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Environmental Management Systems in Federal Enforcement Settlements

May 2004

Citation: ELR 10451

Author: Van Housman


This Article analyzes data and information on the use of environmental management systems (EMS) in federal enforcement settlements. An EMS is an approach to management and system improvements which includes policies, practices, procedures, processes, and resources for developing, implementing, achieving, and reviewing the organization's environmental policy and goals.

The data and information is based on interviews from August 2001 to September 2003 with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) personnel who developed and implemented EMS in enforcement settlements (practitioners). To gain an industry perspective, from March to May 2003, interviews were conducted by nine industry parties who developed EMS as part of the enforcement settlement. The author collected information on how EMS have been used in enforcement settlements, tracked the requirements of the settlements and whether these have been fulfilled, examined how EPA and regulated entities are assessing environmental performance, identified where EMS have led to improved management systems and innovative practices, and identified lessons learned and areas for improvements. This data and information may be useful to regulators and regulated entities who plan on using an EMS as part of an enforcement settlement.

Van E. Housman is Acting Associate Director in the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act Enforcement Division, Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance (OECA), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The author would like to acknowledge the contributions to this Article by Jon Silberman, Attorney-Advisor, OECA, EPA; Steve Sisk, National Enforcement Investigations Center, EPA; and Laura Herr, Legal Intern, OECA, EPA. The views expressed in this Article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of EPA.

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