By Jessica Lyons Hardcastle, Environmental Leader
Major companies racked up more than $20 billion in enforcement costs for environmental, health and safety and other violations between Election Day and Donald Trump’s inauguration.
It follows an earlier EPA report that says environmental compliance alone cost companies $13.7 billion in 2016.
The recent data posted at Violation Tracker includes 16 cases with penalties of $100 million or more, including four in excess of $1 billion: Deutsche Bank ($7.2 billion), Credit Suisse ($5.3 billion), Volkswagen ($4.3 billion) and Takata ($1 billion).
Banks and other financial services companies account for the largest portion by far of the recent cases, racking up nearly $15 billion in fines and settlements. Automotive companies like Volkswagen and Takata are second with about $5.5 billion, while pharmaceutical and healthcare firms account for about $1.2 billion.
In addition to the recent cases, Violation Tracker now includes data from nine additional federal agencies, bringing the total to 39.
Violation Tracker contains more than 120,000 entries with total penalties of more than $320 billion, most of that connected to some 2,300 large parent companies whose disparate individual entries are linked together in the database. Coverage currently begins in 2010 but will be extended back to 2000 later this year.
Individual entries include links to official online information sources.
There has been much speculation that EHS and other compliance costs will decrease under President Trump’s administration and Scott Pruitt’s EPA. Trump last month told automakers that environmental regulations are “out of control” and pledged to make it easier to build plants in the US as part of his push to boost American manufacturing.
And today, Trump is expected to send his budget proposals to federal agencies, and his spending plan reportedly reduces EPA funding by tens of billions of dollars — meaning significantly less funding for environmental enforcement.