State environmental investigators inspected fewer potential violations in 2020 than in 2019, but the number of enforcement actions reached their highest level in nearly a decade, according to a new study from Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility.
Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) investigators did find more violations in 2020 than in 2019 as industry compliance rates fell. The agency initiated 742 enforcement cases in 2020. That’s the highest yearly total since 2011, when more than 1,100 cases were opened.
But DEP conducted fewer inspections “in every major program” except one, according to a news release about the Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) study.
“There were steep decreases in inspections in the dredge and fill and domestic wastewater programs while inspections of potable water facilities plummeted 75% from the prior year,” the release noted.