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PR EPA MAINTAINS RECORD LEVELS OF ENFORCEMENT

Release Date: 11/30/94
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PR EPA MAINTAINS RECORD LEVELS OF ENFORCEMENT

FOR RELEASE: WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 30, 1994

EPA MAINTAINS RECORD LEVELS OF ENFORCEMENT

AND LAUNCHES NEW COMPLIANCE APPROACH IN FY 94

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Carol M. Browner announced today that the Agency took a record number of enforcement actions in 1994 to protect public health and the environment, while launching several new approaches to ensure that companies and individuals comply with the nation's environmental laws.

The Agency brought 2,247 enforcement actions with sanctions in fiscal year 1994, 137 more than were taken during the previous record year of FY 1993. In addition, Browner said that the Agency's enforcement and compliance operation had been reorganized in the past year with an emphasis on targeting serious violators, promoting pollution prevention, and developing innovative approaches to longterm compliance.

"The Clinton Administration aims to find new ways of solving environmental problems to help community residents and industry -- the people who must live with environmental decisions -- work together toward common sense solutions," Browner said.

"Our message is clear and simple. A strong, effective enforcement program is part and parcel of that approach. We must level the playing field and make sure that compliance is rewarded and that bad actors receive no gain whatsoever from violations of the law," Browner stated.

Browner noted that a special policy to help small businesses comply with the Clean Air Act was among the initiatives launched in 1994. Among its provisions, the new policy allows small businesses 90 to 180 days to correct any violations discovered under the program, without facing enforcement actions during that time period.

Steven A. Herman, EPA's Assistant Administrator for Enforcement and Compliance Assurance, also emphasized the environmental results achieved through innovative agreements and consent decrees which require companies to implement pollution prevention measures, restore locally polluted environmental areas, and other environmentally beneficial projects.

The record number of enforcement actions consisted of 220 criminal cases, 1,597 administrative penalty actions, 403 new civil referrals to the Department of Justice, and 27 additional civil referrals to enforce existing consent decrees.

The EPA also announced that in FY 1994:

    preliminary penalty estimates totaled a record $165.2 million combined for civil penalties and criminal fines.
    preliminary estimates indicate that injunctive relief and supplemental environmental projects in non-Superfund
cases exceeded $747.5 million.
    new Superfund private party cleanup commitments exceeded $1.4 billion and another $206 million was returned to the U. S. Treasury through cost recovery actions.
Herman also said the FY 1994 enforcement accomplishments are especially satisfying, since they were recorded during the reorganization of EPA's enforcement and compliance programs.

"With the reorganization complete, EPA's Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance is well positioned to use all of its enforcement and compliance tools in the most creative ways, and work with states and tribes, our partners in the enforcement process, both to identify and resolve violations and to promote long-term compliance to protect the public and the environment nationwide," Herman said.

The reorganization, which officially took effect in June 1994, created new offices to emphasize environmental justice, enhance relationships with states and Indian tribes, and to provide more technical compliance assistance to the regulated community.


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