LEE M.  THOMAS
                          BEFORE THE
                       WASHINGTON, D.C.
                      FEBRUARY  13, 1985
     It is a pleasure to be here today.  This is my first

speaking engagement since my confirmation last week.

Enforcement was a theme I stressed before the Senate, and it

is one I will stress as Administrator.

     My appearance here today allows me to emphasize again

the importance of enforcement in my overall strategy for

managing EPA.  It is gratifying to see representatives here

not only from EPA, but also from the States and the Justice

Department.  For I also see this conference as an opportunity

for all of us to discuss what we need to be doing together to

accomplish our objectives.

     Just over a year ago, most of us were sitting over in

Alexandria at the Old Colony Motel.  Bill Ruckelshaus was

standing up front saying exactly what he felt about the way

things were going in EPA's enforcement program.  Invoking

images of gorillas in closets and tigers in tanks, he told us

what he expected us to do to correct an unacceptable situation.

I felt the heat, and I'm sure many of you did too.

     Let me say as clearly as I can that the heat applied

last January is still on  full blast.  Enforcement is an

essential part of this agency's overall mission.  There can

be no let-down.

     During the last 12 months, we all worked very hard and

we achieved some impressive results.  The number of administrative

orders, civil referrals, criminal actions, and settlements

are all up.  In fact, 1984 saw EPA take a record number of

enforcement actions.  I expect us to maintain this momentum.

     In keeping the enforcement program moving, we must be

careful that the quantity of actions is matched with the

quality of individual efforts.  And we must follow through to

assure that the steps we take to enforce the law are fully

obeyed.  Where administrative orders are not followed, we

must be ready to take judicial action.  Even then, we must be

sure that our consent decrees and judicial orders are obeyed.

     These are my overall enforcement goals.  Enforcement is

a top priority of mine.  I want enforcement to be fully

integrated into each EPA program.  And in so doing, we must

employ all of our enforcement tools  administrative, civil

and criminal  as we implement our basic statutes.  Additionally,

enforcement must be carried out consistently by all levels

of government.

     Let's remember that EPA's mission is progress in achieving

environmental improvement.  We achieve that progress by

setting sound standards and enforcing them.  The regulated

community must know that we are committed to assuring this

progress.  We encourage them to help us move forward on a

voluntary basis.  But where they are unwilling, we will

rigorously enforce our  laws and our standards.

     Of course, EPA cannot do it all alone.  We must rely on

the States to carry a significant burden.  After all, it is

the States who are closest to the problems.  And it is the

States who conduct the bulk of all compliance and enforcement


     Therefore, we must assure that our colleagues in the

States, and where appropriate at the local level, are

fully involved in the enforcement program.  States are

absolutely critical to the success of the enforcement program

in EPA.

     An effective working relationship requires a clear

understanding between EPA and the States as to our respective

roles.  The timely and appropriate response policy  establishing

timeframes for escalating enforcement actions until compliance

is achieved  is an essential element in clearly defining

these roles.

     At the same time, it is important that the States

understand EPA has a responsibility to implement national

programs.  We must ensure full, consistent, vigorous

implementation of our laws and regulations.

     Where necessary, EPA will step in and take enforcement

actions consistent with what has been established in our

enforcement agreements with the States.  Here, too, our

actions must be consistent with the timely and appropriate

policy.  Adequate advance consultation with the states is

also necessary.

     As Administrator,  I will emphasize the need for a balanced

approach to enforcement.  Each of our tools must be incorporated

into our plans.  We will use administrative and judicial

authorities.  We will take civil and criminal actions against

violators.  The regulated community and the public must know

that EPA and the States are willing and able to fully,

forcefully and aggressively use each of these tools to obtain


     Special attention needs to be given to the role of civil

penalties in this balanced program.  We took an important

step forward last year when we developed our agency penalty

policy.  We will follow through this year in assuring that

program-specific penalty policies are developed and implemented.

     We will also work to include administrative penalty

authority in all of our statutes.  Our policy for EPA is to

assure that those who violate the law must not enjoy any

economic benefit from non-compliance.  Administrative penalties

will help us to achieve this goal.

     With this philosophy in mind, I want the States to

understand  how important a  tool penalties can be for them.

Effective use of penalties  will not only help them  to correct

individual  violations,  it will  also deter  future violations

and promote practices which  prevent non-compliance.

     Beyond these basic goals of  integrating enforcement  into

our strategy for implementing our laws and working  closely

with the  states, we  need  to devote  time  to  innovative  thinking.

We must explore new  ways of  more  effectively carrying out our

compliance  and enforcement  responsibilities.

     Multi-media inspections may play an increasingly important

role, for example.  We need to identify circumstances where

one inspector, or one inspection team, can conduct required

inspections for more than one program at a single facility.

I would appreciate your thoughts on that.

     When I was in the hazardous waste program, we talked

about alternatives to litigation for Superfund cleanups 

concepts like mediation, arbitration, and pay-and-walk.  In

the toxic substances program, we have the "settlement-with-

conditions" tool  for implementing the asbestos-in-schools


     These are also  ideas which may have broader application

to other EPA  compliance and enforcement efforts.  Again, I

urge you to share your views with me on these.

