Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Criminal prosecutions from EPA investigations lowest in 20 years; water pollution tops list

Criminal prosecutions in fiscal year 2016 from Environmental Protection Agency investigations are the lowest in 20 years, says a report released Tuesday by Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, a research center at Syracuse University. Through the first 11 months of the fiscal year there have been 81 prosecutions, which is on pace for 88 for the year, down 20 percent from last year and down from 182 five years ago. (TRAC graphic: prosecutions by fiscal year)
Criminal prosecutions resulting from EPA referrals to federal prosecutors peaked at 198 during FY 1998 when President Clinton was in office and reached 196 during President George W. Bush's first year in office, researchers said. "The decline in prosecutions has been driven largely by the decline in EPA criminal referrals. During the Obama administration federal prosecutors filed criminal charges in 43.1 percent of EPA referrals, compared with 40.2 percent during the prior Bush administration."

Of this year's investigations 63 led to convictions, with 61 pleading guilty, researchers found. Of the 63 convictions, 19 involved water pollution, eight were for air pollution and six for hazardous waste management. Of the 63 convictions, 22 received prison time. The longest sentence was 121 months (10 years) and the average sentence was 12 months. (Read more)

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