Dec 24, 2014

EPA Releases 2014 Annual Environmental Enforcement Results

EPA’s cases resulted in $163 million in combined federal administrative, civil judicial penalties and criminal fines

EPA regulations, compliance, chesapeake appalachia, fines, storm water

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its annual enforcement and compliance results reflecting a focus on large cases driving industry compliance and that have a high impact on protecting public health and the environment.

In fiscal year 2014, EPA enforcement actions required companies to invest more than $9.7 billion in actions and equipment to control pollution and clean up contaminated sites. 

Results include:

  • Reductions of approximately 337 million lb of water pollutants
  • Clean up of an estimated 856 million cubic yards of contaminated water/aquifers

EPA pursues high impact cases that drive compliance across industries:

  • The nation’s second largest natural gas producer, Chesapeake Appalachia, agreed to restore streams and wetlands damaged from its operations and implement a comprehensive plan to comply with water protection laws

EPA holds criminal violators accountable that threaten the health and safety of Americans, while directing funds to affected communities: 

  • EPA’s criminal program generated $63 million in fines and restitution, secured $16 million in court-ordered environmental projects and sentenced defendants to a combined 155 years of incarceration.
  • After EPA pursued the case, Tonawanda Coke was found guilty and required to pay a $12.5 million criminal penalty and to fund $12.2 million in community service in New York, for releasing benzene from its facility into neighboring communities.

EPA enforcement work reduces pollution in the sectors that impact American communities the most:

  • Reducing dangerous air toxics released from industrial flares at refineries and chemical plants, requiring companies like Shell and DuPont to implement monitoring and pollution control technologies. These efforts are equipping minority and low-income communities with monitoring data, while reducing toxic air pollution for residents living near the facilities.
  • EPA is working closely with cities such as East Bay MUD (California), Metropolitan Water Reclamation District(Illinois) and Miami-Dade County (Florida) to cut discharges of raw sewage and contaminated storm water through integrated planning, green infrastructure and other approaches.

EPA ensures companies and federal facilities take responsibility and clean up toxic pollution they create:

  • Polluted sites across the country are being cleaned up while EPA conserves and recovers federal funds. This year, settlements will result in more than $453.7 million in commitments from responsible parties to clean up Superfund sites, and return $57.7 million to the Superfund trust.

Major cases developed in 2014, but not included in fiscal year 2014 statistics demonstrate EPA’s ongoing commitment to tough enforcement: 

  • The largest cleanup settlement in American history, with Anadarko and Kerr McGee, will put more than $4.4 billion into toxic pollution cleanup, improving water quality and removing dangerous materials in tribal and overburdened communities. 
  • A settlement with Alpha Natural Resources, one of the country’s largest coal companies, requires it to protect water quality in communities near their coal mining operations in five states.