For fiscal years 2020-2023, the EPA has announced seven enforcement and compliance assurance priority areas, six of which are classified as National Compliance Initiatives (NCIs). One NCI in particular reduces risk from hazardous chemicals, and its increased emphasis could impact EPCRA Tier II reporting significantly. Businesses and their EHS teams should therefore take note.
Specifically, the EPA has focused on the following NCI to improve compliance with environmental laws, which is where the impact on EPCRA Tier II reporting comes in. Their intent is also to “enhance shared accountability” between the EPA and states and tribes with authorized environmental programs.
- Reducing Risks of Accidental Releases at Industrial and Chemical Facilities – This existing NCI will continue to focus on reducing risk to human health and the environment by decreasing the likelihood of chemical accidents. EPA has found that many regulated facilities are neither managing adequately the risks they pose nor ensuring the safety of their facilities to protect surrounding communities as required under Clean Air Act Section 112(r).
The goal of this emphasized NCI, according to the EPA, is to reduce the risk to human health and the environment by decreasing the likelihood of chemical accidents. A successful initiative would reduce communities’ risk by having regulated facilities and industry associations work to:
- improve safety;
- increase compliance with risk management plan and GDC requirements; and
- promote coordination and communication with state and local responders and communities.
Accurate and timely EPCRA Tier II reporting is key to achieving these outcomes.
Other updates affecting EPCRA Tier II
Tier II reporting requirements by state
Whereas the federal EPCRA program moves at a slower pace for Tier II relative to state and local agencies, SERCs and LEPCs typically update their Tier II reporting requirements on an annual basis. For the newest requirements and special submission instructions in each state, see the EPA’s web page for State Tier II Reporting Requirements and Procedures.
Tier2 Submit 2020 software
The EPA’s newest version of Tier2 Submit™ is for EPCRA Tier II reporting year 2020. This latest version features several notable updates over the previous 2019 release.
- Resolved an issue in which some users could not open the program due to an empty data file (rev. 2).
- Added a link to a certification letter for facilities in the state of Virginia (rev. 2).
- Made adjustments to improve accessibility (rev. 2).
- Added more links to the help topics (rev. 2).
- Improved program behavior when dealing with html and special characters in fields or file names (rev. 2).
- Small interface enhancements and bug fixes (rev. 2).
- Added the ability to export files divided by field values.
- Added the ability to export PDF files sorted by field.
- Added an advanced import feature, through which the user can opt to see all import warnings at the end of the import session.
- Changed attachment upload process to allow users to attach more than one file at a time.
- Enhanced the Find on Page feature.
- Added red boxes around invalid fields.
- Added a link to view the data folder location.
- Smoothed the visual re-ordering of sub-records.
- Updated state-specific fields.
- Fixed several bugs.
- Revised the help topics.
The Windows version of Tier2 Submit 2020 can be run on Windows 7, Windows 8.1, and Windows 10 operating systems. The Macintosh version can be run on High Sierra (10.13), Mojave (10.14), Catalina (10.15), and Big Sur (11) operating systems. Operating systems not listed here have not been tested and are not supported. For download instructions, see the Tier2 Submit 2020 web page.