Criminal violations of environmental law are prosecuted by EPA and DOJ. Despite decades of such prosecutions, there has been relatively little analysis done towards understanding existing patterns in criminal prosecution of environmental crimes, especially on a regional basis. This article analyzes the 287 prosecutions which occurred in EPA Region 6 between 1983–2022, out of the 2,807 total environmental crimes prosecuted by all of EPA during that period. In the selected cases, defendants were cumulatively assessed with over $908 million in monetary penalties, 225 years of incarceration, and 1,032 years of probation. At 43 percent of the selected prosecutions, water pollution crimes dominated the analysis, followed by hazardous substances (24 percent), air pollution (17 percent), and state-level crimes (14 percent). A majority of prosecutions took place in Louisiana and Texas. Based on our findings, we offer recommendations to enhance criminal enforcement through increased federal funding for core operations, supporting state criminal enforcement efforts, and building up criminal enforcement associations.
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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 International License.
Dr. Joshua Ozymy & Dr. Melissa J. Ozymy,
From Austin to Santa Fe: Exploring the Prosecution of Environmental Crimes Within EPA Region 6,
Nat. Res. J.
Available at: https://digitalrepository.unm.edu/nrj/vol63/iss2/5