National Enforcement Initiatives for Fiscal Years 2008 - 2010:
Note: EPA no longer updates this information, but it may be useful as a reference or resource.
Annual Results Report
For additional civil and criminal compliance and enforcement results, see:
On February 22, 2010, EPA renamed its "National Enforcement Priorities" to "National Enforcement Initiatives" and announced the Agency’s National Enforcement Initiatives for the 2011-2013 fiscal years.
EPA's enforcement of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) and Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) ensures that people and the environment are protected from exposure to hazardous wastes.
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Financial assurance protects human health and the environment by promoting the proper and safe handling of hazardous materials and protecting against a liable party defaulting on closure, post-closure, and/or clean-up obligations. These benefits are lost unless there is compliance with the financial responsibility requirements and enforcement where there is a failure to maintain sufficient financial assurances. Absent financial assurance, protection of human health and the environment would depend on available government financial resources. Consistent with EPA's mandate to protect human health and the environment, deter illegal activities, and the Agency's long standing "polluter pays" principle, ensuring full compliance with financial responsibility requirements reduces the likelihood of improper handling and release of hazardous materials and wastes and the shifting of the costs from the responsible parties to the taxpayers. This is of particular concern in times of shrinking budgets. The existence of this priority is even more important given the current economic downturn.
EPA's Financial Assurance national priority seeks to ensure full compliance with the financial responsibility requirements. Initially, EPA reviewed site specific financial assurance files to determine compliance with the RCRA or CERCLA financial responsibility requirements. Upon completion of the file reviews, EPA has undertaken both informal and formal enforcement actions to bring facilities into compliance with financial assurance requirements. See the Strategy Summary of 2008 - 2010 for Financial Responsibility Under Federal Laws (PDF) (2pp, 23K, About PDF).
- Between 2006 and 2010, of the 2,258 facilities with RCRA Closure/Post-Closure obligations, EPA has performed preliminary financial assessments at 1,746 facilities and 1,312 of these are in compliance or on a path to compliance with financial assurance requirements.
- OECA is continuing to review and follow up on the responses received to the 22 RCRA information requests sent in 2009 to facilities using the financial test or corporate guarantee that appeared to have bonds in junk bond status or on the cusp of junk bond status. OECA coordinated with EPA Regions and states to send out notices of violation and letters notifying companies that they no longer qualified to use the financial test or corporate guarantee as financial assurance.
RCRA Corrective Action
- Between 2006 and 2010, EPA performed preliminary financial assessments at 417 facilities with corrective action obligations and 352 of these are in compliance or on a path to compliance with financial assurance requirements.
- In 2010, EPA ensured that 55 facilities with a cost estimate above $1 million were in compliance with their financial assurance requirements for RCRA corrective action. The financial assurance for all the facilities represents a total assurance of approximately $778.5 million dollars.
In FY 2011, EPA regions will continue to conduct financial assurance activities and take enforcement actions to ensure that companies set aside funds for site clean-up and spill response. See the FY 2011-2013 National Enforcement Initiatives for more information on the initiatives and the rationale for their selection.