Supplemental environmental projects (SEPs) are environmentally beneficial projects not otherwise legally required that a respondent agrees to undertake as part of a settlement agreement to resolve an enforcement action.
When appropriate, the Maricopa County Air Quality Department (MCAQD) will accept SEPs in lieu of fines paid directly to the department. In October 2012, MCAQD adopted a SEP Policy, which identifies:
Categories and criteria that projects must meet to be considered for approval as SEPs and the approval process for SEPs
The penalty mitigation appropriate for a particular SEP
The terms and conditions under which they may become part of a settlement
The department’s position is that it is in the public interest for SEPs to be an option in enforcement settlements and that they may be funded, in whole or in part, by respondents. Further, a clear linkage should exist between the actual or potential environmental and public health impacts of a violation(s) of law that are the subject of an enforcement settlement and benefits of a SEP, as defined in A.R.S. §49-117.
A SEP may be developed by a respondent as a unique proposal intended to fulfill the criteria contained in the SEP Policy as well as meeting the specific needs or preferences of the proposing entity. A respondent developing a unique proposal should submit a Respondent Custom SEP Application.
A respondent may elect to pursue a SEP proposed by a third party to avoid the costs and time associated with SEP development. Respondents may choose from a list of pre-approved SEPs included in the SEP Idea Library.