Federal Environmental Prosecutions Fall to Record Low
(22 May 2017) The latest available data from the Justice Department show that during the first six months of FY 2017 the government reported 152 new environment prosecutions. If this activity continues at the same pace for the remainder of the year, environmental prosecutions will be at the lowest ever recorded since the Justice Department started tracking its environmental prosecutions over two decades ago.

Compared to five years ago, the estimate for FY 2017 is down 50.3 percent according to case- by-case information on environmental prosecutions analyzed by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) at Syracuse University. Fourteen out of the 152 involved prosecution of businesses. The rest were individuals. Businesses were primarily prosecuted for water pollution under 33 U.S.C. 1319 and for air pollution under 42 U.S.C. 7413.

The Western District of Louisiana (Shreveport) and Alaska were the most active districts in the country in terms of environmental prosecutions relative to their population. The per capita prosecution rate in each of these two districts was over 20 times the national average during the first six months of FY 2017. Violations of federal protections for marine mammals and illegally taking fish and wildlife were the type of offenses prosecuted in Alaska, while those in Louisiana typically involved regulatory offenses involving wildlife refuge areas. The Central District of Illinois (Springfield) was noteworthy for a case with ten defendants charged with running prohibited animal fighting ventures.

For additional details including figures for top ten districts and most common lead charges, see full report at:

In addition to these most recent overall figures, TRAC continues to offer free monthly reports on selected government agencies such as the FBI, ATF, DHS and the IRS. TRAC's reports also monitor program categories such as immigration, drugs, weapons, white collar crime and terrorism. For the latest information on prosecutions and convictions through March 2017, go to:

Even more detailed criminal enforcement information for the period from FY 1986 through March 2017 is available to TRACFed subscribers via the Express and Going Deeper tools. Go to for more information. Customized reports for a specific agency, district, program, lead charge or judge are available via the TRAC Data Interpreter, either as part of a TRACFed subscription or on a per-report basis. Go to to start.

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