Criminal Prosecution Rates for Environmental Crimes Near Zero
The Environmental Protection Agency, the government agency charged with safeguarding the country’s health from environmental pollutants, pursues criminal charges in “fewer than one-half of one percent” of total legal violations. And the U.S. Justice Department has an even worse record. Consequently, all corporate violators, even repeat offenders and those involved in the illegal release of large amounts of dangerous toxic chemicals, escape criminal prosecution.
The Environmental Protection Agency, the key department in safeguarding the country’s health from pollutants, pursues criminal charges in fewer than one-half of one percent of total violations, according to new research. Both the EPA and the Department of Justice do continue to score high-visibility accountability successes for environmental crimes every year, but most of these are civil charges, which require less evidence to prove and fewer resources to prosecute.