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EPA announces 2010 Enforcement and Compliance Results, includes summary for Mountains and Plains states

Release Date: 12/06/2010
Contact Information: Richard Mylott, 303-312-6654

Mountains and Plains region actions contribute to national reduction of more than 1.4 billion pounds of harmful air, land and water pollution

(Denver, Colo. – December 6, 2010) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced today the release of its annual enforcement and compliance results. In fiscal year (FY) 2010, EPA 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. These actions when completed 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.

This year’s annual results include an enhanced mapping tool that allows the public to view detailed information about the enforcement actions taken at more than 4,500 facilities that concluded in FY 2010 on an interactive map of the United States and its territories. The map shows facilities and sites where civil and criminal enforcement actions were taken for alleged violations of U.S. environmental laws regulating air, water, and land pollution. The mapping tool also displays community-based activities like the locations of the environmental justice grants awarded in FY 2010 and the Environmental Justice Showcase Communities.

The release of the EPA’s enforcement and compliance results and the accompanying mapping tool are part of EPA’s commitment to transparency. They are intended to improve public access to data and provide the public with tools to demonstrate EPA’s efforts to protect human health and the environment in communities across the nation.

EPA’s Mountains and Plains Region (Region 8), which includes Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah and Wyoming, as well as sovereign Tribal Lands in those states, had a particularly successful year enforcing environmental laws. This region concluded cases reducing, treating or eliminating over 4.6 million pounds of pollutants, while regulated entities were compelled to spend over $31.5 million in pollution control, cleanups, and supplemental environmental projects.

In fiscal year 2010, EPA Region 8 initiated 89 administrative compliance orders, 97 administrative penalty order complaints, and 84 administrative penalty order conclusions, together resulting in more than $2.8 million in federal penalties. EPA Region 8 also conducted over 1,700 inspections and provided assistance to 2,700 regulated entities to help them improve their environmental management practices to comply with environmental laws.

Across EPA Region 8, approximately 1.3 million people were notified of drinking water violations at public water systems as a result of EPA enforcement actions. EPA Region 8 aggressively protected populations provided drinking water by Tribal water systems and focused on those with a chronic history of violations. As a result, nine administrative compliance orders were issued. On Tribal Lands in Colorado and Utah, EPA also concluded five Clean Air Act settlement agreements with oil and gas companies, reducing air pollutants by more than 1,000 tons per year.

During 2010, EPA Region 8 also achieved impressive environmental results through our Environmental Justice (EJ) program. Region 8 managed over $1.2 million in grants provided to communities with disproportionately impacted low-income and minority populations to address issues ranging from identifying health risks to finding ways to reduce, treat or eliminate pollutants.

Specifically, Region 8 EJ efforts included a partnership with state and local government, non-profits and community groups in Utah to launch a Children’s Environmental Health/Environmental Justice Initiative in nine Salt Lake City neighborhoods. The focus of this effort is to help achieve a more holistic, integrated approach to address children’s environmental health issues. EPA also partnered with the State of Colorado and several school districts to retrofit 836 diesel school buses to reduce concentrations of in-cabin particulate emissions by 56 percent. More than 50,000 children are breathing cleaner air as a result of these retrofits.

Learn more about the national FY2010 Annual Enforcement and Compliance Results:

More about 2010 Enforcement and Compliance Results in EPA Region 8: