EPA Enforcement of the Clean Air Act

The EPA 1990 Amendments Made the Clean Air Act Enforceable

The 1990 Clean Air Act is the most recent version of a law first passed in 1970 to clean up air pollution. It also included protection of ecosystems, plants and animals from harm, as well as protecting against decreased visibility and damage to crops, vegetation, and buildings. In its original form, it was difficult for the Environmental Protection Agency to penalize a company for violating the Clean Air Act. An wider range of civil and criminal sanctions became available with the 1990 Amendments which greatly strengthened EPA’s power to enforce the Act.

These amendments give EPA important enforcement powers. If the EPA finds that a violation has occurred, it initiates an enforcement action when a person, industry, or other entity fails to obey environmental laws embodied within the Clean Air Act.

The EPA may take numerous enforcement actions

The agency can issue an order requiring the violator to comply. This is an informal action, and may consist of a notice of noncompliance or warning letter.

A formal administrative response, such as a legal order, may be issued.

The agency has administrative authority to force payment of a penalty via an administrative penalty order; or with a criminal judicial response which may include sanctions, fines, and/or imprisonment.

Another option is to bring a civil judicial action, such as a lawsuit, in the U.S. Court system.

The EPA may also disallow receipt of Federal contracts.

DiJulio Law Group represents clients in a wide variety of administrative and judicial enforcement matters. We often have obtained dismissal of claims or substantially reduced penalties. We have effectively defended many Clean Air Act, Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) and Clean Water Act (CWA) enforcement actions. Our record of success includes many smaller companies in numerous air quality enforcement cases and other environmental problems.

DiJulio Law Group