     We must  also work to build a closer and more cooperative

relationship  with the Department of Justice.   Courtney Price

and the program compliance  directors  in EPA's  media  offices

are giving this a high priority.  I encourage  this effort.

     To help  forge this relationship, I ask all  senior regional

managers to pursue similar  partnerships.  It  is  especially

important to  have close cooperation with those U.S.  Attorney

offices where we  have important cases, or expect them  to

evolve.  And  I encourage our colleages in the  States to give

the same priority to working with their State  attorneys


     Another major priority in the coming year will be the

development of a criminal enforcement strategy.  This strategy

will target certain industrial and business activities that

we believe require aggressive pro-active investigation.  In

this way, we can use criminal enforcement to supplement our

other compliance activities.

     Again, coordination with State and local agencies, other

Federal agencies, and the Justice Department will be critical

to our success in criminal enforcement.  Equally important

will be solid, cooperative relationships with regional counsels,

regional program staffs, and headquarters program offices.

     I need to say a few words about Federal facilities.

Federal compliance with environmental laws should be a model

for all others in the regulated community.  That is my

expectation, and I believe it is the expectation of all

Americans.  But I am not at all satisfied this is now the case.

     Much more needs to be done by EPA at headquarters and in

the regions, as well as by other Federal agencies.  States, too,

need to be ready to take the same firm, vigorous steps with

Federal facilities they apply to others in the regulated community.

     As I said earlier, your accomplishments during the past

year have been impressive.  We will not lose our momentum.

Continuing that momentum will require more hard work, and

more long hours.  We will be under mounting pressure to deal

with a wide range of issues.  Often, our work will be done

on a crisis basis.  But we will continue to achieve measurable


     With those general themes in mind, let's turn now to

some program-specific priorities.  These priorities reflect

the goals of our senior managers.  I believe they fairly

represent the priorities we will pursue together.

     I would like to look at the hazardous waste program

first.  After all, I have been living with RCRA and Superfund

for the past two years.

     Enforcement plays a vital role in the Superfund program.

The amount of cleanup taking place as a result of enforcement

actions is an increasingly significant part of our overall

cleanup effort.  Last year, we achieved 76 responsible party

settlements valued at over $145 million.  A total of 150

administrative orders were issued.  There were 41 cases

referred to the Justice Department; 36 cases were filed with

the courts.

     These numbers are greater than the total numbers of

compliance and enforcement actions taken prior to 1984.  At

the same time, we completed critical guidance and delegated

major program management authority to the Regions,  I think

that is real progress.  But we will not let down,

     Superfund is a good example of a program where balance

is necessary between use of administrative and judicial

authorities.  We will complement our administrative efforts

with vigorous judicial action.  We will demonstrate a

willingness to go to court when necessary.


     Our cost-recovery program is just getting into high

gear.  A number of issues must be resolved to permit us to

handle the increasing volume of cost-recovery actions which

will be initiated.  It will be our policy to take action to

recover all costs incurred by government in Superfund response


     At the same time, we will look for alternative strategies

for settling cost recovery actions, especially when relatively

small sums of money are involved.  Superfund cost recovery is

an excellent example of the need to focus on management

planning and systems, and the  importance of clear relationships

among Headquarters offices, the Regions, the States, and the

Justice Department.

     RCRA has become one of the most  visible and demanding of
all  programs during  the past year.  We  have a new law which

vastly  expands  the size of  the regulated community..  Broadened

enforcement authorities blur the distinction between RCRA  and

Superfund and provide new options  for corrective actions at

RCRA facilities.  Congress  has pushed hard  for  alternatives

to  land disposal  of  hazardous  waste.  This  is reflected  in

the  directions  we are taking  for off-site disposal  of  Superfund


      Headquarters has worked  closely  with the Regions  and  the

States  on a number of task  forces  to  meet the RCRA  reauthorization

challenge.  This  cooperation  is  critical  for  successful

 implementation  of the new law.

     The problem of groundwater contamination by hazardous

waste is a particularly important issue.   Notwithstanding all

the progress EPA and the States have made in enforcing RCRA,

we recognize that in this critical area it appears that many

land disposal facilities are not in full compliance with our


     A RCRA groundwater task force has been established,

reporting directly to the Assistant Administrator for Solid

Waste and Emergency Response.  This group will play an important

role in coordinating RCRA groundwater activities.  It will

work to make sure that every RCRA interim status or permitted

facility with groundwater monitoring requirements has a  full,

comprehensive inspection.

     The team will focus first on major commercial facilities

which are actual or potential  recipients of  Superfund wastes.

They will be working through and with various headquarters

organizations,  the Regions, and  the States.  Their work  will

be tied to  on-going State and  Regional inspection activities.

This team has my personal support.  I urge  you  to give  it

your full cooperation.

