EPA has decided to make publicly available on its website internal watch lists of alleged violators of environmental laws. The watch lists contain the names, addresses, and facility identification numbers of facilities that EPA alleges have committed serious violations of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), Clean Water Act (CWA) or Clean Air Act (CAA), but for which EPA has not yet filed an enforcement action. EPA noted that the watch lists are intended to facilitate communication between EPA, state, and local agencies regarding enforcement actions that have not been brought in a timely fashion, defined as between 180 and 360 days from the date of the violation. Specific violations allegedly committed by each facility are not described, but the federal identification numbers provided on the lists can be used to search EPA's Enforcement and Compliance History Online (ECHO) database for additional information regarding the underlying alleged violation.
EPA's watch lists are updated monthly and will be posted to EPA's website. Facilities may be removed from the watch lists if a formal enforcement action is taken, a violation is corrected, or a data error is corrected. Of note, EPA has emphasized that some facilities may be on the watch lists in error, and a process is in place for correcting errors in the ECHO database, which is used to generate the watch lists. Facilities may be added to the watch lists if an incident of significant noncompliance with RCRA or the CWA or a high priority violation of the CAA has not been addressed in a timely enforcement action. EPA began internally maintaining its watch lists in 2004 but has chosen to make them public "as part of its commitment to transparency."