Last year, I noted that EPA had made its ECHO data base more user-friendly, creating a web-based map of enforcement actions. Last week, EPA took the effort a step further, at least with respect to Clean Water Act enforcement action. EPA’s Clean Water Act Annual Noncompliance Report, or ANCR, is available on the web in an interactive format that allows interested citizens to see where the noncompliance and enforcement action is taking place.
As some of my clients are unfortunately aware, I’ve been seeing a lot of enforcement action recently, at both the federal and state level. It’s not clear long the agencies can maintain a vigorous enforcement posture in the face of repeated budget cuts. I still think that efforts such as providing interactive access to EPA’s ANCR is going to facilitate citizen suits, ensuring the private enforcement is available even if the agencies ease up.
Whether that’s a good result is of course a separate question.