Annual EPA Enforcement Results Highlight Focus On Major Environmental Violations
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently released its annual enforcement and compliance results demonstrating a focus on violations that have the most impact on public health.
“Our enforcement work over the past year reflects our focus on the biggest violators and the cases that make the most difference in protecting American communities from pollution,” said Cynthia Giles, Assistant Administrator for EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “Big cases like the Deepwater Horizon disaster and Walmart’s illegal handling of pesticides and hazardous waste resulted in nationwide reforms and billions of dollars to help affected communities. We’ve reduced deadly air toxics from refineries and chemical plants and cleaned up toxic pollution in communities. We’re working with cities to cut discharges of raw sewage and contaminated storm water to the nation’s waters. Driving compliance and deterring violations in these sectors is a critical way EPA protects the air, water and land on which Americans depend, and creates a level playing field for companies that do the right thing.”
Highlights from fiscal year 2013 include
- EPA’s cases resulted in criminal sentences requiring violators to pay more than $4.5B in combined fines, restitution and court-ordered environmental projects that benefit communities, and more than $1.1B in civil penalties.
- Pursuing justice for Gulf Coast residents through the Deepwater Horizon cases, resulting in over $3.7B going back to benefit the Gulf States and communities impacted by the spill.
- Requiring Walmart to commit to cutting edge hazardous waste handling systems, as well as compliance and training programs that will protect employees and nearby residents. Walmart also paid more than $80M in fines and penalties for mishandling pesticides and hazardous waste.
- Ensuring that companies take responsibility and clean up the toxic pollution they create. In a landmark settlement, AVX Corporation committed to pay over $366M to clean up contamination in Massachusetts’s New Bedford Harbor, the largest single-site cash settlement in Superfund history.
- Reducing dangerous air toxics released from industrial flares at refineries and chemical plants, requiring companies to implement technologies that control emissions. A recent Clean Air Act settlement with Shell Deer Park in Texas requires continuous monitoring of cancer-causing benzene and vehicle retrofits to reduce diesel emissions, put in place to benefit nearby overburdened communities. See another example of innovative pollution controls from Country mark Refining.
- Reducing emissions from coal fired power plants, requiring companies to cut pollution and conduct mitigation projects that promote energy efficiency and protect clean air for local communities. See examples from Wisconsin Power and Light, Dominion Energy and Louisiana Generating.
- Working with cities to cut discharges of raw sewage and contaminated storm water to the nation’s waters through integrated planning, green infrastructure and other innovative approaches. This helps cities manage resources better, cut pollution and improve quality of life for local residents. Recent settlements with Seattle and King Co., WA and Wyandotte County, KS require cities to initially provide relief to overburdened communities most impacted by sewage discharges. Other examples of innovative settlements include San Antonio, TX and Jackson, MS.
For more information, visit http://www2.epa.gov/enforcement/enforcement-annual-results-fiscal-year-fy-2013.
SOURCE: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency