Enforcement and Inspection

Higher EPA Penalties for Noncompliance Are in Effect

Although delayed by the government shutdown, the EPA has finalized regulations adjusting its civil penalties to account for inflation. Therefore, effective February 6, 2019, the maximum civil penalties that the EPA may impose for violations of various environmental statutes have increased by just over 1 percent.

Balancing environmental enforcement and business

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For example, maximum penalties have increased as follows:

  • Clean Air Act (CAA) violations: from $97,229 to $99,681 per day, per violation;
  • Clean Water Act (CWA) violations: from $53,484 to $54,833 per day, per violation;
  • Resource Conservation Recovery Act (RCRA) violations: from $72,718 to $74,552 per day, per violation;
  • Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) violations: from $55,907 to $57,317 per day, per violation;
  • Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) violations: from $38,892 to $39,873 per day, per violation;
  • Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) violations: from $55,907 to $57,317 per day, per violation; and
  • Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) violations: from $19,446 to $19,936 per day, per violation.

The new penalty levels apply to all violations occurring after November 2, 2015, for which penalties are assessed after February 6, 2019.

While the increased maximum penalties may not impact the actual penalties the EPA seeks when dealing with a specific environmental violation, the Agency believes it is important that the maximum penalties reflect inflation in order to maintain the intended deterrent effect and promote compliance.