On October 26, the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and U.S. EPA entered into a Memorandum of Agreement to establish procedures and policies for administration of the Wyoming Audit Privilege and Immunity Law, or self-audit law. Under the agreement, EPA recognizes that Wyoming’s self-audit law and policy encourage greater compliance with laws and rules protecting public health and the environment.
According to DEQ Director Todd Parfitt, the purpose of an environmental self-audit is for companies to identify and correct noncompliance, and improve future compliance. “The environmental self-audit will not replace the current efforts in our department for inspection and compliance of the regulated community,” said Parfitt. “These audits are another tool that may be utilized to reduce noncompliance and achieve the environmental and health benefits for Wyoming and its citizens.”
DEQ’s Air Quality Division began outreach efforts to increase awareness of an environmental self-audit program in 2016. Since then, 3.3% of facilities statewide have been entered into the self-audit program and more than 3,500 tons-per-year of pollutant emissions have been reduced by correcting and adding controls to improve compliance.
According to DEQ, some of the other benefits gained from self-audits include:
- Improved public health and environmental protection through pollution reduction;
- Expedited corrective action which leads to more timely pollution reductions;
- Continued future benefits by preventing recurrence of noncompliance;
- Saved resources by allowing inspectors to focus on noncompliance at other facilities;
- Corrected noncompliance, thereby providing for a level playing field;
- Verified current compliance for companies;
- Cost savings through a change in the production or energy-saving process.