Deep Dive Episode 222 – The Return of Supplemental Environmental Projects
On May 5, the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) announced a new “Comprehensive Environmental Justice Strategy.” One piece of this new strategy was an Interim Final Rule reintroducing the use of Supplemental Environmental Projects (SEPs) in environmental enforcement action settlements.
As defined by the Biden administration, SEPs are “local projects that defendants can agree to undertake as part of an enforcement case settlement to help rectify environmental violations.” These projects were outlawed under the Trump DOJ due to concerns that their use expands DOJ discretionary authority beyond its statutory limits. The Biden administration, however, argues that “SEPs help to fulfill the goals of the underlying statutes being enforced and can provide important environmental and public health benefits to communities that have been harmed by environmental violations.”
On June 15, 2022, three executive branch veterans with a range of views on the issue joined us for a virtual discussion on the return of SEPs.