EPA Consent Agreements: What They Are and Why They Matter
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is responsible for enforcing federal regulations that protect our environment. One of the ways they do this is through consent agreements.
What is an EPA consent agreement?
An EPA consent agreement is a legal agreement between the EPA and an individual or company that is alleged to have violated environmental regulations. The agreement outlines the specific violations and the steps the violator must take to come into compliance.
Why are they important?
Consent agreements are an important tool for the EPA to enforce environmental regulations and hold violators accountable for any harm they may have caused to the environment or public health. By entering into a consent agreement, violators agree to take specific actions to come into compliance and avoid further penalties.
What kind of violations lead to consent agreements?
Consent agreements can be issued for a variety of violations, including but not limited to:
-Unauthorized discharges of pollutants into waterways
-Violations of clean air standards
-Improper disposal of hazardous waste
-Failure to properly label and store chemicals
What are the consequences of violating a consent agreement?
If a violator fails to comply with the terms of a consent agreement, they may face additional penalties and enforcement actions, including fines and injunctions.
Recent examples of EPA consent agreements
In recent years, several companies have entered into consent agreements with the EPA. Some notable examples include:
– In 2020, Shell Chemical agreed to pay $10 million to settle a case related to hazardous waste violations at a Pennsylvania facility.
– In 2019, Fiat Chrysler paid $305 million to settle a case related to emissions cheating in diesel vehicles.
– In 2018, Walmart agreed to pay $1.3 million to settle a case related to hazardous waste violations at stores across the country.
EPA consent agreements are an important tool for the agency to enforce environmental regulations and hold violators accountable. Through these agreements, companies and individuals are required to take specific actions to come into compliance and avoid further penalties. As we continue to face environmental challenges, consent agreements will be an integral part of the EPA`s efforts to protect public health and the environment.