While USEPA’s Next Generation Compliance initiative is not new, the regulated community is beginning to see these ideas incorporated into new rulemaking. Next Generation Compliance consists of five interconnected components: regulations and permits that are easier to implement, advanced emissions/pollutant detection technology, electronic reporting, public transparency, and innovative enforcement approaches.

Next Generation Compliance Components

Next Generation Compliance Components

According to USEPA, Next Generation Compliance consists of five interconnected components, each designed to improve the effectiveness of its compliance program:

  • Design regulations and permits that are easier to implement, with a goal of improved compliance and environmental outcomes.
  • Use and promote advanced emissions/pollutant detection technology so that regulated entities, the government, and the public can more easily see pollutant discharges, environmental conditions, and noncompliance.
  • Shift toward electronic reporting to help make environmental reporting more accurate, complete, and efficient while helping EPA and co-regulators better manage information, improve effectiveness and transparency.
  • Expand transparency by making information more accessible to the public.
  • Develop and use innovative enforcement approaches (e.g., data analytics and targeting) to achieve more widespread compliance.

Jacob Hollinger with McDermott Will & Emery has written an excellent piece highlighting the incorporation of the next generation compliance strategy into USEPA’s new refinery hazardous emissions rule at http://bit.ly/1jEqg1s. First, the rule requires fence line monitoring of benzene concentrations and corrective action if necessary.  This is the first time USEPA has required fenceline monitoring on such a scale. Second, the rule requires electronic reporting of the fenceline monitoring data. Third, the rule does not excuse compliance during periods of equipment malfunction.

Hollinger asserts that industrial facilities should watch how the rule is implemented since the rule’s implementation will likely shed light on how well EPA’s next generation ideas function in practice.