Environmental Protection

EPA 2010 Enforcement to Reduce 1.4B Pounds of Pollutants

In fiscal year (FY) 2010, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency took enforcement and compliance actions that require polluters to pay more than $110 million in civil penalties and commit to spend an estimated $12 billion on pollution controls, cleanup, and environmental projects that benefit communities.

When completed, these actions will reduce pollution by more than 1.4 billion pounds and protect businesses that comply with regulations by holding non-compliant businesses accountable when environmental laws are violated.

“At EPA, we are dedicated to aggressively go after pollution problems that make a difference in our communities through vigorous civil and criminal enforcement,” stated Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “Our commitment to environmental enforcement is grounded in the knowledge that people not only desire, but expect, the protection of the water they drink, the air they breathe, and the communities they call home.”

EPA’s civil enforcement actions for violations of the Clean Air Act alone will account for the reduction of an estimated 400 million pounds of air pollution per year. Those reductions will represent between $6.2 billion and $15 billion annually in avoided health costs. As a result of water cases concluded in FY 2010, EPA is ensuring that an estimated 1 billion pounds of water pollution per year will be reduced, eliminated, or properly managed, and investments in pollution control and environmental improvement projects from parties worth approximately $8 billion will be made. EPA’s civil enforcement actions also led to commitments to treat, minimize, or properly dispose of more than an estimated 11.8 billion pounds of hazardous waste.

EPA’s criminal enforcement program opened 346 new environmental crime cases in FY 2010. These cases led to 289 defendants charged for allegedly committing environmental crimes, the largest number in five years, 198 criminals convicted, and $41 million assessed in fines and restitution.

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