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EPA Enforcement Secures $13.7B in FY 2016

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) secured $13.7 billion during fiscal year (FY) 2016 from companies to control pollution, including several in the oil and natural gas industry, the agency said Monday in its annual enforcement results release.

FY 2016, which ran from Oct. 1, 2015 to Sept. 30, 2016, included a landmark $20.8 billion settlement with BP plc to resolve Clean Water Act violations from the Macondo well blowout in 2010. The settlement was reached in October 2015 and the court entered it in April.

The period's enforcement actions were up from FY 2015, when the EPA secured about $7 billion from companies. FY 2016 included commitments from companies to reduce, treat or eliminate releases of pollution by an estimated 324 million pounds per year and the cleanup of an estimated 174 million cubic yards of contaminated water or aquifers, and 17 million cubic yards of contaminated soil.

The agency collected $6 billion in federal administrative, civil judicial and criminal penalties, along with $207 million in criminal fines and restitution, during FY 2016. That's up from $404 million in federal administrative and civil judicial penalties, and $200 million in fines and restitution in FY 2015.

The EPA also said Enbridge Inc. would spend at least $110 million to implement state-of-the-art leak detection and monitoring measures to prevent spills, improve operations and protect communities across nearly 2,000 miles of its pipeline system in the Great Lakes region, as part of the agency's 2016 enforcement efforts. That money stems from oil spills that occurred in 2010 in Michigan and Illinois.

Marathon Petroleum Corp., the EPA said, would spend $319 million to install state-of-the-art air pollution controls at refineries in five different states in the Southeast and Midwest. Tesoro Corp. and Par Hawaii Refining are also spending $403 million on pollution control equipment to reduce air pollution at six refineries as part of 2016 enforcement actions.

"EPA's enforcement work continues to hold violators accountable and deliver investments to reduce pollution in our communities," said Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator for EPA's Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. "The American public depends on EPA to enforce the law, protect our communities from pollution and help ensure a level playing field for responsible companies."

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