EPA Sets Record For Enforcement Action in 2000

Jan. 23, 2001
EPA took a record total of 6,027\r\ncivil judicial, criminal and administrative enforcement actions in 2000, according to agency data.

EPA recently released data on its major enforcement and compliance actions for FY 2000.

According to the data, EPA took a record cumulative total of 6,027 civil judicial, criminal and administrative enforcement actions, requiring polluters to pay $2.6 billion in injunctive relief for environmental cleanup, Superfund site remediation, pollution control cleanup, improved monitoring and additional environmental improvements.

Polluters were also required to pay $224.6 million in civil and criminal penalties.

The combined level of civil and criminal penalties assessed in 2000 was the third largest total in EPA history.

EPA''s enforcement actions were taken in response to significant emissions or discharges of toxic or hazardous pollutants.

The cases resolved by criminal enforcement included those involving the illegal management or release of serious pollutants such as lead, asbestos and ozone-layer depleting CFCs.

During 2000, the agency referred 368 civil judicial cases to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ).

Several cases under the Clean Air Act were part of EPA''s national focus on electric power utilities that the government alleged had illegally expanded the capacity of their facilities, causing millions of excess tons of nitrogen oxides to be emitted into the air.

The first case, lodged in February 2000, committed Tampa Electric Co. to spend $1 billion to reduce emissions of nitrogen oxide and sulfur dioxide by a combined 190,000 tons annually.

Other cases under the Clean Water Act involved cleanup of 3 million gallons of oil spilled from pipelines in six states.

The criminal enforcement program, used for those who violate the law knowingly or willfully, initiated 477 cases, referred 236 cases to DOJ and charged 360 defendants.

The federal courts imposed 146 years of criminal sentences in 2000.

The courts also assessed $122 million in criminal fines, the second highest in the history of the program.

Complementing its civil and criminal enforcement, EPA said it continued to successfully use its several incentive programs to encourage industries to self-audit their facilities and correct violations.

Last year, 430 companies disclosed potential violations at nearly 2,200 facilities under EPA''s Audit Policy.

by Virginia Sutcliffe

About the Author

EHS Today Staff

EHS Today's editorial staff includes:

Dave Blanchard, Editor-in-Chief: During his career Dave has led the editorial management of many of Endeavor Business Media's best-known brands, including IndustryWeekEHS Today, Material Handling & LogisticsLogistics Today, Supply Chain Technology News, and Business Finance. In addition, he serves as senior content director of the annual Safety Leadership Conference. With over 30 years of B2B media experience, Dave literally wrote the book on supply chain management, Supply Chain Management Best Practices (John Wiley & Sons, 2021), which has been translated into several languages and is currently in its third edition. He is a frequent speaker and moderator at major trade shows and conferences, and has won numerous awards for writing and editing. He is a voting member of the jury of the Logistics Hall of Fame, and is a graduate of Northern Illinois University.

Adrienne Selko, Senior Editor: In addition to her roles with EHS Today and the Safety Leadership Conference, Adrienne is also a senior editor at IndustryWeek and has written about many topics, with her current focus on workforce development strategies. She is also a senior editor at Material Handling & Logistics. Previously she was in corporate communications at a medical manufacturing company as well as a large regional bank. She is the author of Do I Have to Wear Garlic Around My Neck?, which made the Cleveland Plain Dealer's best sellers list.

Nicole Stempak, Managing Editor:  Nicole Stempak is managing editor of EHS Today and conference content manager of the Safety Leadership Conference.

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