EPA, DOT Civil Penalty Maximums Increase for 2024

Posted on 12/28/2023 by Nick Waldron

The US EPA increased its maximum monetary civil penalties for violations of air, water, chemical, and hazardous waste programs on December 27, 2023. The Agency is required to raise civil penalty maximums by law to keep up with inflation.

Environmental violations do not always result in max penalties. However, these new maximums do guide EPA's enforcement decisions throughout the year.

The EPA's new civil penalties maximums are in effect as of December 27, 2023: 

Major US EPA Programs < 12/27/23 >= 12/27/23
Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) $87,855 $90,702
Clean Air Act (CAA)  $117,468 $121,275
Clean Water Act (CWA) $64,618 $66,712
Superfund and Right-to-Know (CERCLA/EPCRA) $67,544 $69,733
Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) $67,544 $69,733
Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA)  $46,989 $48,512
Insecticides, Fungicides, and Rodenticides (FIFRA) $23,494 $24,255

See the US EPA Final Rule here. 

Note: The new maximum penalty for an initial CERCLA violation is $69,733, as listed in the table above. The new maximum penalty for a subsequent CERCLA violation is $209,202.

49 CFR Hazmat Shipping & Transportation

The US transportation agencies increased the maximum civil penalties for violations of the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR) by approximately $7,300 for 2024.

The new maximum (and minimum) monetary penalties for hazmat shipping violations:

$99,756 per day, per violation

for a hazardous materials violation.

$232,762 per day, per violation

if a violation results in death, serious illness, severe injury, or substantial property damage.

$601 per employee, per day

Minimum penalty for hazmat training violations.

See the US DOT Final Rule here.

Why Do Civil Penalties Go Up Every Year?

Annual civil penalty adjustments began in 2015, when the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 amended Federal law related to civil penalties for regulatory violations. Previously, the DOT and the EPA were required by law to increase penalties only every four years.

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