The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (“DEP”) is initiating a new effort to improve statewide consistency in the way it conducts inspections and takes enforcement actions after violations are discovered. DEP seeks to address concerns voiced by the regulated community about inconsistent enforcement across the state. DEP’s six (6) semi-autonomous regional offices generally take the lead in conducting inspections and taking enforcement actions in each of their regions. It has not been uncommon for regulated entities to face inconsistent penalties for similar violations in different DEP regions.
DEP first launched a monitoring initiative in 2013 to evaluate its compliance and enforcement policies and strategies. As a result of these efforts, DEP internally drafted recommendations, but these recommendations were never implemented.
Beginning this month, DEP will initiate an internal review of its policies on inspections, compliance, and enforcement. The internal review is expected to be completed in May 2016, with a public comment period to follow.