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EPA Achieves Significant Compliance and Enforcement Progress in 2001

Release Date: 01/31/2002
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Environmental News


EPA Achieves Significant Compliance and Enforcement Progress in 2001

Cleaner Air, Water and Land Result of Successful State, Local Partnerships

Luke C. Hester 202-564-7818 /

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today released data on its enforcement and compliance assurance results for FY 2001, which included record-setting expenditures of $4.3 billion by violators for pollution controls and environmental cleanup. The program also secured commitments for an estimated reduction of more than 660 million pounds of harmful pollutants and the treatment and safe management of an estimated record 1.84 billion pounds of pollutants.
By working in partnership with state and local governments, environmental groups, other organizations, and local citizens, the Agency advanced the goal of assuring Americans a cleaner, safer, healthier environment.

“With our state and local partners, we set a high priority on areas that posed serious threats to health and the environment,” said EPA Administrator Christie Whitman. “The Administration is determined to actively pursue those who fail to comply with the law while working closely with the regulated community to find workable and flexible solutions.”

EPA’s FY2001 enforcement and compliance results include:
  • actions requiring violators to invest $4.3 billion in pollution control and cleanup measures—the highest-ever such investment;
  • enforcement actions requiring violators to reduce an estimated 660 million pounds of pollutants and treat and safely manage an estimated 1.84 billion pounds;
  • the settlement of 222 civil judicial cases and the issuance of 3,228 administrative orders and field citations;
  • a vigorous criminal program resulting in prison sentences totaling 256 years—an increase of more than 100 years over FY2000—for criminal violations; such violations also resulted in nearly $95 million in fines and restitution;
  • supplemental environmental projects totaling $89 million—up 60 percent from $55.8 million in FY2000; these involve actions beyond injunctive relief that a violator agrees to undertake to protect the environment and human health in exchange for a penalty reduction; and
  • compliance assistance for more than one million individuals and businesses by direct assistance or through EPA’s Compliance Assistance Centers.

EPA undertook a strategic, comprehensive effort to achieve environmental and health protection goals through incentives that encourage those being regulated to conduct self-audits and inspections of facilities to identify violations, and to take strong and swift enforcement actions to correct existing violations and deter further ones.

Major priorities included compliance with the Clean Air Act New Source Review/Prevention of Significant Deterioration rules dealing with excess pollutant releases from facilities evading permit requirements; regulations governing protection of drinking water and illegal discharges from combined and sanitary sewer outflows and animal feeding operations; and compliance by permit evaders, those practicing illegal hazardous waste practices in violation of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act.

Additional highlights of EPA’s enforcement and compliance efforts in FY2001 include:
  • violators paying $125 million in civil penalties to the United States and an additional $25.2 million to states;
  • agreements under the Agency’s audit policy with 364 companies that resulted in the correction of violations at 1,754 facilities. The policy is intended to encourage self-detection, disclosure and correction of violations in exchange for a waiver or reduction in penalties.

Further information on EPA enforcement and compliance programs is available at:

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U.S. EPA FY01 Enforcement and Compliance Data

Numbers at a Glance

2001 2000
Civil Enforcement:
Injunctive Relief: $4,396,018,367 $2,562,824,364
Civil Judicial Penalties: $ 101,683,157 $ 54,851,765
Administrative Penalties $ 23,782,264 $ 25,509,879
Judicial Settlements: 222 219
Referrals to Justice Dept. 327 368
Admin. Orders and Field Citations 3,228 5,310*
Admin. Penalty Ord. Complaints 1,584 1,763

State’s Share of Civil $25 million $15 million
Judicial Penalties

Criminal Enforcement
Fines $ 94,726,283 $ 121,974,488
Sentences in Years 256 146
Referrals to Justice Dept 256 236
Defendants Charged: 372 360
Cases Initiated 482 477

Supplemental Environmental Projects (Value) $ 89,134.956 $ 55,888,396

Compliance Assistance (Entities Reached)
Regional Assistance 550,000 450,000
Compliance Assistance Centers 485,000 400,000
Clearinghouse Visitors (1st year) 62,000

Audit Policy Settlements
      Companies 364 217
Facilities Affected 1,754** 437

Federal Facilities
Enforcement Actions 51 46
Civil Penalties $1,367,243 $ 140,010
Injunctive Relief $2,164,000 $370,000,000***

Superfund Cleanup Enforcement
Private Party Commitments Over $1.7 bil. Over $1.4 bil.
Orphan Share Compensation Over $22.9 mil. More than $19.1 mil
de minimus settlements/parties 15/Over 1,900

*The significant number of administrative settlements in FY01 was due to 1,700 Safe Drinking Water Act administrative enforcement actions related to non-submissions of the required Consumer Confidence Report, an annual drinking water quality report for consumers.

