- WEB EXCLUSIVE
- PE COFFEEHAUS
"The number of businesses provided with compliance assistance increased 22 percent in 2003; more than 700,000 entities were assisted," said EPA Assistant Administrator for Enforcement and Compliance Assurance John Peter Suarez. "The web-based Compliance Assistance Centers registered more than 800,000 visits last year. This assistance activity heads off pollution before it starts and helps businesses run their environmental programs more efficiently and effectively."
The EPA's FY 2003 enforcement and compliance results include: more than 98 million pounds of sulfur dioxide to be removed from the air; nearly $2.9 billion committed by violators to correct violations, restore the environment and prevent future damage; a combined total of 146 sentence years for criminals who willfully or knowingly broke the law; about 19,000 EPA compliance inspections nationwide; and $167 million in administrative, criminal and civil judicial penalties.
Meanwhile, the Department of Justice has reported that FY 2003 was a record-breaking year for the recovery of civil penalties in environmental cases. Court awards and consent decrees achieved by the DOJ and the United States Attorney's Offices resulted in more than $203 million in penalties for civil violations of the nation's environmental laws. In contrast, during the three previous years, awards averaged about $75 million.
Of the $203 million in civil penalties recovered, $144.6 million were assessed for violations of the Clean Air Act; $53 million for violations of the Clean Water Act or Oil Pollution Act; $4.3 million for violations of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act; and $920,000 for violations of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. See www.epa.gov and www.usdoj.gov/.