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Penalties and Liabilities
National Summary
Responsibility for the various actions that make up the EPA enforcement program is divided among different offices, EPA regions, and state agencies. Headquarters is primarily responsible for setting national policy, investigating and pursuing some national cases, participating in cases raising nationally significant issues, monitoring regional and state activities, and providing technical support. The regions generally take primary responsibility for performing inspections, issuing administrative orders, preparing civil actions, monitoring compliance with administrative and judicial orders, and providing support to DOJ for ongoing lawsuits. In many cases, states have primary enforcement responsibility, although certain statutory programs cannot be authorized (e.g., the OPA program under Section 311 of the CWA). Even though states may take an enforcement action, if a state fails to take action, does not obtain acceptable results, or requests assistance, EPA may become involved.
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