**The increase in facilities involved in Audit Policy settlements is due, largely in part, to the Agency’s continuing efforts to encourage corporations with multiple facilities to conduct corporate-wide audits and develop corporate compliance systems. EPA has reached corporate-wide agreements with the telecommunications and iron and steel sectors.

***More than $350 million of this amount was attributed to cleanup involving the Massachusetts Military Reservation.

TOP 20 Pollutants Estimated to be Reduced
from 2001 Settled Enforcement Cases
      Lbs. Reduced
    Dredge & Fill
    Toxin Contaminated Soil
    Sulfur Dioxide (SO2)
    Nitrogen Oxide (NOx)
    VOC Contaminated Groundwater
    Petroleum Refinery Sludge
    Volatile Organic Chemicals (VOCs)
    Particulate Matter
    PCB Waste
    Carbon Monoxide
    Dioxin Contaminated Waste
    Mine Tailings
    Sulfate Turpentine
    Oil Waste
    Total Suspended Solids
    Sodium Hydroxide
Compliance and Enforcement Progress in FY 2001
Detailed Summary

Pollutants Reduction: In 2001, EPA's enforcement actions required violators to reduce an estimated 660 million pounds and treat or safely manage an estimated 1.84 billion pounds of pollutants. Major estimated pollution reductions through enforcement included: Soil—720 million pounds of dredge and fill material associated with the illegal wetlands ditching and excavation, and 541 million pounds of soil contaminated with toxins. Air—370 million pounds of sulfur dioxide (SO2), which contributes to respiratory illness, particularly in children and the elderly, and aggravates existing heart and lung diseases, and 316 million pounds of nitrogen oxide (NOX) which is one of the main ingredients involved in the formation of ground-level ozone and can trigger serious respiratory problems. Water—149 million pounds of ground water contaminated with volatile organic compounds (VOCs), many of which are known or suspected carcinogens.

Contributing to the significant required air pollutant reductions were civil enforcement settlements involving Motiva/Equilon/Shell, which is estimated to result in an annual reduction of 51,000 tons SO2 and 19,500 tons of NOx through the use of upgraded technologies, and a similar agreement with BP Amoco, which is estimated to cut NOx and SO2 by more than 40,000 tons a year. These reductions are consistent with the Agency’s goal of reducing emissions of six principal air pollutants (carbon monoxide, lead, nitrogen dioxide, ozone, particulate matter, and sulfur dioxide). In the past 30 years, the total emissions of the six principal air pollutants decreased 31 percent.

Civil Enforcement: EPA’s civil enforcement program’s goal is to maintain a consistent federal enforcement presence, as a deterrent to non-compliance and in support of state enforcement activities. In FY 2001, EPA saw a civil enforcement program that resulted in many successes including injunctive relief valued at $4.3 billion that will undo past harm and prevent future damage to the environment. Violators also paid $125 million in civil penalties with an additional $25.5 million going to states in shared penalties. Assessing civil penalties establishes a level playing field for regulated entities by eliminating economic advantage gained through noncompliance. EPA settled 222 civil judicial cases and issued 3,228 administrative orders and field citations involving violations of a single statute or multiple statutes. In a major multi-statute enforcement case, Morton International Inc. agreed on Oct. 26, 2001, to resolve charges that it violated clean air, clean water and hazardous waste laws at its Moss Point, Miss., facility under a civil settlement and criminal plea agreement with the United States and Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality. Morton paid a $20 million penalty and will spend up to $16 million on projects to enhance the environment. EPA also took 51 enforcement actions against federal facilities, an increase of five from last year, for violations of numerous federal environmental statutes.

