In January 2018, both EPA and OSHA increased civil penalties for new enforcement cases. These increases are required by the Federal Civil Penalty Inflation Adjustment Act of 2015 (Inflationary Adjustment Act), which directs federal agencies to annually adjust civil penalties for inflation by January 15 of each new calendar year in order to “maintain the deterrent effect of civil penalties by translating originally enacted statutory civil penalty amounts to today’s dollars.” 83 Fed. Reg. 1190, at 1191 (January 10, 2018).
EPA’s new increased civil penalties take effect for penalties assessed on or after January 15, 2018, for violations that occurred after November 2, 2015 (when the Inflationary Adjustment Act was enacted). 83 Fed. Reg. 1190 (January 10, 2018). As a result of the inflationary updates, many of the environmental penalties now range between $53,484 and $55,907, although some of the penalties are as much as $97,229 per day, per violation.
OSHA’s increased fines apply to any penalties assessed after January 2, 2018. 83 Fed. Reg. 7 (January 2, 2018). OSHA penalties are now:
- $12,934 per violation (for conduct that is Serious, Other-Than-Serious, Posting Requirements, and Failure to Abate for each day); and
- $129,336 per violation (for conduct that is Willful or Repeated).