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National Environmental Enforcement Figures Include Alaska and Idaho Achievements

Release Date: 11/15/2004
Contact Information: Bill Dunbar
(206) 553-1203

November 15, 2004

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

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
Enforcement of the nation’s environmental laws by the EPA’s Region office (Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington) produced significant benefits to the environmental in each of the four states. For example:
  • Consent Decrees with Alaskan seafood processors will keep some 18 million pounds of fish waste from Alaskan waters. Under the terms of agreements reached with the EPA this past year, Alaska General Seafoods and Icicle Seafoods will turn into fish meal (for use as fertilizer and fish food) the wastes that the companies had been discharging to the sea.
  • In Idaho, EPA inspectors conducted 258 inspections of underground petroleum storage tanks. If they leak, USTs can threaten drinking water supplies, and can be extremely costly to clean up. The EPA found a total of 337 violations and issued $48,700 in penalties.

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