Putting TRAC to Work
  News Organizations
The Crime Report
September 22, 2014

Who’s Policing the Polluters?
By Graham Kates

A recent investigation by The Crime Report, of thousands of records compiled by the EPA, reveals that enforcement of corporate environmental crime remains extremely rare. The Crime Report’s database, made with support from the Fund for Investigative Journalism, allows citizens to find out which companies have violated environmental laws in their communities; how much—if anything—they’ve been fined; and how long those companies have been operating in violation. More than 64,000 facilities are currently listed in agency databases as being in violation of federal environmental laws, but in most years, fewer than one-half of one percent of violations trigger criminal investigations, according to EPA records. A recent study by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University confirms The Crime Report’s findings. During the first nine months of fiscal year 2014, the government launched 271 environmental prosecutions, on pace to decrease about 20 percent from 2013, when the government conducted 449 prosecutions. The 2013 total was significantly lower than in 2012, when 612 defendants were prosecuted.

Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, Syracuse University
Copyright 2014
TRAC TRAC at Work TRAC TRAC at Work News Organizations News Organizations