EPA’s efforts in the petroleum refinery sector continue to produce large gains in reducing air pollution. In FY2001, EPA reached “global” settlements with four major refiners (Koch Petroleum, BP Amoco, Marathon Ashland Petroleum and Motiva/Equilon/Shell) addressing CAA violations of NSR/PSD, Leak Detection and Repair, Benzene Waste-NESHAP (National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants) and flaring/NSPS (New Source Performance Standards) requirements. These settlements involved 27 refineries and 28.8 percent of domestic refining capacity. The addition of air pollution controls combined with operational changes will result an estimated annual reduction of 87,000 tons of SOx, 49,500 tons of NOx, 8,220 tons of volatile organic VOCs and 2,100 tons of particulate matter (PM). The Agency is negotiating global settlements with five refineries representing more than 25 percent of refining capacity.

Criminal Enforcement: During FY 2001, EPA maintained a strong criminal enforcement program to bring to justice those who violated the law knowingly or willingly. Over the year, among other enforcement accomplishments, the criminal program initiated 482 cases and 372 defendants charged. The guilty paid nearly $95 million in fines and restitution, and were sentenced to 256 years in prison– an increase of more than 100 years from 2000. In addition to committing resources and manpower to the Agency’s criminal enforcement efforts, EPA’s criminal staff also worked closely with other federal law enforcement agencies as part of the federal government’s response to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Since the attacks, criminal investigations and forensics staff have been providing crisis management support to other federal agencies to combat domestic terrorism.

In 2001, the Agency successfully prosecuted the first criminal case involving a violation of the Lead Hazard Reduction Act. On July 11, 2001, David D. Nuyen of Silver Spring, M.D., who owned and managed approximately 15 low-income rental properties in the District of Columbia and Maryland, pled guilty to making false statements in violation of the Lead Hazard Reduction Act and the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). When sentenced, he faces up to two years in prison and up to a $1.5 million fine.

Compliance Assistance: To help the regulated community understand and fully comply with environmental requirements, EPA provided compliance assistance more than 550,000 businesses and provided financial and other support to 10 Internet-based Compliance Assistance Centers created to help small and medium-sized businesses, local governments, and federal facilities. In FY 2001, the public and regulated entities visited the Centers more than 485,000 times, an increase of 19 percent from FY 2000. These visits included more than 150,000 requests compliance documents. Other compliance assistance tools such as hotlines, workshops and guidance materials effectively reached more than one–half million regulated entities. Also, in 2001, EPA launched the National Assistance Clearinghouse. The Clearinghouse is a web-based searchable reference tool that provides a quick access to compliance assistance materials and a means for the user to interact with EPA, states and other compliance assistance providers. The Clearinghouse contains almost 4,500 links, including resources from all 50 states. In its first year of operation, 62,000 visitors viewed more than 183,000 web pages.

Compliance Incentives: In FY 2001, EPA’s Audit and Small Business Policies continued to provide a significant incentive for many companies to improve their environmental management practices. Under the Audit Policy, regulated facilities detect, disclose, and correct environmental violations in exchange for a waiver or significant reduction in penalties from EPA. In 2001, EPA completed Audit Policy agreements with 364 companies to conduct self-audits and correct violations at 1,754 facilities. In 2001, EPA also successfully worked with solicited industry sectors, such as steel mini-mills, petroleum refineries, telecommunications, and property management, to use the Audit Policy through tailored initiatives to improve environmental management at their facilities.

Supplemental Environmental Projects: A supplemental environmental project (SEP) involves actions an violator agrees to undertake to protect the environment and human health beyond required injunctive relief in exchange for a penalty reduction. In FY 2001, SEPs valued $89.1 million, up 60 percent from last year’s value of $55.8 million. Significant SEPs in 2001 included environmental projects funded by Air Liquide America Corporation and by S.C. Johnson. In June 2001, Air Liquide agreed to dedicate an undeveloped parcel of land having ecological value as open or “green” space in the industrialized area of Calcasieu Parish. This land will not be used for industrial purposes in the future and is aimed at benefitting the primarily lower income, predominately minority community. In 2001, S.C. Johnson and Company agreed to provide funding to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America to purchase and staff a Mobile Asthma Clinic (“BreathmobileŽ”) for specialized and preventative health care to Baltimore’s high-risk, inner-city and underprivileged children. The settlement funds the BreathmobileŽ for one year of diagnosis and treatment at a cost of nearly $700,000.

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