Skip to Main Content
Services Talent Knowledge
Site Search


Our attorneys stay on top of changes in legislation, agency regulations, case law, and industry trends—then craft timely legal alerts to keep clients up to date on legal developments important to their business.

April 22, 2020

COVID-19: EPA Relaxes Provisions for Quality Assurance Testing

Following its prior guidance on enforcement and compliance assurance during the COVID-19 pandemic, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published an interim final rule on April 17 temporarily relaxing requirements for sources that perform certain quality assurance tests required under 40 CFR 75 during the pandemic.

Part 75 governs the emissions-reporting regulations applicable to sources that monitor emissions using continuous emissions monitoring systems (CEMS) to report emissions for compliance with Clean Air Act programs, including the Acid Rain Program, the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR), and the NOX SIP Call. Quality assurance tests of CEMS have to be conducted on a regular basis, are often performed by outside contractors, and require logistical coordination with employees, state regulators, and laboratories to meet the regulatory deadlines for conducting and reporting tests—all of which have been impacted by the restrictions from COVID-19. Under Part 75, when a plant misses a deadline, they must report substitute data that is intentionally higher than what the source typically emits.

Under the interim final rule, if an affected unit fails to complete a required quality-assurance, certification or recertification, fuel analysis, or emission rate test by the applicable deadline due to COVID-19 and “if the unit’s actual monitored data would be considered valid if not for the delayed test,” actual monitored data may be reported as opposed to substitute data. Sources taking advantage of the rule’s relaxed requirements must maintain documentation, notify the EPA when a test is delayed and later completed, and certify to the EPA that they meet the criteria for using the amended reporting procedures. If any of these requirements cannot be met or if monitored data are missing or invalid for any non-COVID-19 related reason, substitute data must be reported. In addition, delayed tests must be completed as soon as practicable after relevant COVID-19-related restrictions are lifted.

Importantly, the interim final rule does not suspend emissions-monitoring or reporting requirements or alter emissions standards under any program. The EPA, therefore, does not expect that the temporary amendments will cause any change in emissions levels, impact air quality, or result in any harm to public health or the environment that might occur from increased emissions. To this end, the rule is expected to have a positive impact on public health by assisting efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19 by facilitating plant operators’ efforts to comply with travel and plant access restrictions imposed to protect public health during the COVID-19 emergency.

The interim final rule is effective immediately and applies to quality assurance tests due, including any applicable grace periods, after the declaration of the national emergency on March 13. The extensions expire the earlier of: (1) when it is practicable for the power plant operator to complete the delayed test(s); (2) the end of the national emergency plus a 60-day grace period, or (3) 180 days after the rule is published in the Federal Register.

We have a specific team of Barclay Damon attorneys who are actively working on assessing regulatory, legislative, and other governmental updates related to COVID-19 and who are prepared to assist clients. If you have any questions regarding the content of this alert, please contact Yvonne Hennessey, Environmental Practice Area chair and co-team leader of the Oil & Gas, Linear Infrastructure, and Energy Markets Teams, at or another member of the Environmental Practice Area.


Click here to sign up for alerts, blog posts, and firm news.

Featured Media


The New York FY 2025 Budget – CDPAP FIs Under Threat


Website Accessibility Lawsuits: Several "Tester" Plaintiffs—Anderson, Beauchamp, Murray, Angeles, Monegro, and Bullock—Targeting Businesses in Recent Flurry of Lawsuits


Updated Bulletin on Tracking Technologies in the Health Care Industry


NYS Board of Regents Adopts Regulations on the Mental Health Diagnostic Privilege


First Department Clarifies Pleading Requirements Under NYS Child Victims Act


Beneficial Ownership Reporting Requirements Under the CTA: Quarterly Reminder

We're Growing in DC!

We’re excited to announce Barclay Damon’s combination with Washington DC–based Shapiro, Lifschitz & Schram. SLS’s 10 lawyers, three paralegals, and four administrative staff will join Barclay Damon while maintaining their current office in DC’s central business district. Our clients will benefit from SLS’s corporate, real estate, finance, and construction litigation experience and national energy-industry profile, and their clients from our full range of services.

Read More

This site uses cookies to give you the best experience possible on our site and in some cases direct advertisements to you based upon your use of our site.

By clicking [I agree], you are agreeing to our use of cookies. For information on what cookies we use and how to manage our use of cookies, please visit our Privacy Statement.

I AgreeOpt-Out