ODEQ to exercise enforcement discretion, as warranted, during COVID-19 crisis

published in McAfee & Taft LINC | April 3, 2020

On March 30, 2020, the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality (ODEQ) provided written guidance regarding enforcement during the COVID-19 pandemic situation.

Please note the following highlights:

  • ODEQ has determined that, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and attendant orders from Governor Stitt, “the exercise of enforcement discretion related to compliance with some environmental requirements may be warranted under certain circumstances.”
  • ODEQ states it will continue to ensure compliance with regulatory obligations necessary to protect public health and safety, but it will also work with regulated entities in Oklahoma on a case-by-case basis to determine the most effective and reasonable approach to ensure compliance with applicable requirements.
  • ODEQ intends to exercise such discretion as appropriate while focusing its enforcement efforts on issues directly impacting human health.
  • While ODEQ’s policy is written more generally than EPA’s March 26, 2020, policy announcement, it appears ODEQ’s exercise of enforcement discretion in practice will be largely consistent with the EPA policy, which was covered in our previous EPA update.
  • Additional information can be found at ODEQ’s COVID-19 webpage.