Responding to EPA Information Request Letters: Mitigating Further Agency Scrutiny

Response Options; Confidentiality Requirements; CERCLA, CWA, CAA, and RCRA Compliance

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

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Conducted on Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Recorded event now available

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Course Materials

This CLE course will guide environmental counsel on responding to EPA information request letters, understanding key considerations, and assessing the alternative responses. The panel will offer strategies to overcome common concerns and issues under environmental laws.


Under most environmental laws, including CERCLA, the Clean Water Act (CWA), the Clean Air Act (CAA), and RCRA, the EPA has the authority to evaluate a company's compliance with those statutes. The EPA can use the information request letter to gather information in its efforts to assess compliance. The request letter is often the first step in an EPA enforcement action.

A company's response to an EPA inquiry establishes the groundwork for how the matter will proceed and ultimately be resolved. The company and counsel should formulate an approach by which the EPA receives the information it seeks while protecting privileges and confidentiality.

Counsel and their clients must understand the common concerns and red flags for the EPA and must develop proactive legal strategies for responding to information requests, investigations, and if necessary, defending against EPA claims.

Listen as our authoritative panel of environmental counsel discusses the scope of the EPA's information gathering authority, examining provisions under CERCLA, CWA, CAA, and RCRA, as well as address common concerns and issues under environmental laws. The panel will offer practical guidance for responding to EPA information request letters.



  1. Scope of EPA authority
    1. CERCLA
    2. CWA
    3. CAA
    4. RCRA
  2. Common concerns and issues
  3. Strategic considerations for counsel before responding to an EPA request letter
  4. Do's and don'ts of responding
    1. Timing
    2. Privileges and confidentiality
    3. Voluntary compliance vs. litigation
    4. Managing scope of the request
    5. Preparing for production
    6. Drafting narrative response


The panel will review these and other key issues:

  • What are the key considerations for environmental counsel when responding to an EPA information request letter?
  • What are the areas that have proven to be red flags for the EPA?
  • What steps should counsel take to ensure privileges are protected?


Bolston, Conrad
Conrad Bolston

Senior Associate
Vinson & Elkins

Mr. Bolston's practice focuses on environmental litigation, regulatory compliance, and white collar defense. He has...  |  Read More

Smith, Freedom
Freedom S.N. Smith

Ice Miller

Ms. Smith concentrates her practice in the areas of environmental and toxic tort litigation, environmental...  |  Read More

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