EPA announced a voluntary audit program that will allow Texas companies operating under flexible permits to de-flex and obtain new air quality permits that meet EPA requirements. This audit program allegedly offers protection from civil enforcement by the federal government, provided that companies with flexible permits agree to and complete the audit program. It requires, however, that companies allow a third-party auditor to review past operations, modifications and permitting activities, which will then serve as the basis for a new agreement with the EPA. Companies that enter the audit will no longer be subject to Clean Air Act enforcement actions. However, significant penalties may be sought by EPA in the course of de-flexing to settle alleged past violations. Companies that do not want to go through the audit process can negotiate directly with the EPA on a new permit system.