U.S. EPA Releases Annual Enforcement Results and Mapping Tool
Release Date: 12/23/2009
Contact Information: Nancy Grantham, 617-918-1101
(Boston—December 23, 2009) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released enforcement results for fiscal year 2009, and has developed a new Web-based tool and interactive map that allows the public to get detailed information by location about the enforcement actions taken at approximately 4,600 facilities.
The new mapping tool allows the public to view the locations of facilities that were the subject of enforcement actions on interactive maps of the U.S. and territories. The maps show facilities where civil enforcement actions were taken for environmental laws for air, water, and land pollution, and a separate map shows criminal enforcement actions.
In FY2009, EPA concluded enforcement actions requiring polluters to invest more than $5 billion on pollution controls, cleanup, and environmental projects. Civil and criminal defendants committed to install controls and take other measures to reduce pollution by approximately 580 million pounds annually once all required controls are fully implemented.
Viewers can click on specific facilities to find historical information about the case, such as violations and monetary penalties. In addition, viewers can use the zoom function to find out which facilities are located near water bodies that are listed as "impaired” because they do not meet federal water quality standards.
EPA mapped the locations of more than 90 percent of the facilities that were the subject of enforcement actions last year. EPA did not map the locations of drinking water treatment plants due to potential security concerns.
For the past 10 years, EPA has described annual enforcement results by focusing primarily on two measures, the estimated pounds of pollutants reduced and estimated cost of commitments made by defendants to control or reduce pollution. These measures vary significantly from year to year and are dependent upon the number of large cases that settle in a given year.
While these large cases are a vital part of our work to protect public health and improve compliance, they do not reflect the totality of the annual environmental enforcement activities, and do not capture the number and variety of enforcement actions taken to help clean up local communities. The new mapping tool will help increase transparency, improve access to data, and provide the public with the bigger picture of enforcement activity occurring in communities around the country.
New England had a particularly successful year in enforcement. In Superfund, final settlements for cleanups of contaminated sites will result in the cleanup of 51.5 million cubic yards of contaminated media at 5 sites—up from 21.6 million in FY2008—and over $65 million in cost recovery—up from $30.8 million. Also in 2009, the value of injunctive relief due to enforcement in all EPA programs in the region was nearly $300 million.
EPA New England especially focused enforcement efforts on the impacts of pollution on disadvantaged populations. The Region reached major settlements in two diesel idling cases. In one, the national school bus operator First Student Inc. has agreed to take specific steps to reduce idling from its fleet of 50,000 buses nationwide, helping protect school children from the effects of diesel exhaust and avoiding the emission of up to 100 million pounds of carbon dioxide per year. In another idling case, a jury found Paul Revere Transportation LLC liable for violation of idling regulations in its bus yard in Roxbury, Massachusetts, leading to Paul Revere's agreement to pay a $650,000 penalty. In a case brought under the lead-paint disclosure rules, EPA and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) reached a settlement through which The Community Builders, Inc, and associated property owners, which manage thousands of units of housing throughout the northeast, have agreed to pay a $200,000 penalty and spend more than $2 million in lead abatement work at residential properties.
More information on the mapping tool: http://www.epa.gov/compliance/resources/reports/endofyear/eoy2009/index.html
More information on EPA New England enforcement results: http://www.epa.gov/region1/enforcementandassistance/reports/2009OESreport/index.html