EPA Raises Civil Penalties for 2020
On January 13, US EPA increased civil penalties for violations of major environmental programs to match inflation for fiscal year 2020. The inflated penalty amounts will apply to environmental violations that occur or occurred after November 2, 2015, for which penalties are assessed after January 13, 2020.
When environmental civil penalties rise, so does the value of environmental compliance. While EPA penalties rarely reach the maximum dollar amounts shown below, these figures guide EPA's enforcement decisions.
Updated EPA Civil PenaltiesCivil penalty figures are current as of January 13, 2020. EPA assesses civil penalties on a per day, per violation basis. View the full Rule in the Federal Register.
|Before 01/13/20||After 01/13/20|
|Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA)||$74,552||$75,867|
|Clean Air Act (CAA)||$99,681||$101,439|
|Clean Water Act (CWA)||$54,833||$55,800|
|Emergency Planning/ Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA)||$57,317||$58,328|
|Comp. Environmental Response... Act (CERCLA)||$57,317||$58,328|
|Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA)||$57,317||$58,328|
|Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA)||$39,873||$40,576|
|Fed Insecticide, Fungicide/Rodenticide Act (FIFRA)||$19,936||$20,288|
If it feels like penalties have increased more often than usual in the past 5 years, that’s because they have.
Since the passage of the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act of 2015, government agencies are required to raise civil penalties annually to match the rate of inflation. Before the 2015 law, agencies like EPA and DOT were required to raise penalties for environmental and hazmat shipping mistakes once every four years.
Mitigating Factors for Environmental Violations
These factors include:
- The seriousness of the violation;
- the violators good faith efforts to comply;
- economic benefit gained as a result of noncompliance; and
- ability to pay.
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Tags: Clean Air Act, EPA, fines and penalties, hazardous waste management, RCRA
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