Tuesday, December 30, 2014

News Release: EPA Announces Annual Environmental Enforcement Results for 2014

Information originally released by the EPA on December 18, 2014: http://www2.epa.gov/enforcement/enforcement-annual-results-fiscal-year-fy-2014

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is responsible for the enforcement and regulation of laws passed by Congress. These enforcements serve wide reaching benefits for the environment, the community, and companies who follow these rules. Were the EPA not to strictly enforce consequences on those who do not comply to such regulations, companies who do comply would be at a great disadvantage. For companies that are in compliance with EPA's laws and regulations, the penalties the EPA enforces even the playing field with those that do not. More than that, the EPA's enforcements benefit the environment overall.

In 2014 alone, the EPA was able to reduce air pollutants by nearly 141 million pounds and water pollutants by approximately 337 million pounds. Additionally, they were able to regulate the clean up of about 856 million cubic yards of contaminated water/aquifers. They accomplished this through fines and penalties as well as requiring companies to invest in methods that would reduce pollution and support the clean up of polluted sites.

The EPA was responsible for charging companies with fines that not only covered the violations they committed but also for the communities who suffered as a result of said violations. When companies' violate EPA regulations, the environment is often negatively affected and thus the EPA often cites companies with fines to cover the cost of cleaning up polluted sites.
  • Polluted sites across the country are being cleaned up while EPA conserves and recovers federal funds. This year, settlements will result in more than $453.7 million in commitments from responsible parties to clean up Superfund sites, and return $57.7 million to the Superfund trust.
Overall, EPA enforcement actions required companies to invest more than $9.7 billion in actions and equipment to control pollution and clean up contaminated sites.

In 2014, EPA pursued high impact cases that drove compliance across industries including Lowe's Home Centers. They developed a corporate-wide compliance program to ensure protection of children from dangerous lead paint exposure. As well, the EPA was strict on its accountability for criminal violators that threatened the health and safety of Americans. They directed funds from said violators to communities affected by those who were not compliant with the standards of health and safety necessary.

Much of the EPA's focus was directed towards reducing pollution in many sectors of American Communities. From electric power companies to chemical plants to contaminated stormwater, the EPA required companies involved in such pursuits to develop innovative programs to reduce their carbon impact. As well as develop new ways to incorporate and promote renewable energy. Federal facilities and companies were made to take responsibility for any toxic pollution they created and fund the means of cleaning up such pollution.

The EPA has a commitment to enforcement as was demonstrated throughout 2014 and past years. The EPA will continue to pursue and correct any violations in addition to developing new ways to remedy pollution and promote renewable energy innovations. Click here to read the full press release on the EPA's success in 2014.

EPA Media Contact:
Jennifer Colaizzi
Colaizzi.jennifer@epa.gov202-564-7776

Be sure to stay compliant with the EPA's enforcements in the New Year. For a full lineup of courses to ensure the safety of your worksite and employees as well as achieving EPA standard compliance, visit GreenEdu.com.