Asked why the agency hadn’t pursued such inspections before, Regan said the metrics in place to measure unannounced inspections weren’t at satisfactory levels.
He added that the pandemic “created a pause in terms of inspection levels.” But those things have been resolved and a plan is in place to “amp up our aggressiveness.”
The effort, however, could prove difficult given that shortages of criminal investigators and other agents have long strained the office (Greenwire, Jan. 25).
Recent data obtained by the watchdog group Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility showed that criminal referrals to the Department of Justice dropped by a third last fiscal year.
The agency acknowledged the staffing challenge but asserted it is a priority.
Regan declined to say how many unannounced inspections would take place.