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Guidance: Penalty Matrix for RCRA Section 7003 Civil Penalty Policy

The Agency is required to annually adjust the maximum amounts of its civil monetary penalties in order to keep pace with inflation and maintain their deterrent effect. EPA recently made such adjustments in a January 13, 2020 Federal Register notice (85 Fed. Reg. 1751).

Over the years, EPA has exercised its discretion to make corresponding increases of the dollar amounts in the policies it uses when negotiating settlements of penalty claims.

In 1997, the Agency issued guidance for the use of administrative orders under section 7003 of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). See "Guidance on the Use of Section 7003 of RCRA" (10/20/1997).The 1997 guidance included a matrix to determine the appropriate amount for settlement negotiations.

Consistent with the increase of the statutory maximum, EPA recently updated the RCRA § 7003 penalty matrix in a memorandum dated January 23, 2020.

The Agency plans to update the penalty matrix again in the future, after the next increase in the statutory maximum.

RCRA § 7003 Penalty Matrices  
July 17, 2009 Matrix Cases where a violation occurred on or before November 2, 2015 and a penalty has not yet been assessed
January 23, 2020 Matrix Cases where violation occurred/occurs after November 2, 2015 and a penalty has not yet been assessed

The RCRA § 7003 penalty matrices referenced in the above table are available for download:

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