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ECHO Information about Maine
State and Federal differences in vocabulary and policy will affect your understanding and ability to make fully informed decisions about the compliance and enforcement status reported by the United States Environmental Protection Agency's Enforcement and Compliance History Online (ECHO) Web site.
This Internet page is Maine DEP's supplement to the EPA ECHO Web site. You should use the additional information provided here to better understand Maine DEP's role in ECHO and the significance of data available through that Web site, beyond what is already explained on USEPA's ECHO site.
Compliance Monitoring and Enforcement in Maine
The cornerstone of Maine DEP's compliance programs is our long-standing commitment to close monitoring and equitable enforcement of our laws. There is a proud tradition of taking our environmental laws seriously, and an unwavering expectation from Maine people that we will enforce those laws. As a result, DEP maintains compliance programs that we understand rival any other in the country for consistency, and for timely and appropriate responses to noncompliance.
Maine, like all other states, uses specific and sometimes unique terminology to identify a regulated entity's compliance status and those enforcement actions taken as a result of noncompliance. Individuals obtaining compliance and enforcement information through the USEPA's ECHO Internet site must understand that Maine's terminology often varies from that used by the federal government. This difference in vocabulary may result in a false impression of inactivity, or inappropriately harsh activity, when reviewing a report created with ECHO.
The following five paragraphs describe the commonly used enforcement tools available to Maine DEP. Extensive definitions of each, and a description of our approach in applying them, are available in the Maine DEP Compliance Policy.
Gaps in ECHO Information
An ECHO report may show that a facility has had violations during a particular time period and an enforcement action has not been taken. A significant limitation on the information available in that report is that many actions taken by Maine DEP, such as the issuance of an NOV or the proposal and ongoing negotiation of an ACA, are not recognized in ECHO-generated reports as enforcement actions. As a result, the data you receive in an ECHO report may appear to show violations remaining unaddressed, when actually the violations ended long ago and an enforcement case is actively being pursued to resolution.
As a result of the differences in vocabulary and policy on what constitutes an enforcement action you may need to contact Maine DEP's enforcement director. By contacting Maine DEP with your questions, you will obtain the most current information available about facilities reported by ECHO. Contact Jim Dusch by e-mail or telephone 207-287-8662.
Maine DEP is working to develop a mechanism (available soon) to obtain additional up-to-date information on a facility that is currently reported by ECHO as being in significant violation of the law.
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