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EPA Raises Civil Penalties for 2020

Posted on January 13, 2020 by Roger Marks


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 Penalties

Civil 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.
 
 
EPA Program
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 

In addition to the maximum civil penalty figures, EPA personnel consider a range of factors when assessing a penalty 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.
To defend against EPA penalties for noncompliance, your organization must be able to identify and apply the latest environmental regulations under a broad range of programs. Lion can help.

Visit Lion.com/Consulting to put Lion's 40+ years of regulatory expertise to work for you in the fields of hazardous materials shipping, hazardous waste management, and overall EH&S compliance.

Convenient, Effective Online EHS Manager Training

Managing site compliance with the many complex EPA programs that affect your business—from the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts to TSCA, EPCRA, CERLCA, and more—is a major challenge. If you’re new to the field, or need an update on changing EPA rules, online training is a convenient way to quickly build in-depth expertise.

Check out the latest EPA compliance training options here:
 
Clean Air Act Regulations Online
TSCA Regulations Online
New! Clean Water Act & SDWA Regulations Online
Just Launched! Superfund and Right-to-Know Act Regulations Online 
 
The 2020 nationwide schedule for the Complete Environmental Regulations Workshop is available online. Collaborate with other managers to identify the requirements that apply to your facility, ask the right questions, and make the right decisions about EPA compliance.