What to do as Politicians Debate Relaxing Regulations?
Politicians in Washington and statehouses across the country are eager to get the economy rolling again. As part of the strategy coming out of Washington, this means relaxing many environmental regulations that are designed to protect both workers and the environment. There is a lot of confusion right now, and several states have already filed lawsuits, so it is advisable to move cautiously before making any operational changes that could result in fines or penalties.
EPA Addresses COVID-19 Implications
The EPA understands that noncompliance will become increasingly common as disruptions to supply chains and the financial resources required to upgrade to Tier 4 compliant equipment impact companies across the country. As such, the agency is relaxing enforcement efforts at this time. This is temporary and will continue for as long as the agency deems necessary. It is important to note that the relaxation does not apply to any activities related to Superfund or RCRA Corrective Actions.
It is important to note that businesses are still required to attempt, using all means available, to remain compliant with the regulations. If compliance is not possible, thorough documentation is required to confirm the reasons. This must include the specific type of noncompliance, the dates involved, and the reasons that COVID-19 was the cause of the entity’s noncompliance.
Requests for Delaying Tier 4 Regulations
The EPA is currently considering a proposal from The American Waterways Operators that would extend the amount of time certain boat operators have to comply with Tier 4 regulations. The proposal stems from problems within the global supply chain that are making it difficult for manufacturers to produce a sufficient number of engines for the fishing industry. The AWO is asking that the requirement for final implementation and compliance with Tier 4 be extended until 2022.
The Importance of Staying Compliant
For now, Tier 4 regulations remain in effect for all industries. There is the possibility this will change as the year progresses, but businesses should not count on this as part of their planning. Companies are currently required to operate in such a manner that will not harm the public, their employees, or the environment. The EPA is reserving the right to pursue retroactive penalties against bad actors who attempt to skirt the rules and save a buck during the pandemic.
Lawsuits against the government are mounting. In May, 17 states filed suits over the Trump administration’s rollback of Obama-era protections designed to protect waterways and wetlands. In mid-May, nine states filed lawsuits over the administration’s decision to relax other regulations governing polluting air and water emissions. These are battles that are just starting, and for now, companies should stay out of the firing line by striving to remain compliant with existing regulatory requirements.
Contact Gen-Tech Power Generation Specialists at (800) 65-8324 for more information about Tier 4 regulations and the equipment we offer that helps you remain compliant with state and federal environmental regulations.