Environmental Compliance Program

Environmental Compliance

Environmental Compliance is an integral part of environmental protection. Compliance with the nation's environmental laws is the ultimate objective and is a vital part of encouraging governments, businesses and companies who are regulated to meet their environmental obligations.  The goal of the Department’s environmental compliance program is to proactively inspect and assess facilities and operations for compliance with applicable Federal, state, and local environmental laws and regulations, and E.O.s to avoid Notices of Violation (NOV), monetary fines, and criminal penalties, and to remain good stewards of the environment.

The Department has partnered with the US Army Corps of Engineers to use their CPTrack environmental compliance assessment and reporting system. Within CPTrack is a facility survey feature that facilitates a risk-based assessment.

Environmental Liabilities

Environmental liability is an umbrella term.  The term "environmental liabilities" crops up in many discussions of environmental issues.  Yet there is much confusion about the term.  Often, "environmental liabilities" is used to refer to the potential for fines, penalties, and jail terms for violations of environmental laws.  "Environmental liabilities" also frequently serves as short-hand to refer to the cleanup obligations under the federal Superfund and state counterpart laws for contaminated sites.  Another common usage is to label the costs involved in complying with regulations as "environmental liabilities."  In contrast, when organizations perform or commission "environmental liability" assessments, they want to know their exposure to potential environmental liabilities even when they are in complete compliance with regulatory standards.

Environmental Management System

An Environmental Management System integrates environmental considerations, including both legal requirements and objectives for improvement (e.g. energy conservation, waste reduction, etc.), into an organization’s day-to-day activities.  It is a formal management framework that provides a systematic way to review and improve environmental performance, create awareness, and manage progress towards the Department’s environmental objectives, including Strategic Sustainability Performance Plan goals. 


Office of Facilities and Environmental Quality
Office of the Chief Financial Officer and Assistant Secretary for Administration
U.S. Department of Commerce

Send questions and comments about this page to ContactOFEQ@doc.gov

Page last updated:November 1, 2016