- Allows polluters to conduct secret self-audits with the outcome remaining privileged, confidential, and unavailable to the public rather than requiring that they are monitored by independent agencies that protect our health and our environment.
- Provides polluters with immunity from fines or penalties as long as they self-report.
- Allows corporations to escape penalties and punishment when they violate state environmental laws.
- Deprives citizens of both the ability to obtain evidence of misconduct and also of introducing it into court, even if available.
- Ties the hands of prosecutors by allowing polluters to operate without liability for polluting the environment or harming citizen health, since it shields companies causing deliberate and currently criminal discharges.
- Makes DNR enforcement ineffective, giving businesses free reign to close their records to the public and pollute without fear of penalty.
Under the effective EPA policy of offering leniency and reduced fines with self-audits, there is no guarantee of privilege from disclosure or immunity from prosecution. One bad actor can quickly pollute a large area, yet it takes citizens years and money to redress that harm. Large companies have millions to spend on defending themselves from harmed citizens. Polluters need no more weapons in their arsenal.
This bill is like allowing a murderer to escape prosecution just because he confessed. It goes too far!