Summary of enforcement actions

Summary of enforcement actions by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency; updated biannually.

Current biannual enforcement summary

NOTE TO NEWS EDITORS AND DIRECTORS: The file below includes penalties issued by the MPCA that became public information during the first half of 2020. If a separate news release was issued on the case, the list includes a hyperlink to that release. 

We welcome your inquiries to localize these stories. For more details on a specific enforcement case, please contact Stephen Mikkelson, Information Officer: 218-316-3887 or 1-800-657-3864 toll free.

Previous summaries

News releases

Penalty types

Administrative Penalty Orders (APO) are issued to resolve compliance problems involving state or federal environmental laws. The severity of the enforcement action depends on the environmental impact of the violation, whether it is a repeat offense, and how quickly the problem is corrected, among other factors.

An APO contains a monetary penalty and a schedule of actions the violator must follow to return to compliance. The maximum penalty that can be assessed in an APO is $20,000.

There are three types of APOs: forgivable, nonforgivable or a combination of the two.

  • A forgivable APO assesses a penalty, but "forgives" it if corrective actions are completed on schedule.
  • With a nonforgiveable APO, no portion of the monetary penalty is waived.
  • In a combination APO, a portion of the monetary penalty is forgiven if corrective actions are completed on schedule -- usually within 30 days.

Learn more: PDF icon Administrative Penalty Orders factsheet (gp2-01)

Stipulation agreements (STIP) are negotiated settlements used when violations are serious enough to warrant a monetary, civil penalty greater than $20,000. They are also used when the actions needed to correct the problem are apt to take more than 30 days to complete.

Stipulation agreements also include a schedule the violator must follow to return to compliance with applicable environmental regulations. Depending on the size of the monetary penalty and the violator's ability to pay, a payment schedule may also be included in the agreement.

Supplement Environmental Projects (SEP) are intended to provide "extra" environmental and public health benefits. SEPs are environmentally beneficial projects which a defendant or respondent agrees to undertake in the settlement of an enforcement action, but which the defendant or respondent is not otherwise legally required to perform. SEPs are often used as part of a stipulation agreement.

Consent decrees are the highest level of enforcement action that the agency uses.  They are overseen by a court and typically used for cases that have very high penalties, or when court oversight would be necessary or beneficial. This type of action is not commonly used.