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New U.S. EPA Civil Penalty Amounts in Effect

January 28, 2021

On Dec. 23, 2020, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized its 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 penalty maximum levels to account for inflation. 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 (402/404 permit conditions or effluent limits): Violations up to $56,460 per day, per violation (up from $55,800).
  • Clean Water Act (oil and hazardous substance discharges): Violations up to $48,762 per day, per violation (up from $48,192).
  • Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (hazardous waste storage, management, and disposal requirements): Violations up to $76,764 per day, per violation (up from $75,867).
  • Toxic Substances Control Act (chemical management, reporting, and recordkeeping): Violations up to $41,056 per day, per violation (up from $40,576).
  • Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act: Violations up to $59,017 per day, per violation (up from $58,328).

These amounts apply to statutory civil penalties for violations that occur or occurred after November 2, 2015, where penalties are assessed on or after December 23, 2020.

For more information, contact Melinda Tomaino at melinda.tomaino@agc.org.  

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