April 17, 2020

EPA’s 2019 enforcement scorecard

EPA has made available its Environmental Enforcement Results for fiscal year 2019. The results, published by the Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance (OECA), are available online. There you will find a summary and analysis of OECA’s accomplishments in its civil, criminal, Superfund, and other compliance programs (including federal facility compliance). The interactive story map contains EPA’s full report, including analyses and trends, a case map to search for individual enforcement actions, and more.

Compared to previous years, the data continues a general downward trend with some notable exceptions. The amount of criminal fines and restitution increased from 2018 to 2019 to a respectable $109 million. Although the number of new criminal cases filed and defendants charged were up some, they made up only a fraction of their decline from 2013 through 2018. Voluntary disclosures have been growing steadily since 2018, and the value of civil penalties was also up from 2018 to $361 million.

What’s down? The results note decreases in the volume of contaminated environmental media cleaned up, commitments to treat hazardous and nonhazardous waste, inspections, civil enforcement cases, and supplemental environmental projects. More tellingly, the number of EPA inspections also continues to drop, down 25 percent since the Trump Administration took office, and almost 50 percent since 2012 due to budgeting constraints placed on the agency by Congress.


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