EPA cuts pollution by three billion pounds over three years
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has obtained commitments from industry, governments and other regulated entities to reduce pollution by nearly 900 million pounds in fiscal year 2006.
EPA reports reflect a sustained three-year record of pollution reduction, totaling almost 3 billion pounds, and requiring companies to invest almost $20 billion in pollution control equipment. More than 70 percent of these reductions were achieved by addressing high-priority air and water pollution challenges.
As a result of criminal enforcement actions completed this year, defendants will serve 154 years in jail and pay almost $43 million in fines, as well as another $29 million for environmental projects imposed as part of the sentences.
EPA's civil enforcement program also demonstrated strong results by concluding a total of 173 judicial cases, 4,624 final administrative penalty order settlements, and resolving self-disclosed violations for 1,475 facilities. EPA referred 286 civil cases to the U.S. Department of Justice, the highest total in 5 years.
As a result of EPA's Superfund enforcement actions, parties held responsible for pollution will invest $391 million to clean up 15 million cubic yards of contaminated soil and approximately 1.3 billion cubic yards of contaminated groundwater at waste sites. On top of paying penalties in 2006, regulated entities will also be required to invest $4.9 billion to reduce pollution and achieve compliance with environmental laws.
As a result of EPA's work to reduce pollution from petroleum refineries, 85 refineries, representing 77 percent of domestic refining capacity, are now subject to enforceable orders and consent decrees, and negotiations are ongoing with refiners representing an additional 11 percent of capacity. EPA's priority efforts to control overflows from sewers and runoff from storm water and concentrated animal feeding operations resulted in a more than 230 million pound decrease in water pollution, including sediment, bacteria, raw sewage, untreated industrial wastes and animal wastes.