On January 13 and 15, 2020, EPA and the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), respectively, published their annual civil monetary penalty adjustments in the Federal Register. The Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act of 2015 requires federal agencies to make annual inflation adjustments to federal statutory civil penalty amounts. The annual inflation adjustments are based on a cost-of-living multiplier determined by changes to the Consumer Price Index. This year’s inflation multiplier is 1.01764.
For EPA, the increased civil penalty amounts apply to every major environmental statute, including the Clean Air Act (CAA), the Clean Water Act (CWA), the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA), the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), and the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA), among others. For these programs the civil penalty amounts increased as follows:
- CAA civil penalties increased to $101,439 (from $99,681) per day, per violation
- CWA civil penalties increased to $55,800 (from $54,833) per day, per violation
- SDWA civil penalties increased to $58,328 (from $57,317) per day, per violation
- RCRA civil penalties increased to $75,867 (from $74,552) per day, per violation
- TSCA civil penalties increased to $40,576 (from $39,873) per day, per violation
- EPCRA civil penalties increased to $58,328 (from $57,317) per day, per violation
The adjusted amounts apply to penalties assessed on or after January 13, 2020 for violations that occurred after November 2, 2015, the date Congress enacted the penalty adjustment legislation.
For OSHA, the adjusted penalty amounts apply to any penalties assessed after January 15, 2020, even where inspections may have occurred earlier. The civil penalties for key violations increased as follows:
- For willful and repeat violations: to $134,937 (from $132,598)
- For serious and other-than-serious violations: to $13,494 (from $13,260)
- For failure to correct a violation: to $13,494 (from $13,260)
- For posting requirement violations: to $13,494 (from $13,260)
For more information regarding civil monetary penalties, please contact Brooks Smith or Patrick Fanning.