The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) yesterday announced its 2016 annual enforcement and compliance results, highlighted by a series of high-impact cases that are delivering environmental and public health benefits to communities across the country. During EPA’s 2016 fiscal year—which spanned October 1, 2015 to September 30, 2016—EPA enforcement actions secured $13.7 billion in investments by companies for projects to control pollution. EPA also secured enforceable commitments that ensure the proper treatment, storage and disposal of an estimated 62 billion pounds of hazardous waste, the majority coming through a settlement with Mosaic Fertilizer for their eight facilities across Florida and Louisiana.
Two recent landmark settlements—one with BP and one with Volkswagen—are among the most comprehensive and impactful environmental cases in U.S. history. On April 4, 2016, the court entered an agreement with BP for a $20.8 billion settlement to resolve Clean Water Act violations stemming from the Deepwater Horizon blowout and resulting oil spill, with more than $20 billion going to restore impacted communities and the environment. In a case that was lodged in fiscal year 2015 but not entered by the court until October 25, 2016, Volkswagen agreed to spend up to $14.7 billion on projects to reduce air pollution, remedy environmental damage and buy back 2.0 liter diesel vehicles to settle allegations of using illegal software to cheat emissions tests and deceive customers.
“EPA’s enforcement work continues to hold violators accountable and deliver investments to reduce pollution in our communities,” said Cynthia Giles, Assistant Administrator for EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “The American public depends on EPA to enforce the law, protect our communities from pollution and help ensure a level playing field for responsible companies.”