EPA’s annual enforcement numbers up despite decrease in federal inspections
Posted February 12, 2018
Despite conducting the lowest number of federal inspections and evaluations in the last ten years, EPA’s annual enforcement and compliance results for fiscal year (FY) 2017 show increases in criminal and civil judicial penalties, and in commitments to clean up contaminated sites and reduce pollution.
EPA conducted approximately 12,000 federal inspections and evaluations in FY 2017, compared to 14,000 in FY 2016, and 16,000 in FY 2015. The highest number of federal inspections and evaluations occurred in FY 2007, at 22,000. EPA points out that in FY 2017, most of its enforcement actions centered on programs that are not delegated to the states or in states that did not have the resources, expertise, or the desire to take action themselves.
Going forward, EPA says it will focus its enforcement program on returning facilities to compliance by setting goals to reduce the time between identifying an environmental law violation and correcting it. EPA is also working to fully capture all its enforcement and compliance assistance work by tracking informal, as well as formal, enforcement and compliance actions.
Enforcement highlights for FY 2017 include:
- An increase in the value of commitments by private parties to clean up sites to more than $1.2 billion.
- An increase in the environmental benefits of EPA Superfund and RCRA Corrective Action enforcement, with commitments to address an estimated 20.5 million cubic yards of contaminated soil and 412 million cubic yards of contaminated water.
- An increase in the total of criminal fines, restitution, and mitigation to $2.98 billion.
- An increase in the years of incarceration resulting from EPA’s criminal enforcement actions to 150 years.
- An increase in the value of actions taken to improve compliance with the law and reduce pollution, to nearly $20 billion.
- $1.6 billion in administrative and civil judicial penalties.
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