WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Environmental Protection Agency enforcement actions during the 2008 budget year resulted in a record $11.8 billion in pollution controls and projects to clean up the environment, the agency said on Thursday.
"After these pollution control activities are completed, EPA estimates record pollution reductions of 3.9 billion pounds per year," said Granta Nakayama, assistant administrator for EPA's Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance.
That would be nearly four times the level of pollution that was reduced by enforcement during 2007, the EPA said.
The agency said its enforcement division cut tons of air pollution from power plants, stopped imports of engines spewing dirty emissions, protected water from construction site runoff and held polluters accountable for hazardous waste cleanups.
Some of biggest EPA cases in the 2008 budget year, which ended on September 30, were:
* In one of the largest settlements in EPA history, American Electric Power, a coal-fired electric utility company, agreed to install pollution controls and take other measures that will reduce a record 1.6 billion pounds of air pollution. The company also agreed to pay a $15 million penalty, the largest ever paid by an electric utility for New Source Review violations of the Clean Air Act.
* Jenn Feng Industrial Company, a Taiwanese manufacturer, and three American corporations agreed to pay $2 million, the largest civil penalty ever for violations of Clean Air Act non-road engine regulations, for importing 200,000 chainsaws that failed to meet federal air pollution requirements.
* Four of the top 10 U.S. home builders, Centex Homes, KB Home, Pulte Homes, and Richmond American Homes, agreed to pay civil penalties totaling $4.3 million to resolve alleged violations of the Clean Water Act for delays or failures to obtain proper storm water permits for numerous construction sites.
* Massey Energy Company, Inc., Central Appalachia's largest coal producer, agreed to pay a $20 million penalty, the largest of its kind, for discharging pollution into local waterways.
* British Petroleum Exploration (Alaska), Inc., pleaded guilty and was ordered to pay a $12 million criminal fine and $4 million in restitution to the state of Alaska for two pipeline leaks, one of which was the largest spill ever on the state's North Slope.