Cheyenne, Wyo - Today, October 26, 2018, the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) entered into a Memorandum of Agreement (Agreement) to establish procedures and policies for administration of the Wyoming Audit Privilege and Immunity Law (self-audit law).
Under this agreement, EPA recognizes that Wyoming’s self-audit law and policy encourages greater compliance with laws and rules protecting public health and the environment.
According to Todd Parfitt, DEQ Director, the purpose for an environmental self-audit is for companies, as the regulated entity, to identify and correct noncompliance, and improve future compliance.
"The environmental self-audit will not replace the current efforts in our department for inspection and compliance of the regulated community," said Parfitt. "These audits are another tool that may be utilized to reduce noncompliance and achieve the environmental and health benefits for Wyoming and its citizens."
DEQ's Air Quality Division began outreach efforts to increase awareness of an environmental self-audit program in 2016. Since then, 3.3% of facilities statewide have been entered into the self-audit program and over 3545 tons-per-year of pollutant emissions have been reduced by correcting and adding controls to improve compliance.
“This agreement provides much-needed certainty to Wyoming as it seeks to use its self-audit law as a tool to increase environmental compliance outcomes,” said EPA Regional Administrator Doug Benevento. “EPA is sending a clear message that Wyoming’s self-audit law is consistent with the State’s responsibilities under their delegated programs and we will defer to their decision making so long as it is consistent with their law. We will not look over Wyoming’s shoulder and second guess enforcement decisions, nor will we subject the regulated community to differing standards of compliance.”
Some of the benefits gained from self-audits include:
- Improved public health and environmental protection through pollution reduction;
- expedites corrective action which leads to more timely pollution reductions;
- continued future benefits by preventing re-occurrence of noncompliance;
- agency resource savings – allows inspectors to focus on non-compliance at other facilities;
- corrects non-compliance thereby providing for a level playing field;
- verifies current compliance for companies;
- and cost savings through a change in the production or energy-saving process.