Frequent Questions

Penalties for failure to report a release

What are the penalties for failure to report a release?

Failure to comply with the CERCLA section 103 notification requirements may result in fines, per offense, of up to $500,000 and prison sentences of up to three years (or up to five years for second and subsequent convictions). A person in charge of a vessel or facility with knowledge of a reportable release who fails to report the release immediately, or who submits information that he or she knows is false and misleading, is subject to these penalties. Section 325(b) of the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) establishes criminal penalties, per offense, of up to $25,000 and prison sentences of up to two years (or up to $50,000 and five years for second and subsequent convictions) for violations of EPCRA section 304 notification requirements.

CERCLA section 109 and EPCRA section 325 also authorize administrative penalties enforced through civil proceedings. There are two classes of administrative penalties: Class I penalties of up to $25,000 per violation and Class II penalties, which are assessed according to section 554 of the Administrative Procedure Act (which requires a formal hearing), of up to $25,000 per day of a continuing violation, or $75,000 per day for subsequent violations. The Agency may also impose Class II penalties by bringing action in the appropriate U.S. district court.

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