EPA sent 266 criminal cases to the Department of Justice and assessed $92.8 million in criminal fines in fiscal year 1998. The agency 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. EPA also reached settlements to recover $230 million in Superfund Trust Fund expenditures.
For the third year, the agency reported enforcement actions helped reduce the amount of pollutants in the environment. During 1998 chlorofluorocarbons were reduced by over 5 million pounds, asbestos by more than 7 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. Another 54 percent required violators to improve their environmental management systems, take preventive action to avoid future noncompliance, or to enhance the public's right-to-know.
EPA's compliance incentive policies and strategies led 200 companies to voluntarily disclose potential violations at 950 facilities. Last year, 63 companies corrected violations at 390 facilities.