work with industry to find innovative and flexible approaches to environmental protection and compliance," Browner said. "But the new structure will also empower us to take strong enforcement action against those who violate the law."

Under President Reagan, EPA Administrator Anne Burford fragmented the Agency's enforcement function into five parts. Browner's action reconsolidates the enforcement effort. The Agency will now target companies, industries, and geographic areas as a whole.

"The American public knows that air pollution, water pollution, and contamination of our soil often are linked," Browner said. "The new structure will allow us to solve problems with a common-sense approach, not just piece by piece."

The new framework reorients the Agency's enforcement program to reduce pollution within various sectors of the economy, such as energy, transportation, agriculture, etc. The Agency will work with targeted industries to bring them into compliance with all environmental laws. The office also will closely measure compliance and enforcement results.

The new Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance will include six major components:

  • The Office of Compliance will lead strategic planning, inspection targeting, data management and integration, compliance monitoring, and compliance assistance. The Agency will target communities and geographic areas that are especially at risk.

  • The Office of Regulatory Enforcement will be responsible for single and multimedia cases.

  • The Office of Site Remediation will house remedial enforcement programs, including those that cover Superfund, Oil Pollution Act cleanup activities, programs that deal with leaking underground storage tanks, and corrective action under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act and also Federal Facilities enforcement.

  • The Office of Criminal Enforcement, the Office of Federal Activities and the National Enforcement Investigations Center will retain their current forms.

  • Assistant Administrator Steven A. Herman's office will include two deputy assistant administrators; an administrative support office; and an Office of Enforcement Capacity, which will house the National Enforcement Training Institute and carry out environmental justice coordination, and national accomplishment reporting.

Full implementation of today's plan is expected to occur in approximately 90 to 120 days.

Browner announced her intention to reorganize EPA's enforcement functions in July. At that time, she appointed an Enforcement Reorganization Task Force, comprising EPA employees from headquarters and regional offices.

Strategic Enforcement Model Fact Sheet

The reorganization plan will mean greater consistency, accountability, and strategic planning for EPA enforcement:

  • The reorganization consolidates under one Assistant Administrator responsibilities now shared by 5 different programs. That will mean more consistent enforcement, more effective strategic planning, and better accountability for results. The new organization streamlines management through an office structure that reflects key enforcement functions, reducing the number of offices that regions and states must deal with on key issues.

The reorganization plan will promote integrated, multi-media approaches to compliance and enforcement:

  • Many commenters from Congress, states, industry, and environmental groups urged EPA to take advantage of the reorganization to strengthen its capacity for multi-media enforcement. The new Office of Compliance includes three divisions organized by economic sector to facilitate multi-media compliance strategies for specific industries. The Office includes an environmental targeting division to identify opportunities to protect sensitive ecosystems, and minority and disadvantaged populations. The new Office of Regulatory Enforcement includes a multi-media division for cases that involve violation of more than one law.

The reorganization preserves single-media program expertise:

  • The reorganization plan will preserve critical program expertise. For example, the Office of Regulatory Enforcement is organized primarily by single-media divisions to ensure the development of policies and legal support for the enforcement of statutory requirements. The Office of Site Remediation will be responsible for the enforcement of Superfund requirements. Finally, the Sector Divisions in the Office of Compliance will be subdivided into media branches to ensure program continuity.

The reorganization plan is sensitive to employee concerns:

  • The reorganization plan takes into account several months of deliberations by an internal EPA task force representing managers and staff from EPA programs and regions. Special care has been taken to reduce the impact of reorganization on EPA employees.

  • For example, the Sector Divisions are designed to minimize disruption to existing programs. The new offices will mix policy, technical and legal staff. Finally, the Office of Enforcement will work closely with staff to address concerns raised during transition.