Focused effort on high-impact cases leads to increases in pollution reduced and investments in pollution controls
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its annual enforcement and compliance results. EPA’s enforcement and compliance program enforces environmental laws that protect our nation’s air, land and water by taking action to cut illegal pollution and protect people’s health and communities. In 2011, EPA enforcement actions led to more than 1.8 billion lb in pollution reduced, an estimated $19 billion in required pollution controls and approximately $168 million in civil penalties.
“Our annual results reflect the fact that a strong and effective enforcement program is good for responsible businesses, public health and communities across the country,” said Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “As we continue our focus on the most serious pollution problems, we expect to see better environmental performance and greater public health benefits.”
In fiscal year 2011, EPA enforcement resulted in commitments to:
• Install pollution controls for a cleaner tomorrow: $19 billion invested to improve environmental performance and compliance efforts, a record year, including $3 billion dollars to clean up hazardous waste in communities;
• Protect people’s health from dangerous pollution: 1.8 billion lb of harmful air, water, and chemical pollution reduced and 3.6 billion lb of hazardous waste reduced, properly disposed of or treated;
• Deter illegal pollution through civil penalties: $168 million in civil penalties assessed ($152 million in federal penalties and $16 million in actions taken jointly by EPA and state and local governments);
• Fight environmental crime: $35 million in fines and restitution, $2 million in court ordered environmental projects and 89.5 years of incarceration to deter future violations and hold violators accountable; and
• Invest additional resources in affected communities: $25 million committed by companies through enforcement settlements to conduct supplemental environmental projects in communities.
Cases under EPA’s national enforcement initiatives, which focus enforcement and compliance resources and expertise on serious pollution problems affecting communities, produced the majority of commitments to install pollution controls and led to settling important cases, including the settlement with the Tennessee Valley Authority, which will lead to up to $27 billion in annual health benefits and provide $350 million for environmental projects to benefit communities.