Supplemental Environmental Project

Supplemental Environmental Project in the United States

Supplemental Environmental Project (SEP) in Environmental Law

An environmental endeavor approved by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and completed in lieu of part of a penalty payment for violations. To be considered by the EPA, the proposed project must be in addition to legal requirements. A defendant could not, for example, agree to put in new equipment to cut down on pollution as a supplemental environmental project if the equipment is necessary to comply with the law.

Because it looks better to the public for a company to do something for the community than to pay a fine, many companies like the idea of SEPs. The EPA is sensitive about the issue; it does not want a violator to benefit from being caught. For that reason, the project is not normally a comprehensive substitute for a penalty. The EPA generally requires significant amounts to be paid in exchange for a reduction. One regional office of EPA stated that approximately $2.5 million must be spent to reduce the fine by one dollar. However, in one case the EPA did allow a dollar for dollar credit for an SEP.

Examples of SEPs include educational projects, environmental enhancements (such as paving a gravel road to reduce dust), comprehensive audits, pollution prevention, and corrective action. The most common SEPs provide for pollution reduction, followed by pollution prevention. They are most often associated with violations of the Emergency Planning and Community RightToKnow Act, the statute that deals with providing information to the community, and the Toxic Substances Control Act, which manages chemical substances.

In the beginning of the program, the EPA did not embrace SEPs, but now one in ten settlements with the agency involves them. The General Accounting Office has questioned the EPA’s authority to enter into such agreements, and the criticism centers on the authority to divert penalties from the United States Treasury, where all environmental penalties are supposed to go. Another concern is the deductibility of some of the expenses of a SEP Penalties are not deductible, but portions of a SEP may be. Despite the opinion of the General Accounting Office, the EPA now encourages the use of SEPs. It sees the policy as one that results in benefits to the environment not otherwise available.
Based on “Environment and the Law. A Dictionary”.

Supplemental Environmental Project: Open and Free Legal Research of US Law

Federal Primary Materials

The U.S. federal government system consists of executive, legislative, and judicial branches, each of which creates information that can be the subject of legal research about Supplemental Environmental Project. This part provides references, in relation to Supplemental Environmental Project, to the legislative process, the federal judiciary, and the primary sources of federal law (cases, statutes, and regulations).

Federal primary materials about Supplemental Environmental Project by content types:

Laws and Regulations

US Constitution
Federal Statutory Codes and Legislation

Federal Case Law and Court Materials

U.S. Courts of Appeals
United States courts of appeals, inclouding bankruptcy courts and bankcruptcy appellate panels:

Federal Administrative Materials and Resources

Presidential Materials

Materials that emanate from the President’s lawmaking function include executive orders for officers in departments and agencies and proclamations for announcing ceremonial or commemorative policies. Presidential materials available include:

Executive Materials

Federal Legislative History Materials

Legislative history traces the legislative process of a particular bill (about Supplemental Environmental Project and other subjects) for the main purpose of determining the legislators’ intent behind the enactment of a law to explain or clarify ambiguities in the language or the perceived meaning of that law (about Supplemental Environmental Project or other topics), or locating the current status of a bill and monitoring its progress.

State Administrative Materials and Resources

State regulations are rules and procedures promulgated by state agencies (which may apply to Supplemental Environmental Project and other topics); they are a binding source of law. In addition to promulgating regulations, state administrative boards and agencies often have judicial or quasi-judicial authority and may issue administrative decisions affecting Supplemental Environmental Project. Finding these decisions can be challenging. In many cases, researchers about Supplemental Environmental Project should check state agency web sites for their regulations, decisions, forms, and other information of interest.

State rules and regulations are found in codes of regulations and administrative codes (official compilation of all rules and regulations, organized by subject matter). Search here:

State opinions of the Attorney General (official written advisory opinions on issues of state law related to Supplemental Environmental Project when formerly requested by a designated government officer):

Tools and Forms

Law in Other Regions

*This resource guide is updated frequently. However, if you notice something is wrong or not working, or any resources that should be added, please notify us in any of the "Leave a Comment" area.

Leave a Comment