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EPA Raises Penalties for Environmental Violations (Again)

Posted on 1/16/2017 by Roger Marks

US EPA last week again raised the civil penalties for violations of environmental compliance programs to keep pace with inflation. This is the second time in six months that US EPA has raised civil penalties; in July, the Agency published a catch-up Rule that substantially raised the fines under EPA programs like the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, RCRA, EPCRA, CERCLA, and more.   

In the past, Federal agencies like EPA adjusted their civil penalties once every four years to match the rate of inflation. Under new Federal law, these agencies now update fines on an annual schedule.

While todays’ penalty adjustment is not as dramatic as the July increase, up-to-date knowledge about EPA’s fines is crucial to accurately evaluate the risks of noncompliance. These new penalty amounts apply to all violations that occurred after November 2, 2015 and for which penalties are assessed on or after January 15, 2017. See the Final Rule in today’s Federal Register.

New RCRA Hazardous Waste Maximum Civil Penalty

RCRA hazardous waste enforcementFines for violations of RCRA hazardous waste storage, management, and disposal requirements will rise from $70,117 to $71,264 per day, per violation.

Late last year, EPA finalized new hazardous waste requirements that take effect in May 2017 with the Hazardous Waste Generator Improvements Rule.

Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act Civil Penalties

The maximum civil penalties for violations of US EPA’s Clean Air and Clean Waters Act are also going up:

Clean Air Act: From $93,750 to $95,284 per day, per violation.
Clean Water Act: From $51,570 to $52,414 per day, per violation.
Safe Drinking Water Act: From $53,907 to $54,789 per day, per violation.

Are you responsible for air and water compliance at your facility? Lion Technology has launched Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act & SDWA online training to help you identify and comply with the complex, overlapping requirements that affect your business. 

TSCA Chemical Regulations

One EPA program for which civil penalties did not go up in the summer of 2016 was the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). Like the RCRA hazardous waste rules, TSCA too was recently overhauled, by the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act.

TSCA chemical hazard signIn this Final Rule, the fine for TSCA chemical management, reporting, and recordkeeping violations rose from $37,500 per day, per violation to $38,114 per day, per violation.  

To help EHS managers meet their responsibilities for inventory reporting, safe chemical management, and more, the TSCA Regulations Online Course covers the critical elements of this changing EPA program.

EPCRA and CERCLA Chemical Emergency Preparedness andSuperfund site warning sign Reporting

Under both the Comprehensive Environmental Remediation, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA)—also known as “Superfund”—and the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA), the maximum civil penalty for noncompliance will rise from $53,907 to $54,789 per day, per violation.

Coming soon! The Superfund and Right-to-Know Regulations Online Course guides EHS managers through the emergency preparedness and reporting requirements that must be met to protect workers and the community from
the risks of chemical releases and accidents.

FIFRA Pesticide Regulations

using restricted use pesticidesLast, but not least, the civil penalty for violations of US EPA’s Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) are up from $18,750 to $19,057 per day, per violation.

US EPA recently amended its requirements for applicators of certain pesticides under FIFRA to add updated training, certification, and re-certification requirements.

Interested in EPA enforcement activity? Subscribe to Lion News to receive a weekly summary of EPA fines and penalties from across the US directly to your inbox.

EPA Environmental Training in Hartford, Boston, Atlanta, Orlando, and more

Don’t miss EHS training trusted by industry nationwide when the Complete Environmental Regulations Workshop comes to Hartford on January 23–24, Boston on January 26–27, Atlanta on February 27–28, and Orlando on March 2–3. See the full schedule and sign up here.

Tags: Act, Air, Clean, enforcement, EPA, new rules, RCRA

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