EPA Enforcement Summary for Fiscal Year 2017
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently released its annual results for enforcement and compliance for 2017 that may be viewed at: (https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2018-01/documents/fy17-enforcement-annual-results-data-graphs.pdf). Below is a summary of the most relevant results for our clients:
As a result of CERCLA (Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act) and RCRA (Resource Conservation and Recovery Act), various companies committed to remediate approximately 400 million cubic yards of contaminated water 10 million cubic yards of contaminated soil through enforcement actions.
The total value of criminal fines, restitution, and court ordered projects was $2.98 billion. The majority of the total value was due to the Volkswagen AG criminal case and settlement that occurred due to allegations that the company violated the Clean Air Act (CAA) by selling approximately 600,000 models year 2009 to 2016 with devices capable of cheating federal emissions tests.
The number of cases opened continues to decline, as does the number of defendants charged for criminal enforcement, while the number of sentencing years increases due to renewable fuels fraud prosecutions.
The EPA has required companies to invest approximately $20 billion in control device equipment to reduce pollutants being released into the environment and actions to refrain or reduce the action that created pollutants.
Around $1.6 billion has been assessed in federal and civil cases. The penalty from the Volkswagen case was record setting at $1.45 billion.
The EPA conducted nearly 11,700 inspections/ evaluations which has continued to decrease on a year over year basis for the past eight years (excluding actions taken by state and local entities).
The EPA also shows a comparison between previous fiscal years and the most recent year in the pdf link shown above.