On Friday, July 1, 2016 the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) promulgated an interim final rule (81 FR 43091-43096) that will adjust the allowable civil penalty amounts for statutes they administer.
The Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act of 1996 required federal agencies to review their civil penalties every four years. However, with the 2015 amendments the Act now requires agencies to adjust the level of statutory civil penalties with a "catch-up" adjustment through an interim final rulemaking; and to make subsequent adjustments for inflation every year (beginning January 15, 2017). The 2015 Act sets a maximum allowable initial "catch-up" increase not to exceed 150% of the level that was in effect on November 2, 2015.
The interim final rule will be effective on August 1, 2016.
The inflation adjusted penalties will affect violations that have occurred after November 2, 2015 and that were assessed on or after August 1, 2016. The penalty amounts are the maximum allowed, under the statute, per day of violation. Some of the notable penalty adjustments include:
- 7 U.S.C. 1361(a)(1) - FIFRA from $5,000 to $18,750
- 15 U.S.C. 2615(a)(1) - TSCA from $25,000 to $37,500
- 33 U.S.C. 1319(d) - CWA from $25,000 to $51,570
- 42 U.S.C. 6928(a)(3) - RCRA from $25,000 to $93,750
- 42 U.S.C. 7413(b) - CAA from $25,000 to $93,750
See Table 2 of Section 19.4 at the link provided for a complete list of all of the EPA penalty adjustments.