U.S. EPA And Department of Justice Announce the Return of The Use of Supplemental Environmental Projects

July 2022

Environmental, Energy & Climate Change Law and Regulation Reporter, Volume 2, Number 10

On May 5, 2022, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) restored the use of Supplemental Environmental Projects (SEPs). (Memorandum from the Attorney General, Guidelines and Limitations for Settlement Agreements Involving Payments to Non-Governmental Third Parties (May 5, 2022) (herein-after “May 2022 SEP Memorandum”); see also Memorandum from the Attorney General Comprehensive Environmental Justice Enforcement Strategy (May 5, 2022).)

Prior to the Trump administration barring their use in 2017, SEPs had been used for 30 years when settling government enforcement actions brought by the DOJ on behalf of the EPA, the defendant agreed to fund projects that provide environmental benefits to the area where impacts of the alleged violation of environmental statutes were felt. In exchange, the use of SEPs offset the defendant’s civil penalty payment. While some are skeptical of SEPs, many are excited at the return of what they find to be a community and natural resource building tool.

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