Interim Guidance: Settling Civil Penalty and Punitive Damage Claims for Noncompliance with Superfund Administrative Orders

Transmittal memorandum and policy document for settling noncompliance with administrative orders under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA, commonly referred to as Superfund) § 106(b)(1) civil penalty and § 107(c)(3) punitive damages claims. The 1997 policy included a matrix to determine the appropriate penalties for violations. Issued 9/30/1997.

Civil penalties may be sought when EPA enforces a CERCLA section 106(a) administrative order, and punitive damages may be sought when Superfund monies have been spent as a result of noncompliance with an administrative order. The policy does not alter existing policy on the collection of stipulated penalties. 

The rule, which is mandated by the 1990 Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act, requires adjustments to the maximum civil monetary penalties to keep pace with inflation and to maintain the deterrent effect. The latest revised penalty matrix was issued on September 6, 2016.

For information on the current and past revisions to the penalty matrix, visit the Penalty Matrix for CERCLA Section 106(b)(1) Civil Penalty Policy Web page.

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