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Federal Enforcement of Environmental Laws, 1997

NCJ Number
Date Published
November 1999
10 pages
John Scalia
Publication Type
This report presents data on defendants charged in 1997 with criminal or civil violations of Federal laws that protect the environment from excessive and unnecessary discharge of hazardous substance and other pollutants or laws that protect and conserve the Nation's natural resources and wildlife; the report also provides data on cases brought in U.S. district courts by private parties to enforce Federal environmental standards.
More than a quarter of the 952 suspects investigated were identified as organizations. Overall, U.S. attorneys declined to prosecute about half of those investigated (70 percent of organizations and 40 percent of individuals). Because many environmental statutes contain civil penalties, U.S. attorneys can dispose of an environmental matter through civil litigation. Eleven percent of criminal referrals were declined for prosecution in favor of a civil action. During 1997, 446 defendants were charged with a criminal environmental violation. Forty-seven percent were charged for the unlawful emission of a hazardous substance or other pollutant and 53 percent for a wildlife violation. 11 tables
Date Created: December 17, 2009