     Turning to toxics and  pesticides  issues, I  think  it is

absolutely  critical that we have  sound working  relationships

between Headquarters,  the Regions,  and the  States.  We  are

launching a pilot  State grant  program under the  Toxic  Substances

Control Act under  which 15  States will monitor  compliance

with TSCA regulations.  Among  those substances  to be monitored

are asbestos and PCBs.


     Again, I want us to spend the time necessary to make

sure that State personnel have the necessary tools to conduct

quality inspections and maintain effective enforcement


     We will be giving continued priority to the asbestos-in-

schools program.  Enforcement actions will be pursued


     A second priority addresses the information submission

requirements of both TSCA and the Federal Insecticide,

Fungicide and Rodenticide Act.  We depend upon timely, complete

and accurate data.  Non-compliance seriously jeopardizes the

agency's .ability to make regulatory decisions necessary to

protect public health and the environment.  We will be

stressing data audits and laboratory inspections to assure


     We need to take a very strong position on data fraud

under all of our programs.  Along with such RCRA violations

as illegal dumping and fuel blending, this is an area where

the criminal enforcement program should  and will  be


     In the air program, we want to give a major focus to

continuing compliance by both stationary and mobile sources

of air pollution.  We will enhance inspection capabilities

through training and increase use of continuous emissions


     For stationary sources, we need to give priority attention

to major sources affecting non-attainment areas.  I stress

again  and this is becoming a refrain  EPA and the States

must work together to make sure inspectors are fully versed

in the laws and regulations, even as more complex requirements

are imposed.

     We need to continue to bring enforcement actions against

those who use leaded fuels in cars designed only for unleaded

products, and those who remove or tamper with emissions controls

It is clear that effective inspection and maintenance programs

at the State and local levels are critically important.  So

are State and local efforts to prevent tampering and misfueling.

We must be willing to ensure programs are' implemented where

needed, and that corrective action is taken for those I/M

programs that are inadequate.

     Yet another priority for the air program deals with

hazardous air pollutants.  We will move forward aggressively

this year to complete a large number of listings and regulatory

efforts under Section 112 of the Clean Air Act.  Finally, we

will expand the air program's initiatives to control volatile

organic compounds.  Compliance and enforcement strategies

will be devised for smaller VOC sources in non-attainment


     The National Municipal Strategy will be a continuing

priority of the water program.  We are serious about July

1988 as the outside compliance deadline.


     Let me say at this point that I am aware many of you put

yourselves on the line in support of this program.  I know

that actions had to be taken which were unpopular at times

and which required direct and difficult dealings with those

we regulate.  I appreciate what you have done.  You have my

full support.  I anticipate this will be an increasingly

controversial component of our enforcement program, but an

extremely important one.

     This agency is committed to the goal of enforceable

compliance schedules  for all affected municipalities by the

end of  fiscal year 1985.  That  is just a little more than

seven months  from now.  As you  know better than I, working

with local governments, many of which have serious financial

problems, is  a task requiring all the understanding, sensitivity

and firmness  of purpose that this agency can muster.  Regional

Administrators should pay close attention to  this process  and

involve themselves whenever  necessary.

     A  second water enforcement priority  is  to  assure compliance

with pretreatment requirements  by publicly owned  treatment works,

This  is an  example of how EPA  and the  Department  of  Justice

can work together to  design  and implement  imaginative

enforcement  strategies which provide a  targeted approach.

     As of  last month, some  350 POTWs  had  failed  to  submit

complete and approvable pretreatment programs.   Our  goal is

to have all  such  programs submitted and approved, or to have

initiated judicial actions  against  the violators, by the end

of fiscal year  1985.


     To make this objective easier., we have agreed with the

Justice Department on a streamlined process that calls for

simultaneous filing of 15 okr more civil complaints nationwide.

This coordinated approach will send a strong message that we

are serious about the pretreatment program.  It also represents

a model we and Justice may find relevant to other enforcement


     In closing> let me stress once again how important this

meeting is.:  1 ask each of you to take advantage of these two

days v.vith your full cooperation*

     I leave yea with these final thoughts:

     o Last year, Bill Ruckelshaus turned on the heat  in the

enforcement program.  The heat  is still on.  We will continue

to produce results,

     o 1 expect both quantity and quality  in the enforcement

program.  'We cannot eff'ord to lose our momentum,

     o We must ensure that enforcement is  an integral  part  of

the  implementation of esch of our  environmental programs.

National program manages  and regional program managers  are

clearly accountable for ensuring that  this  happens.

    o We need  tc commit th'ne and effort to  sitting down  and

building strong relationships among  EPA Headquarters,  the

Regions, the States,  localities  and  the Justice Department.


     o  There must be a balanced enforcement program

using all appropriate tools  administrative and civil

authorities, criminal law, settlements, and alternatives

to litigation.

     o  Our enforcement effort must be consistent nationally

and we must implement it with firmness and fairness at

all levels of government.

      The task ahead is not easy.  But the challenge is

there.  Compliance will continue to be a major goal in each

environmental program.  To achieve that compliance, we must

have the commitment of our managers, effective policies and

procedures, adequate resources, and the will to make it


     Thank you for having me here today.