WASHINGTON — Dec. 16, 2015 — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced its 2015 efforts to protect public health across the country in its annual enforcement and compliance results, according to a press release.

The EPA’s major actions include record-setting hazardous waste, Clean Air Act and Superfund settlements, noted the release. It also pursued a settlement to restore the Gulf of Mexico and launched an investigation into Volkswagen for illegal air pollution.

“The large cases we tackled in 2015 will drive compliance across industries, and protect public health in communities for years to come,” said Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator for the EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance, in the release. “These cases are putting cutting edge tools to work and using innovative approaches to reduce pollution. Through another strong year in enforcement, we are implementing America’s environmental laws and delivering on EPA’s mission.”

Federal administrative, civil judicial penalties and criminal fines related to EPA cases totaled $404 million, stated the release. About 430 million pounds of air pollutants were reduced, and communities will benefit from environmental projects totaling more than $39 million.

The agency’s cases addressed compliance issues across several industries, including:

  • Court-ordered environmental projects totaled $4 billion and generated $200 million in fines and restitution.
  • Duke Energy Corporation subsidiaries agreed to a $68 million criminal fine and $34 million on environmental projects to benefit rivers and wetlands in North Carolina and Virginia.

Other efforts were made to reduce pollution, including working closely with governments to cut raw sewage discharge and contaminated stormwater in Fort Smith, Arkansas; Delaware County, Pennsylvania; and Puerto Rico, reported the release. Other projects include:

  • Cal-Maine Foods will implement measures to comply with pollutant-controlling laws.
  • XTO Energy will comply with water protection law and restore eight West Virginia sites damaged when streams and wetlands were filled to construct roadways.
  • Nevada gold mining operations settlements ensured more than 180 million pounds of hazardous waste were treated, minimized or properly disposed.
  • Water quality will be improced in the largest bankruptcy-related cleanup settlement in the U.S. with Anadarko and Kerr McGee. Cleanup efforts will cost more than $4.4 billion.
  • The U.S. Army addressed more than 19 million cubic yards of contaminated groundwater at the Anniston Army Depot in Alabama. The U.S. Navy and Defense Logistics Agency will implement at least $90 million to prevent potential leaks at the Red Hill Bulk Storage Facility in Hawaii.

You can find the entire release here.