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EPA Launches Central Hub to Collect Ideas for Environmental Projects

Posted on 1/11/2024 by Nick Waldron

Often, settlements with US EPA for alleged environmental violations comprise a civil penalty and a Supplemental Environmental Project (SEP). SEPs are projects that the settling company or companies opt in to resolve allegations of environmental noncompliance and/or damage—and they can cost a large sum. The key difference between civil penalties and SEPs is that, with an SEP, the money is directly invested into the local community, rather than paid to a government agency who may do the same later.

EPA has accepted ideas for SEPs from the public for years. There was never a central place to send ideas, however, because ongoing settlement discussions are confidential.

As of last month, EPA has created a central medium for you to communicate your SEP ideas to the Agency so it may offer them to a settling party or defendant during confidential settlement discussions.

Understanding Supplemental Environmental Projects (SEPs)

An SEP is a voluntary project included in an enforcement settlement that provides an environmental or public health benefit. Projects like these are developed and implemented by the defendant/respondent (i.e., company facing allegations).

To be included in a settlement, the project must be highly relevant to the case being resolved. EPA reserves the right to veto SEPs that it does not think are appropriate for the case.

EPA does not give preference to specific project ideas and does not manage projects. Some companies are interested implementing an SEP but don't have one mind. Many enter talks with an idea for a project.

Submitting Your Ideas

EPA asks that you send your ideas to SEPideas@epa.gov with this information:

  • Short Title
  • Detailed Description
  • Public Health and/or Environmental Benefits
  • Information about the Location
  • Cost Information

The Agency allows for your personal/contact information to be included in case a defendant/respondent would like to reach out and speak with you about your SEP idea.

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