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EPA FY 2004 Enforcement Secures Cleanups Worth a Record $4.8 Billion and Will Stop One Billion Pounds of Pollution

Release Date: 11/15/04
Contact Information:

News for Release: Monday, November 15, 2004

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

Washington, D.C.: John Millett 202-564-7842 /

Boston: David Deegan, 617-918-1017

EPA enforcement actions concluded in fiscal year (FY) 2004 will reduce a projected one billion pounds of pollution and require cleanups estimated to total a record $4.8 billion – significant increases from last year. Almost every other annual measure of the Agency’s enforcement and compliance activity – 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.”

In addition to the record environmental benefit and cleanup figures resulting from Agency actions during FY 2004, 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 4,257cases concluded by EPA in FY 2004, 83 percent resulted in actions to bring facilities into compliance with environmental laws.

Each fiscal year, EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance compiles a range of data to track national environmental results and enforcement and compliance activity. Projected pollution reductions and the estimated dollar value of required cleanup, or injunctive relief, are annual indicators of results from EPA’s environmental enforcement. Pollution estimates project the amount of pollution that will be reduced, treated or properly managed as a result of EPA enforcement actions concluded during the fiscal year. The information is used to gauge enforcement results and activity and guide program priorities.

FY 2004 Enforcement and Compliance Accomplishments:

      - Pollution Reductions Increase 67 Percent – As a result of cleanup commitments reached in FY 2004, EPA estimates that one billion pounds of pollution will be reduced, treated, or properly managed, an increase of 67 percent from last year.
      - Record-Breaking Injunctive Relief Increases 66 Percent – The estimated dollar value of compliance actions required by EPA in FY 2004 will total $4.8 billion – a new EPA record and a 66 percent increase from FY 2003.
      - Supplemental Environmental Projects (SEPs) Increase 42 Percent – EPA obtained 213 SEPs in FY 2004 – a 42 percent increase compared to FY 2003's 150 SEPs. The dollar value of SEPs in FY 2004 was $48 million, compared to FY 2003's $65 million. Of the 213 SEPs in FY 2004, 26 will be performed in environmental justice communities. SEPs are environmentally beneficial projects that a violator voluntarily agrees to perform as part of an enforcement settlement. SEPs go beyond what is required of a violator to return to compliance with environmental requirements.
      - Compliance Incentive Program Addresses 14 Percent More Facilities – Under EPA’s Compliance Incentive Program, the number of facilities resolving self-disclosed violations increased 14 percent in FY 2004 to 969 – up from 848 in FY 2003.
      - Compliance Assistance Reaches More Than 730,000 – EPA data shows that 731,000 businesses and individuals received assistance from EPA in FY 2004 to help understand and comply with environmental laws. EPA compliance assistance reached 721,000 in FY 2003.
      - EPA Final Administrative Penalty Orders Increase 32 Percent – EPA finalized 2,248 civil administrative penalty actions in FY 2004 – up 32 percent over 1,706 in FY 2003.
      - Inspections and Evaluations to Determine Compliance Increase 11 Percent – In FY 2004, EPA conducted 21,000 inspections, up from FY 2003 with 18,880.
      - Civil Investigations Increase 32 Percent – In FY 2004, EPA initiated 455 civil investigations, a 32 percent increase over the 344 investigations in FY 2003.
      - Facilities Disclosing Environmental Violations Double – In FY 2004, 1223 facilities self-disclosed environmental violations to EPA. In FY 2003 there were 614 facilities that self-disclosed violations.
      - EPA Charges 46 more Criminal Defendants – EPA enforcement charged 293 defendants with environmental crimes in FY 2004, 46 more defendants than in FY 2003
Highlights of individual enforcement cases and compliance assistance are available online at: .

For more information on EPA’s FY 2004 enforcement and compliance program and data, log on to: .

New England Highlights:
EPA’s New England enforcement presence has resulted in major reductions of pollutants. In addition to imposing fines, EPA has sought to remedy environmental infractions with “supplemental environmental projects” – targeted initiatives designed to benefit public health and the environment in communities where violations have occurred.

In the Boston metropolitan area, $6.1 million from two major settlements will bring significant clean-air benefits to city residents. Settlements with the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) and the Mystic Station power plant in Everett, Mass. require emission-reducing retrofits for 520 metropolitan Boston school buses, as well as the use of cleaner, lower-sulfur fuel. The settlements also require retrofits and fuel switches for the MBTA’s commuter trains, as well as projects to facilitate the construction of bicycle paths. These settlements will eliminate hundreds of tons of air pollutants in a densely-populated urban area. Overall, EPA’s enforcement actions in ‘04 will reduce sulfur dioxide by 1.7 million pounds, and carbon monoxide by 288,000 pounds.

EPA New England has also continued to aggressively focus on eliminating preventable childhood exposure to lead. Because so much housing stock in New England was constructed prior to the 1978 federal ban on lead paint, this issue requires ongoing effort in our states to ensure that landlords and property owners follow lead notification laws. During the past year, 72 inspections were conducted around New England, bringing the two-year total to nearly 200. During this past fiscal year, EPA issued 13 enforcement complaints and 10 settlements against property owners, management firms, and one construction firm who failed to notify tenants about lead hazards. Many of these cases involved properties where children had been poisoned by lead. In some cases property owners or managers had also failed to comply with state orders. In addition to seeking monetary fines, EPA has also put in place settlements requiring property owners to conduct testing and abatement of lead paint hazards in thousands of residential units in Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut and New Hampshire.

More regional information from EPA New England is available at:

Related Information:
RCRA Enforcement
Air Enforcement
Clean Air Act