After self-reporting environmental violations at 12 facilities in seven states, Invista will spend up to $500 million to correct the problems, on top of a $1.7 million civil penalty.
This is the largest such settlement under the Environmental Protection Agency’s audit policy, according to a press release.
Invista, which manufactures polymer-based fibers including Lycra, Stainmaster and Coolmax, purchased the facilities in 2004 from DuPont, after which it disclosed to EPA more than 680 violations relating to air, water, hazardous waste, pesticide regulations, and energy planning and preparedness. the release stated.
By fixing the problems, Invista will reduce air pollution by 10,000 tons a year, and EPA estimates that alone may result in annual health benefits worth $325 million, including 30 fewer premature deaths annually, 2,000 fewer days per year where people miss work or school, and as much as 9,000 fewer cases of respiratory illness.
“Invista is making a clean start in a settlement that achieves significant environmental benefits, and we encourage other new owners to do the same,” said Catherine R. McCabe, acting assistant administrator of EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance, in the press release.
EPA provides incentives to companies that “voluntarily discover, promptly disclose, and expeditiously correct environmental violations.”
If companies also take steps to prevent future violations, EPA has the discretion to reduce or waive penalties for certain violations. In this case, EPA waived a a large portion of the penalty. Learn more about the settlement here.
EPA introduced the notion of reduced penalties for self-reporting in 2007.