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EPA Declares Victory for Enforcement in 2010 but Results are Mixed

Date: December 10, 2010

Source: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

The EPA released its Enforcement and Compliance Results for 2010 as an "all-time EPA record," saying that through its actions, polluters will pay more than $110 million in civil penalties and have committed to spend an estimated $12 billion on pollution controls that when completed, will reduce air, land, and water pollution by more than 1.4 billion pounds. It is a good deal higher than the $5.3 billion in injunctive relief and 580 million pounds of pollution reduced in last year in fiscal 2009. But it is only slightly higher than the $11.7 billion figure for 2008, the last full year of the Bush administration, which secured 3.9 billion pounds in pollution reduction. It suggests that the ratio of injunctive relief to pollution reduced actually declined in 2010 compared to 2008.

EPA says that in FY10 it concluded 200 civil judicial enforcement cases, close to the fiscal 2009 number of 201, "making it the second best year of the past five." And EPA also says it addressed civil violations at 575 facilities and sites through its 200 judicial case conclusions in fiscal 2010, "many more" than the 318 facilities addressed in the fiscal 2009 case conclusions. The drop comes after EPA's enforcement office won its highest ever funding level, $600 million, in 2010.

PRESS RELEASE

EPA Announces 2010 Enforcement and Compliance Results / More than 1.4 billion pounds of harmful air, land, and water pollution to be reduced

Release date: 12/06/2010

Contact Information: Stacy Kika (News media only), kika.stacy@epa.gov, 202-564-0906, 202-564-4355

WASHINGTON The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced today the release of its annual enforcement and compliance results. In fiscal year (FY) 2010, EPA took enforcement and compliance actions that require polluters to pay more than $110 million in civil penalties and commit to spend an estimated $12 billion on pollution controls, cleanup, and environmental projects that benefit communities. These actions when completed will reduce pollution by more than 1.4 billion pounds and protect businesses that comply with regulations by holding non-compliant businesses accountable when environmental laws are violated.

"At EPA, we are dedicated to aggressively go after pollution problems that make a difference in our communities through vigorous civil and criminal enforcement," stated Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator for EPA's Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. "Our commitment to environmental enforcement is grounded in the knowledge that people not only desire, but expect, the protection of the water they drink, the air they breathe and the communities they call home."

EPA's civil enforcement actions for violations of the Clean Air Act alone will account for the reduction of an estimated 400 million pounds of air pollution per year. Those reductions will represent between $6.2 billion and $15 billion annually in avoided health costs. As a result of water cases concluded in FY 2010, EPA is ensuring that an estimated 1 billion pounds of water pollution per year will be reduced, eliminated or properly managed and investments in pollution control and environmental improvement projects from parties worth approximately $8 billion will be made. EPA's civil enforcement actions also led to commitments to treat, minimize or properly dispose of more than an estimated 11.8 billion pounds of hazardous waste.

EPA's criminal enforcement program opened 346 new environmental crime cases in FY 2010. These cases led to 289 defendants charged for allegedly committing environmental crimes, the largest number in five years, 198 criminals convicted and $41 million assessed in fines and restitution.

This year's annual results include an enhanced mapping tool that allows the public to view detailed information about the enforcement actions taken at more than 4,500 facilities that concluded in FY 2010 on an interactive map of the United States and its territories. The map shows facilities and sites where civil and criminal enforcement actions were taken for alleged violations of U.S. environmental laws regulating air, water, and land pollution. The mapping tool also displays community-based activities like the locations of the environmental justice grants awarded in FY 2010 and the Environmental Justice Showcase Communities.

The release of the EPA's enforcement and compliance results and the accompanying mapping tool are part of EPA's commitment to transparency. They are intended to improve public access to data and provide the public with tools to demonstrate EPA's efforts to protect human health and the environment in communities across the nation.

View the FY 2010 results and an announcement message from Assistant Administrator for the Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance Cynthia Giles: www.epa.gov/compliance/resources/reports/endofyear/eoy2010/index.html.

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