Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) catalyzed numerous changes throughout the years. But one of the most recent and significant modifications includes increment of civil monetary penalties that are monitored under federal environmental laws.

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Modifications in civil monetary penalties?

EPA proceeded with an interim final rule on 1 July, 2016 which outlined an increase in civil monetary penalties. This came into effect on August 1, 2016 and demands implementation through Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act (2015). The Act 2015 encourages increment in civil monetary penalties, and main goal objectives are as listed below:

  1. To reflect inflation
  2. Sustain deterrent effect of statutory civil penalties
  3. Promote law and regulations compliance

The Inflation Adjustment Act 1990 made it mandatory for federal agencies like EPA to review civil monetary penalties every four years. This was meant to keep inflation records in check, however a few agencies did not adhere to this requirement. But ever since the interim, Act 2015 has become increasingly significant and emphasizes the initial ‘adjustment’ of civil penalties, also known as “catch-up adjustment”. Additionally, annual adjustments are to be applied and followed by January 15, 2017. This means that companies need to make sure they are fully compliant and up to date with the current modifications.

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Which Acts are affected?

Other EPA administered statutes have adjusted civil penalties due to the interim final rule. These statutes are stated below and reflect the urgency to implement environmental compliance, safety and health codes:

  1. Clean Air Act (CAA)
  2. Clean Water Act (CWA)
  3. Toxic Substances Control Act
  4. Safe Drinking Water Act
  5. Resource Conservation and Recovery Act
  6. Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation and, Liability Act

Sneak peek into the increment of civil monetary penalties:

Previously with special regard to CAA, the maximum per-day penalty was $37,500 for non-compliance. This also comprised of violations that pertained to implementation plans that took into consideration; emitting sources or facilities that were releasing hazardous waste and substances. Stationary sources also come under the CAA, this means that oil refineries, petrochemical plants or other heavy industrial factories need to be more vigilant. EPA modifications pay close attention to air, water and overall; environmental pollution; therefore, increasing penalties for CAA come up to $93,750 per day for each violation.

Likewise, the civil monetary penalty with reference to Clean Water Act (CWA) has risen from $37,500 to a hefty $44,539 per day for non-compliance.

In conclusion, companies will have to pay heavy civil monetary penalties if any of the environmentally relevant Acts are breached. The 2015 Act reinforces the idea of reviewing penalties to determine inflation and EPA falls under this regulation too. This means that companies need to be on top of their game with air and gas emission regulations and must succumb to sustainability in the long run.  How can we help you in keeping up with recent modifications to avoid imposing penalties?

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