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Understanding EPA’s Enforcement and Compliance Policy During the COVID-19 Pandemic

On March 26, 2020, EPA issued a new enforcement and compliance policy in light of COVID-19 that applies to a wide array of regulated entitites and facilities. EPA stated that it issued this temporary policy due to potential worker shortages and social distancing restrictions that could affect the availability of key staff, facility operations, and laboratories. This issue brief summarizes the new EPA policy, describes its significance, and clarifies its contours. The policy opens the door to potentially problematic and harmful actions, especially on a short-term basis.