Other annual measures of the agency's enforcement and compliance activities such as the number of inspections (up 11 percent from FY 2003) and investigations (up 32 percent from FY 2003) surpassed or kept pace with previous years, indicating continued progress in deterring violations of the nation's environmental laws and reflecting an emphasis on environmental benefits and compliance.
"EPA's enforcement strategy is focused on what matters most: achieving real environmental improvements that benefit everyone," said Tom Skinner, EPA acting assistant administrator for the Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. "We are getting significant, real-world pollution reductions through mechanisms like injunctive relief pushing companies to install more effective pollution controls and supplemental environmental projects, which improve the environment and public health both nationwide and close to home."
EPA estimates that 3.4 million cubic yards of contaminated soil and sediment and 9.5 million cubic yards of groundwater will be cleaned up, 1,300 acres of wetlands will be protected, and the drinking water of 4 million Americans will comply with EPA standards. Of the 4,257 cases concluded by EPA in FY 2004, 83 percent resulted in actions to bring facilities into compliance with environmental laws.
Highlights of individual enforcement cases and compliance assistance are available online at http://www.epa.gov/compliance/resources/reports/endofyear/eoy2004/2004highlights.html.