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EPA Region 8 enforcement actions improve the environment, secure compliance with laws
Release Date: 11/16/2005
- DENVER – U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 8 compliance and enforcement activities in fiscal year 2005 resulted in legal commitments by companies, governments and other regulated entities to reduce treat or properly manage more than 4.3 million pounds of pollution. As a result, air is cleaner, water is purer, contaminated land is being cleaned up, discharges of sewage and other water pollutants have been reduced and wetlands are being protected.
Compliance and enforcement is an integral part of environmental protection. These activities encourage governments, businesses and other regulated entities to meet their environmental obligations. EPA Region 8 pursues enforcement actions and provides compliance assistance to secure environmental benefits and reduce risk to human health.
In fiscal year 2005, EPA Region 8 issued 80 Administrative Orders, 94 Administrative Penalty Orders and referred 18 cases to the Department of Justice. Concluded enforcement actions secured more than $133 million in injunctive relief to correct violations and to restore and prevent future harm to human health and the environment. These actions also secured an additional sum of more than $5.4 million in administrative and judicial penalties.
Cumulatively, Region 8 enforcement actions resulted in the reduction or treatment of 4,326,000 pounds of pollutants; the cleanup of 7,225,518 cubic yards of contaminated soil; 64 acres of wetlands being protected or restored; and 4,060 people receiving cleaner drinking water.
EPA also prevents pollution by helping the regulated community understand its environmental responsibilities. In 2005, EPA Region 8 provided 2,271 regulated entities with direct compliance assistance resulting in improved environmental practices.
EPA Region 8 includes the states of Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah and Wyoming and 27 sovereign Tribal Nations.
Significant concluded cases in EPA Region 8 in 2005:
French Gulch, Summit County, Colo. On Sept. 28 agreement was reached for a cleanup order where the Town of Breckenridge and Summit County will purchase, conduct necessary clean-up activities, and ultimately use as open space approximately 1,800 acres of land. Also, the State & Federal natural resource damage claims and past costs of EPA will be paid . The estimated value of the settlement may exceed $7 million with environmental outcomes of over 60,000 lbs per year of zinc reductions and 30 lbs per year of cadmium prevented from migrating through surface water.
Lowry Landfill, Denver, Colo. On Aug. 22 agreement was reached where the primary responsible parties must pay $13.9 million and perform and finance the remainder of the known work at the site. Initial cleanup of the site is nearly complete. Long-term maintenance of the environmental remedy is expected to cost approximately $43 million and continue for more than 30 years. Used as a municipal and industrial landfill from 1966 until 1980, millions of gallons of industrial wastes were dumped into unlined pits at the landfill, including metal plating wastes, oils, pesticides, solvents, acids and sludges.
Yellowstone Mountain Club near Bozeman, Mont. On Dec. 12, 2004, agreement was reached regarding the discharge of dredged and fill materials into wetlands and other waters during construction on a site near the Gallatin River. The YMC will pay $1.8 million in penalties and perform restoration projects of five acres and mitigation projects of 1.5 acres.
Wal-Mart national case. On Sept. 22 an agreement was reached with Wal-Mart regarding 29 sites in nine states. The settlement includes a $3.1 million civil penalty, for stormwater violations. Wal-Mart must also perform a wetlands supplemental environmental project and develop an extensive compliance program. These actions will contribute to$65 million dollars of injunctive relief, of which more $45 million will occur in Region 8.
Nationwide, EPA enforcement actions in fiscal year 2005 resulted in legal commitments by companies, governments and other regulated entities to reduce a projected 1.1 billion pounds of pollution and require that they spend a record $10 billion to come into compliance with environmental laws. This is an increase of $5 billion over last year. EPA's criminal enforcement program helped successfully prosecute some of the largest environmental crimes in history in FY 2005, with judges imposing significant sentences and large criminal fines. Most annual measures of the agency's enforcement and compliance activity surpassed or kept pace with previous years, indicating continued progress in deterring violations of the nation's environmental laws.
Among the national environmental benefits resulting from agency actions during FY 2005, EPA estimates that 28.2 million cubic yards of contaminated soil and 1.6 billion cubic yards of contaminated water will be cleaned up; 1,900 acres of wetlands will be protected; and the drinking water of more than 8 million Americans will be safer. Criminal defendants will pay $100 million in criminal fines and restitution and serve more than 186 years in jail. EPA’s 10 biggest air pollution cases will reduce more than 620 million pounds of pollutants annually and that will produce annual human health benefits valued at more than $4.6 billion. The benefits include reductions in premature mortality, bronchitis, hospitalizations and work days lost.
More information on EPA's FY 2005 enforcement and compliance program, including details of significant enforcement and compliance assurance activities and data are available at: https://www.epa.gov/compliance/data/results/annual/fy2005.html