2020 Environmental Real Estate Issues

On September 28, 2023, EPA’s Administrator for Enforcement and Compliance Assurance issued a memorandum “directing all EPA enforcement and compliance offices to address climate change, whenever appropriate, in every matter within their jurisdiction.” The memorandum builds on EPA’s “national climate enforcement initiative (NCEI)” issued in August, which “targets methane emissions from oil and gas facilities and landfills as well as illegal importation of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs).”

Climate Rules a Priority
The September memorandum “requires EPA’s enforcement and compliance program to fairly and vigorously enforce the full array of EPA’s climate rules, including, but not limited to, greenhouse gas (GHG) reporting requirements and limits on other climate pollutants such as carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide. As new climate rules are developed, they will be prioritized as well.”

Oil and Gas Facilities and Landfills
To apply the NCEI, “EPA will seek greater compliance with new source performance standards at oil and gas facilities and landfills, the second and third largest sources of methane emissions.” One component of this effort will be addressing methane emissions from “large, unlawful emissions events from oil and gas facilities, known as super-emitter events…”

Other GHGs a Priority
In addition to the NECI, EPA “will prioritize enforcement actions to reduce emissions of other GHGs by addressing illegal activity related to carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, and volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions. This could include actions in a broad array of sectors where both civil and criminal investigations can assess, for example, gas flaring, emissions from storage tanks and wastewater treatment systems, incineration/ combustion operations, and compliance with the Greenhouse Gas Reporting Rule.”

To see EPA’s news release, which includes links to the September memorandum and the NECI, https://www.epa.gov/newsreleases/new-epa-strategy-directs-all-epa-enforcement-and-compliance-programs-help-tackle