763. Each certifying official must sign and submit an Electronic Signature Agreement (ESA) in order to certify TRI forms in TRI-MEweb. What is the process for completing the ESA?
An Electronic Signature Agreement (ESA) form is a statement that declares that the registrant understands that any electronic signature executed with the electronic signature device is as legally binding as a handwritten signature and is required by EPA before any certifying official can certify and submit a TRI form created in TRI-MEweb.
New certifying officials: An ESA form is needed for certifying officials that have been newly designated for a TRI reporting facility. ESAs are created upon the certifying official creating a new CDX user account, adding the TRI-MEweb application, and applying for a certifying official role. There are two options available to obtain an ESA approval from EPA.
Option 1 – LexisNexis real-time ESA approval: EPA now provides an alternative method for certifying officials to process ESAs in real-time using a third-party identity verification vendor named LexisNexis. This real-time approval is possible because personal identifying information including last 4 digits of SSN is provided voluntarily by the certifying official to a third-party vendor (EPA does not collect any personal information from our users) to authenticate their identity. Third party verification and identification widgets are commonly used in the banking system. The most significant benefit from the LexisNexis method is that users will no longer need to wait up to 5 business days for an ESA approval by EPA. This alternate ESA approval method is optional. If the certifying official does not wish to provide personal information to a third-party vendor; they should submit a paper ESA form instead well in advance ahead of the July 1 deadline.
Option 2 – Paper ESA form: A printable ESA form can be generated during the CDX user account registration process. The ESA form must be signed and mailed to EPA’s Data Processing Center for approval before the certifying official can begin to certify any TRI forms transmitted by the preparer to CDX using TRI-MEweb. The “TRI-MEweb” link on the My CDX page will remain inactive until EPA processes the paper form ESA at the DPC. Hardcopy ESA approval may take up to five business days, so please plan accordingly or consider the option one, LexisNexis. The “TRI-MEweb” link on the MyCDX page is activated and updated when the paper ESA is approved.
Please send hard copy ESA forms through regular mail to:
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Attention: TRI Reporting Center
P.O. Box 10163
Fairfax, VA 22038
ESAs sent by certified mail or overnight mail (e.g., FedEx, UPS) should be sent to:
Attention: TRI-MEweb ESA
CGI Federal, Inc.
c/o EPA Reporting Center
12601 Fair Lakes Circle
Fairfax, VA 22033
TRIFID Signature Agreement(s) required for all certifying officials (preexisting and new): All certifying officials will also need to electronically sign a TRIFID Signature Agreement before obtaining access to any pending submissions to each TRIFID that has been added to the TRI-MEweb application. The TRIFID Signature Agreement form identifies the TRIFIDS that the certifying official will be responsible for when digitally signing TRI forms under the terms of the CDX ESA.
An ESA is needed if your preparer accidentally deletes the certifying official user profile with a previously approved ESA from TRI-MEweb after the 45-day reactivation period has expired.
An ESA is not needed if your certifying official submitted a signed ESA and EPA approved it in a previous year. He/she may continue to certify forms in following reporting years for the same facilities registered in their CDX certification module.