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Compliance and Enforcement Annual Results FY2008

In Fiscal Year (FY) 2008, the Environmental Protection Agency’s Enforcement and Compliance Program concluded civil and criminal enforcement actions requiring polluters to invest an estimated $11.8 billion to reduce pollution, clean up contaminated land and water, achieve compliance and implement environmentally beneficial projects.  This investment is the largest amount ever achieved by EPA.

Civil and criminal defendants have committed to reduce pollution by approximately 3.9 billion pounds when these activities are completed.  This is approximately equal to the amount of pollution reduced over the previous four years combined.

Bar Chart showing increase in commitments for pollution reduction from 2004 - 2008

Larger version of this chart (PDF) (40 pp, 231KB, about PDF)

Bar chart showing investments in pollution control and clean up from 2004 to 2008

Larger version of this chart (PDF) (40 pp, 231KB, about PDF)

EPA continued to provide a strong and active enforcement and compliance program in Fiscal Year 2008 by focusing federal resources on important environmental problems that EPA has designated as National Priorities.  Air priority enforcement efforts achieved commitments to reduce an estimated 1,654 million pounds of pollutants and required investment of an estimated $4.8 billion in pollution controls, while water priority enforcement efforts obtained commitments to reduce an estimated 1,534 million pounds and required investment of almost $3 billion in pollution controls. In addition, EPA obtained enforcement commitments from parties responsible for managing hazardous waste to treat, minimize or properly dispose of an estimated 6.5 billion pounds of hazardous waste.

FY 2008 enforcement actions resulted in significant public health benefits (PDF) (40 pp, 231K, About PDF).   An estimated $35 billion in health benefits will be achieved through the top 10 FY 2008 air stationary source enforcement actions.  Approximately 1.7 billion pounds of sulfur oxides, nitrogen oxides and particulate matter will be reduced per year when all the required pollution controls are completed.   The annual human health benefits from these reductions include approximately 4,000 fewer premature deaths in people with heart or lung disease, 2,000 fewer hospital visits due to respiratory ailments, and 200,000 fewer days of missed school or work.

EPA is maintaining a vigorous Superfund enforcement program by maximizing potentially responsible party participation at sites.  In FY 2008 EPA obtained commitments from responsible parties to invest almost $1.6 billion for investigation and cleanup of Superfund sites.  This is the highest total in the last seven years. The Superfund enforcement program pursued cost recovery from liable parties in bankruptcy, improved management of special accounts, and promoted cleanup of contaminated property at federal facilities.

During FY 2008, EPA’s criminal enforcement program continued to emphasize priority cases with significant environmental, human health, and deterrence impact while balancing its overall case load across all pollution statutes. In FY 2008, prosecuted cases resulted in a total of $63.5 million levied in fines and restitution and 57 years of incarceration. 

EPA's federal facility enforcement program yielded particularly worthwhile results often exceeding results from prior years in FY 2008.   EPA achieved more settlements with federal facilities to pay penalties and address environmental violations than in 2006 and 2007 combined, resulting in federal facilities agreeing to pay over $1.4 million in penalties -- more than they paid in 2006 and 2007 combined. 

EPA is also preventing pollution and helping the regulated community to understand its environmental responsibilities as demonstrated by EPA's compliance and enforcement Government Performance and Results Act (PDF) (6 pp, 71K, About PDF) results that include compliance assistance monitoring and inspections, and incentive programs to promote self-policing and improvement in environmental management practices.   As a result of our compliance assistance tools in FY 2008, almost 2.6 million entities received compliance assistance from EPA-sponsored Web sites or from EPA personnel.

For more information, see our Numbers at a Glance and results charts and read the highlights of enforcement cases we resolved in 2008 and the compliance highlights we have offered.

Other FY2008 Accomplishments

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