December 5, 2008

EPA Reports Record Year For U.S. Polluters in 2008

A report released on Thursday showed that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency enforcement actions during the 2008 budget year resulted in a record $11.8 billion in pollution controls and projects to clean up the environment.

Granta Nakayama, assistant administrator for EPA's Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance, said the EPA estimated record pollution reductions of 3.9 billion pounds per year after the pollution control activities are completed.

The EPA said that would be nearly four times the level of pollution that was reduced by enforcement last year.

The enforcement division of the EPA cut tons of air pollution from power plants, stopped imports of engines spewing dirty emissions, protected water from construction site runoff and held polluters accountable for hazardous waste cleanups.

The agency cited several of its most notable cases in the 2008 budget year, including:

- 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. It 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.

- In the largest civil penalty ever for violations of Clean Air Act non-road engine regulations, Jenn Feng Industrial Company, a Taiwanese manufacturer, and three American corporations agreed to pay $2 million for importing 200,000 chainsaws that failed to meet federal air pollution requirements.

- Four U.S. 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.

- Central Appalachia's largest coal producer, Massey Energy Company, agreed to pay a $20 million penalty, the largest of its kind, for discharging pollution into local waterways.

- After entering a guilty plea for two pipeline leaks, one of which was the largest spill ever on the North Slope of Alaska, British Petroleum Exploration paid a $12 million criminal fine and $4 million in restitution to the state of Alaska.


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