August 3, 2009
On July 30, 2009 the MPCA issued its second quarter 2009 enforcement summary that lists final actions the Agency took to address compliance issues. From April 1, 2009 through June 30, 2009 the MPCA took final enforcement action in 93 separate cases and collected over $500,000 in civil penalties. In most cases, penalties collected by the MPCA are deposited to the State of Minnesota’s General Fund. Penalties collected in cases involving alleged hazardous waste violations are deposited into the State’s Superfund.
Actions were brought against businesses, other state agencies, municipalities, state colleges and universities, individuals and even one involving a church. A copy of the current enforcement summary report is found at: http://www.pca.state.mn.us/newscenter/enforcement.html
Nineteen cases were resolved through negotiated Stipulation Agreements, essentially out-of-court settlements. Penalties in these Stipulation Agreements ranged from $35,000 to $2,000.
The remaining 74 enforcement matters, where penalties in one form or another were assessed in the second quarter of 2009, were resolved through the MPCA’s Administrative Penalty Order (APO) enforcement tool. The MPCA has the authority to unilaterally issue an APO assessing a penalty of up to $10,000 for violations observed by the MPCA during an inspection. Parties who receive an APO may seek review of the MPCA’s enforcement action before a state district court judge or before a state administrative law judge. If review is not sought in 30 days, the APO becomes a final order which the MPCA can enforce in an action in state district court.
At Hessian & McKasy our environmental attorneys assist clients in addressing compliance issues including responding to inspections and enforcement actions initiated by the MPCA and other federal, state and local environmental agencies. Each case presents unique facts and circumstances. Regulated parties should consult with qualified and experienced environmental counsel to assess their liability and the legal implications of such actions. For information on professional services that we provide related to enforcement actions please seehttp://www.enviroattorney.net/Enforcement.php.
The views expressed here are my own and do not reflect the views of my employer, Hessian & McKasy. P.A.
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