Inflation Pushes Civil Penalties Higher
By Andy Bowman, Attorney, Bingham Greenebaum Doll LLP
On December 11, 2008, the U.S. EPA published a final rule setting higher maximum civil penalties under 15 federal environmental laws. 73 Federal Register 75340 (December 11, 2008). Most violations of the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, Emergency Planning and Community Right-To-Know Act and other major federal environmental statutes will be subject to a maximum penalty of $37,500 per day beginning January 12, 2009. The higher civil penalties will apply only to violations which occur after January 12, 2009. Federal law requires the U.S. EPA to adjust civil penalty amounts for inflation every 4 years. The last adjustment occurred in 2004. Most penalty provisions were increased 9.83%. A complete list of the new civil penalty amounts can be found in the Federal Register notice.