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EPA announces 2014 annual environmental enforcement results

Release Date: 12/18/2014
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SAN FRANCISCO – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today released its annual enforcement and compliance results reflecting a focus on large cases driving industry compliance and that have a high impact on protecting public health and the environment.

“By taking on large, high impact enforcement cases, EPA is helping to level the playing field for companies that play by the rules, while maximizing our ability to protect the communities we serve across the country,” said Cynthia Giles, Assistant Administrator for EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “Despite challenges posed by budget cuts and a government shutdown, we secured major settlements in key industry sectors and brought criminal violators to justice. This work resulted in critical investments in advanced technologies and innovative approaches to reduce pollution and improve compliance.”

In fiscal year 2014, EPA enforcement actions required companies to invest more than $9.7 billion in actions and equipment to control pollution and clean up contaminated sites. EPA’s cases resulted in $163 million in combined federal administrative, civil judicial penalties, and criminal fines. Other results include:

    Reductions of an estimated 141 million pounds of air pollutants, including 6.7 million pounds of air toxics.
    Reductions of approximately 337 million pounds of water pollutants.
    Clean up of an estimated 856 million cubic yards of contaminated water/aquifers.

EPA pursues high impact cases that drive compliance across industries:
    Lowe’s Home Centers agreed to a corporate-wide compliance program ensuring contractors nation-wide follow laws to protect children from dangerous lead paint exposure.
    The nation’s second largest natural gas producer, Chesapeake Appalachia, agreed to restore streams and wetlands damaged from its operations and implement a comprehensive plan to comply with water protection laws.

EPA holds criminal violators accountable that threaten the health and safety of Americans, while directing funds to affected communities:
    EPA’s criminal program generated $63 million in fines and restitution, secured $16 million in court-ordered environmental projects and sentenced defendants to a combined 155 years of incarceration.
    After EPA pursued the case, Tonawanda Coke was found guilty and required to pay a $12.5 million criminal penalty and to fund $12.2 million in community service in New York, for releasing benzene from its facility into neighboring communities.

EPA enforcement work reduces pollution in the sectors that impact American communities the most:
    Settlements with Minnesota Power and Wisconsin Electric Power Company are cutting coal fired power plants emissions, requiring companies to control pollution and conduct innovative mitigation projects that promote renewable energy development and protect clean air for local communities.
    We’re reducing dangerous air toxics released from industrial flares at refineries and chemical plants, requiring companies like Shell and DuPont to implement monitoring and pollution control technologies. These efforts are equipping minority and low-income communities with monitoring data, while reducing toxic air pollution for residents living near the facilities.
    EPA is working closely with cities such as East Bay MUD (California), Metropolitan Water Reclamation District (Illinois) and Miami-Dade County (Florida) to cut discharges of raw sewage and contaminated stormwater through integrated planning, green infrastructure and other innovative approaches.

EPA ensures companies and federal facilities take responsibility and clean up toxic pollution they create:
    Polluted sites across the country are being cleaned up while EPA conserves and recovers federal funds. This year, settlements will result in more than $453.7 million in commitments from responsible parties to clean up Superfund sites, and return $57.7 million to the Superfund trust.
    When abandoned munitions posed an imminent and substantial endangerment at the Camp Minden, Louisiana site, EPA acted to ensure proper cleanup and accountability by the U.S. Army.

Major cases developed in 2014, but not included in fiscal year 2014 statistics demonstrate EPA’s ongoing commitment to tough enforcement:
    A settlement with Hyundai-Kia netted a $100 million fine, forfeiture of emissions credits and more than $50 million invested in compliance measures helps level the playing field for car companies that follow the law, and helps reduces greenhouse gas emissions fueling climate change.
    The largest cleanup settlement in American history, with Anadarko and Kerr McGee, will put more than $4.4 billion into toxic pollution cleanup, improving water quality and removing dangerous materials in tribal and overburdened communities.
    A settlement with Alpha Natural Resources, one of the country’s largest coal companies, requires it to protect water quality in communities near their coal mining operations in five states.

More information about EPA’s Fiscal Year 2014 enforcement results: http://www2.epa.gov/enforcement/enforcement-annual-results-fiscal-year-fy-2014
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