Interested in training for your team? Click here to learn more

EPA Compliance Audit Guidance: New Owner, Voluntary Disclosure, Admission of Liability, Penalty Mitigation

Recording of a 90-minute CLE video webinar with Q&A

This program is included with the Strafford CLE Pass. Click for more information.
This program is included with the Strafford All-Access Pass. Click for more information.

Conducted on Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Recorded event now available

or call 1-800-926-7926

The CLE course will address the EPA's most recent guidance for environmental counsel related to its audit policy. The panel will provide an overview of the EPA's incentives to companies that voluntarily discover their own violations and disclose those violations to the federal government. The panel will also address how EPA exercises its enforcement discretion and how the audit policy may dramatically impact enforcement outcomes and businesses subject to these environmental regulations.


Environmental audits allow companies to proactively identify and address environmental problems before civil litigation or enforcement actions arise. The EPA and many states have established policies to offer companies incentives to encourage compliance, including the potential for reduced or eliminated gravity-based civil or administrative penalties.

Whether a newly acquired or long-standing business, companies and their counsel must take measures to ensure ongoing environmental compliance and environmental audits provide an avenue for detecting and correcting potential problems. Regular self-auditing can help reduce penalties and limit injunctive relief faced in enforcement actions, apart from voluntary disclosure of noncompliance to regulatory agencies.

There are potential risks associated with voluntarily uncovering and documenting violations and the disclosure of violations. Audit findings can be evidence of compliance gaps and a company's knowledge of those holes. Audit disclosures may not always lead to a clean resolution of disclosed violations with the regulatory agency, particularly under the Biden administration. This risk is especially acute where audit policies impose deadlines for corrective action to address any identified noncompliance. Disclosed information could lead to enforcement action and may provide unfortunate ammunition in private actions against the disclosing party. Some policies provide privilege protections to help mitigate risks associated with citizen enforcement.

Listen as our panel of environmental attorneys examines the current environmental enforcement policies and auditing programs. The panel will discuss privilege and its exceptions and the pros and cons of voluntary disclosure. The panel will also offer strategies for responding to enforcement actions.



  1. Environmental compliance auditing
  2. Privileges available to protect audit-derived information
  3. Voluntary audit disclosure
    1. EPA program under Biden administration
    2. Current state programs
  4. Audit opportunities for new owners
  5. Complications for auditing and disclosure arising from recent enforcement trends


The panel will review these and other key issues:

  • How can companies and their counsel use environmental audits to improve compliance and soften the impact of a government enforcement action?
  • What are the best practices for counsel to advise clients that are considering utilizing environmental compliance audits?
  • What are the expected costs and risks of environmental self-audits from a legal standpoint?


Goodwin, Pamela
Pamela S. Goodwin

Saul Ewing

Ms. Goodwin represents clients in the energy, oil and gas, solid waste, agriculture, and many other industries in...  |  Read More

Mulkey, Marcia
Marcia Mulkey

Of Counsel
Cozen O'Connor

Ms. Mulkey works on a wide range of federal and governmental regulatory matters and environmental issues and related...  |  Read More

Wierenga, Paul
Paul Wierenga

DLA Piper

Mr. Wierenga has a diverse environmental law practice that includes counseling clients on a broad range of regulatory...  |  Read More

Access Anytime, Anywhere

Strafford will process CLE credit for one person on each recording. All formats include course handouts.

To find out which recorded format will provide the best CLE option, select your state:

CLE On-Demand Video