On Feb. 6, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized its 2019 penalty rule that increased the maximum civil penalties per violation of an environmental statute or agency regulation. These annual adjustments are required by the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Improvements Act of 2015. Below are the new 2019 penalty maximum levels to account for inflations. In practice, fines tend to track the perceived or actual economic benefit derived from the violation(s) – consistent with applicable EPA penalty policies.
- Clean Water Act (permits effluent limits): Violations up to $54,833 per day, per violation (up from $53,484); for purposes of Section 404, a day of violation may be a day that actual discharge of dredged or fill material takes place or may also include any day that such dredged or fill material remains in the waters or wetlands.
- Clean Water Act (oil and hazardous substance discharges): Violations up to $47,357 per day, per violation (up from $46,192).
- Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (hazardous waste storage, management, and disposal requirements): Violations up to $74,552 per day, per violation (up from $72,718).
- Toxic Substances Control Act (chemical management, reporting, and recordkeeping): Violations up to $39,873 per day, per violation (up from $38,892).
- Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act: Violations up to $57,317 per day, per violation (up from $55,907).
These amounts apply to statutory civil penalties for violations that occurred after November 2, 2015, where penalties are assessed on or after January 15, 2019.