December 2005

EPA enforces pollution cuts requiring $10 billion to be spent by violators

Washington, DC— EPA enforcement actions in fiscal year 2005 resulted in legal commitments by companies, governments and other regulated entities to reduce a projected 1.1 billion pounds of pollution and require that they spend a record $10 billion to come into compliance with environmental laws. This is an increase of $5 billion over last year. EPA’s criminal enforcement program helped successfully prosecute some of the largest environmental crimes in history in FY 2005, with judges imposing significant sentences and large criminal fines. Most annual measures of the agency’s enforcement and compliance activity surpassed or kept pace with previous years, indicating continued progress in deterring violations of the nation’s environmental laws.

Among the environmental benefits resulting from agency actions during FY 2005, EPA estimates that 28.2 million cubic yards of contaminated soil and 1.6 billion cubic yards of contaminated water will be cleaned up; 1,900 acres of wetlands will be protected; and the drinking water of more than 8 million Americans is safer. Criminal defendants will pay $100 million in criminal fines and restitution and serve more than 186 years in jail. The 10 biggest air pollution cases will reduce more than 620 million pounds of pollutants annually and that will produce annual human health benefits valued at more than $4.6 billion.

Tackling the problems of older municipal water systems that cause overflows of raw sewage into streets, yards, basements, and bodies of water was an EPA enforcement priority again this year. Together with states, EPA has concluded major sewer cases in FY 2005 to reduce more than 19 billion gallons of raw sewage overflows annually.

A record number of entities (627) voluntarily disclosed violations to EPA — a 28 percent increase over FY 2004. The agency achieved a reduction of 1.9 million pounds of pollutants as a result of audits.

Approximately 612,000 businesses and individuals received assistance from EPA in FY 2005 to help understand their environmental responsibilities and comply with environmental laws.

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