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ENFORCEMENT AND COMPLIANCE ASSURANCE PROGRAM HIGHLIGHTS FY 1998 EFFORTS

Release Date: 03/26/99
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FOR RELEASE: FRIDAY, MARCH 26, 1999

ENFORCEMENT AND COMPLIANCE ASSURANCE PROGRAM
HIGHLIGHTS FY 1998 EFFORTS

EPA announced today that 266 criminal cases were referred to the Department of Justice and $92.8 million in criminal fines were assessed in fiscal year 1998. EPA also referred 411 civil cases and assessed $91.8 million in civil penalties. The combined 677 referrals and $184.6 million in fines and penalties were second only to the 704 referrals and $264.4 million in fines and penalties assessed in fiscal year 1997. The Agency also reached settlements to recover $230 million in Superfund Trust Fund expenditures. For the third year, the Agency reported performance measure data on pollution reduction amounts result from enforcement actions. The data show that during FY 1998 chlorofluorocarbons were reduced by over five million pounds, asbestos by more than seven million pounds, carbon monoxide by 188 million pounds and nitrogen oxide by 23.6 million pounds. About 46 percent of the civil enforcement settlements required violators to change the way they manage their facilities or reduce emissions or discharges into the environment, while another 54 percent required violators to improve their environmental management systems, take preventive action to avoid future non-compliance, or to enhance the public’s right-to-know. Also, polluters spent just over $2 billion dollars to correct violations, take additional steps to protect the environment, and clean up Superfund sites -- over $200 million more than was collectively spent the previous year.

As a part of EPA’s compliance incentive policies and strategies in FY 1998, at least 200 companies disclosed potential violations at 950 facilities under the auspices of the Agency’s self-disclosure (audit) policy and 63 companies have corrected violations at 390 facilities. Since the inception of the audit policy, a total of 450 companies have disclosed violations at 1,870 facilities and relief was granted to 164 companies at 540 facilities that returned to compliance. Working in partnership with business and labor, EPA created five new National Compliance Assistance Centers for the paints and coatings industry, small and medium sized chemical manufacturing, transportation and printed wiring board industries, as well as one for local governments. There now are nine compliance assistance centers. In another emphasis on compliance assistance, EPA published nine new Sector Notebooks – a series of industry-specific multi-media profiles, which helps owners and operators of regulated industries understand their regulatory obligations and identify ways to run their businesses more economically and efficiently. There are now a total of 28 Sector Notebooks. During fiscal year 1998, EPA also took a major step in furthering the Administration’s “public right-to-know” efforts by establishing the Sector Facility Indexing Project. This project made environmental data publicly available on 653 facilities in five key industrial sectors -- automobile assembly, pulp manufacturing, petroleum refining, iron and steel production and primary smelting. The information includes the size of the facilities, their annual estimated release of chemicals into the environment and their historical compliance record. A summary of major criminal and civil enforcement actions and compliance activities, as well as, enforcement highlights for FY 1998 are available upon request. Information regarding the Compliance Centers, Sector Notebooks and Sector Facility Indexing Project, can be accessed at: http://www.epa.gov/oeca/bgs2.html.


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