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New EPA Guidance Encourages the Use of Environmental Management Systems in Enforcement Cases

Release Date: 06/13/2003
Contact Information:

John Millet, 202 564-7842

(06/13/03) To encourage the widespread use of Environmental Management Systems (EMSs), EPA today announced a new guidance to promote their use in compliance assurance and enforcement programs. An EMS is a continual cycle of planning, implementing, reviewing, and improving the processes and actions that an organization undertakes to meet its business and environmental goals. The guidance will increase the use of EMSs in civil settlements and also explains how they will be used to address the root causes of violations and the risks they pose to communities and ecosystems. In addition, EPA is working with the U.S. Department of Justice to seek EMSs in appropriate criminal plea agreements to achieve beneficial outcomes for the environment. EPA also has issued a memorandum, Expanding the Use of Supplemental Environmental Projects (SEPs), to encourage and expand their use in enforcement settlements and in community involvement. The EMS guidance is an extension of EPA’s May 2002 Position Statement on EMSs, in which the agency committed to promote EMS use and emphasize the adoption of EMSs to achieve improved environmental performance and compliance and pollution prevention through source reduction. Issued by EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance, the Guidance on Use of EMSs in Settlements as Injunctive Relief and Supplemental Environmental Projects (SEPs), will be available at: beginning June 13. For additional information on EMSs, go to: