Client Alert: Better to Beg For Forgiveness Than to Ask Permission?: A Survey of COVID-19 Environmental Enforcement Policies

The saying is that “it is better to beg for forgiveness than to ask permission.”  This saying has rarely been applied in the field of environmental law because the risks are too high and the penalties too great. COVID-19, however, has created such wide-ranging impacts upon society and U.S. commerce that strict compliance with at least some environmental laws must yield to the immediate health–and yes, business–impacts.  It is noteworthy that U.S. EPA and many state environmental agencies recognize that in these extraordinary circumstances, human health can best be protected by showing flexibility in the area of environmental compliance. This article by Philip Comella, Ryan Rudich, Hannah Vanderlaan, and Craig Nelson summarizes how state environmental regulators across the country have decided to act–or refrain from acting–in their enforcement capacity to account for the COVID-19 crisis.

Available Downloads