Violations of environmental laws carry substantial risk of fines for violations, whether or not the violation was negligent. On August 5, a cleanup crew of Region 8 of the US Environmental Protection Agency breached a debris dam at the Gold King Mine. This is a major environmental event. Public and agricultural use of downstream waters has stopped as communities have declared states of emergency.
If a private entity had been responsible for it, EPA and the Department of Justice would seek substantial fines and penalties, and perhaps file criminal charges, especially for its delayed an incompetent reporting. Suppose EPA were subject to fines and penalties. How large might they be?