EPA recognizes Virginia DEQ for compliance, enforcement efforts
In the summer of 2020, as part of a nationwide state environmental agency review, EPA performed an audit of DEQ’s compliance and enforcement programs. The State Review Framework, a key mechanism for EPA oversight, provides a consistent process for reviewing performance of state-delegated compliance and enforcement programs under three core federal statutes: the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, and Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. EPA’s review included five key areas of review under each program: data, inspections, violations, enforcement and penalties.
Each year, DEQ performs thousands of inspections and executes approximately 150 enforcement actions across the state. When an entity is found to be violating environmental laws, DEQ’s enforcement pillars include consistent actions regardless of location or entity, a return to full compliance, and escalating actions for parties who remain out of compliance. DEQ works diligently to return violators to compliance quickly and efficiently so that further environmental harm can be avoided.
“DEQ’s fair and consistent approach to holding permit holders accountable, and enforcing our laws and regulations reflects Virginia’s commitment to clean air and water for all Virginians to enjoy,” Virginia Secretary of Natural Resources Matthew J. Strickler said. “DEQ continues to lead the Commonwealth with its mission to protect the abundant natural resources that make Virginia a beautiful place to visit, recreate and live.”
“These conclusive results of EPA’s review exemplify DEQ’s dedication and efforts to protect the environment through enforcement and compliance work,” said DEQ Director David Paylor. “I appreciate our federal partner’s recognition of DEQ’s efforts and continue to be proud of the work we do as a steward of Virginia’s natural resources.”
“EPA commends the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality for its efforts in implementing compliance and enforcement programs that met or exceeded our agency’s national performance expectations,” said EPA Mid-Atlantic Acting Regional Administrator Diana Esher. “Our state partners play an essential role in assuring compliance with environmental laws needed to protect public health and the environment.”
A copy of the final report is available on EPA’s website.
For more information about DEQ’s Enforcement program, visit www.DEQ.Virginia.gov/permits-regulations/enforcement.