Wednesday, December 23, 2009

EPA Releases Annual Enforcement Results & Mapping Tool

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released enforcement results for fiscal year 2009, and has developed a new Web-based tool and interactive map that allows the public to get detailed information by location about the enforcement actions taken at approximately 4,600 facilities.

In FY2009, EPA concluded enforcement actions requiring polluters to invest more than $5 billion on pollution controls, cleanup, and environmental projects. Civil and criminal defendants committed to install controls and take other measures to reduce pollution by approximately 580 million pounds annually once all required controls are fully implemented.

The new mapping tool allows the public to view the locations of facilities that were the subject of those enforcement actions on interactive maps of the U.S. and territories. The maps show facilities where civil enforcement actions were taken for environmental laws for air, water, and land pollution, and a separate map shows criminal enforcement actions.

Viewers can click on specific facilities to find historical information about specific enforcement actions, such as violations and monetary penalties. In addition, viewers can use the zoom function to find out which facilities are located near water bodies that are listed as "impaired” because they do not meet federal water quality standards.

EPA mapped the locations of more than 90 percent of the facilities that were the subject of enforcement actions last year. EPA did not map the locations of drinking water treatment plants due to potential security concerns.

For the past 10 years, EPA has described annual enforcement results by focusing primarily on two measures, the estimated pounds of pollutants reduced and estimated cost of commitments made by defendants to control or reduce pollution. These measures vary significantly from year to year and are dependent upon the number of large cases that settle in a given year.

While these large cases are a vital part of our work to protect public health and improve compliance, they do not reflect the totality of the annual environmental enforcement activities, and do not capture the number and variety of enforcement actions taken to help clean up local communities. The new mapping tool will help increase transparency, improve access to data, and provide the public with the bigger picture of enforcement activity occurring in communities around the country.

More information

Friday, December 4, 2009

Sustain Magazine Promotes Green Urbanism

The latest issue of Sustain Magazine reflects current thinking in the area of green urbanism and urban sustainability in our cities. The issue features seven perspectives on the ideal city in terms of policy and planning. This publication (co-edited by John Gilderbloom and Matt Hanka) presents American and Dutch analysis on a range of topics including: equitable development; downtown revitalization; the benefits of bicycling; neighborhood planning; urban morphology; creating aculture of tolerance; and reducing carbon emissions.

Sustain Magazine is a peer reviewed publication, and it is produced by the Kentucky Institute for the Environment and Sustainable Development (KIESD). Formed by the University of Louisville in 1992, KIESD provides thegeneral public and the research community statewide with the tools andthe space to work towards a brighter future. The Institute if a forum for conducting interdisciplinary research, applied scholarly analysis, public service and educational outreach on environmental and sustainabledevelopment issues at the local, state, national and internationallevels.

Sustain Magazine of KIESD

Sustainable Communities Issue