DEQ Compliance and Enforcement in Response to COVID-19

Source: MT DEQ March 31, 2020 – The Montana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) is charged with implementing programs and enforcing environmental laws that ensure we protect a clean and healthful environment. Under extraordinary circumstances, such as during an emergency response, DEQ may need to balance our enforcement and compliance responsibilities with the need to safeguard the public against an immediate threat posed by the emergency situation.

The COVID-19 pandemic presents such a situation.

DEQ recognizes the current COVID-19 public health response may impact the ability of communities and companies to comply with certain regulatory obligations. While we expect everyone to do their best to adhere to all requirements, we understand some limited flexibility may be appropriate during this challenging time. We encourage affected communities and companies to identify areas of concern of the highest priority and communicate those concerns to the appropriate DEQ program in an effort to work productively towards resolution of the issue. Please note that compliance history may be a factor that the DEQ considers. DEQ is committed to working with all communities, companies, and the public to ensure maximum compliance with environmental regulations even in the fact of these challenging times.

As appropriate, DEQ may develop sector-specific guidelines to protect public health and the environment and ensure we are consistent in our application of agency discretion.

If an enforcement action becomes necessary, DEQ will consider the efforts taken by facilities to remain in compliance.