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EPA achieves record pollution reductions in 2008 (12/5)

December 5, 2008
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In fiscal year 2008, EPA’s enforcement and compliance program concluded civil and criminal enforcement actions requiring regulated entities to spend an estimated $11.8 billion on pollution controls, cleanup and environmental projects, a record for the agency, according to a recent press release.

“After these pollution control activities are completed, EPA estimates record pollution reductions of 3.9 billion pounds per year,” said Granta Nakayama, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “This is nearly four times the level of pollution reduction achieved in FY 2007.”

Notable accomplishments included cutting tons of air pollution from power plants, convicting environmental criminals, stopping the import of illegal engines, protecting the nation’s water from construction site runoff, and holding polluters accountable for hazardous waste cleanups.

Specific EPA successes include:
  • In the largest settlement with a stationary source in EPA history, American Electric Power, a coal-fired electric utility company, agreed to install pollution controls and take other measures that will reduce a record 1.6 billion pounds of air pollution. The company also agreed to pay a $15 million penalty, the largest ever paid by an electric utility for New Source Review violations of the Clean Air Act.
  • Jenn Feng Industrial Company, a Taiwanese manufacturer, and three American corporations agreed to pay $2 million, the largest civil penalty ever for violations of Clean Air Act non-road engine regulations, to resolve violations from importing approximately 200,000 chainsaws that failed to meet federal air pollution requirements. The companies agreed to prevent future violations by implementing rigorous plans to ensure that all imports meet emissions and design standards.
  • Four of the nation's top ten home builders, Centex Homes, KB Home, Pulte Homes, and Richmond American Homes, agreed to pay civil penalties totaling $4.3 million to resolve alleged violations of the Clean Water Act for delays or failures to obtain proper storm water permits for numerous construction sites in 34 states and the District of Columbia. The settlements also require the companies to develop improved pollution prevention plans for each site, increase site inspections and promptly correct any problems that are detected.
  • Massey Energy Company, Inc., Central Appalachia’s largest coal producer, agreed to pay a $20 million penalty, the largest of its kind, for discharging pollution into local waterways. Massey also agreed to take measures at all of its facilities that will prevent an estimated 380 million pounds of sediment and other pollutants from entering the nation’s waters each year.
  • British Petroleum Exploration (Alaska), Inc., pleaded guilty and was ordered to pay a $12 million criminal fine and $4 million in restitution to the state of Alaska for two pipeline leaks, one of which was the largest spill ever on the state’s North Slope.
  • Owners or operators of hazardous waste sites committed to invest $1.6 billion for investigation and cleanup of Superfund sites, the highest total in seven years.
  • EPA reached a record $250 million settlement with W.R. Grace for asbestos contamination in Libby, Mont. This is largest cash payment ever made by a company to reimburse the federal government for the costs of investigating and cleaning up a Superfund site.
The report, U.S. EPA OECA Fiscal Year (FY) 2008 Accomplishments Report: Protecting Public Health and the Environment, is available online at http://www.epa.gov/compliance/resources/reports/accomplishments/oeca/fy08accomplishment.pdf.

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