EPA Inspector General Finds Enforcement and Inspections Down at EPA
The Trump administration has been transparent about its intent to deemphasize enforcement as a tool for gaining compliance. The numbers just released by the EPA's Inspector General confirm that redirection of efforts. Over the period 2007-2008, the numbers of inspections, enforcement cases initiated, cases with penalties and injunctive relief and SEPs are all down significantly. What is interesting is that the numbers all started declining after 2006, during the second term of the Bush administration. Most of these numbers also continued to fall during the two terms of Obama administration (with some notable increases in large penalties in 2015-2016). The Trump administration has continued the downward trend. The report unfortunately does not break the enforcement numbers down by statute. It would be interesting to see how EPA has performed with CWA enforcement over that time period.
Here's a link to the full report: https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2020-04/documents/_epaoig_20200331_20-p-0131_0.pdf