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Environmental Crimes

NCJ Number
American Criminal Law Review Volume: 48 Issue: 2 Dated: Spring 2011 Pages: 541-628
Henry Klementowicz; Gabriel Maser; Daniel Starck; Brent Tunis
Date Published
88 pages
This article reviews the purposes, elements, defenses, and penalties of the nine principal Federal statutes enacted to protect and preserve the Nation's natural environment.
An introductory section addresses criminal versus civil penalties regarding violations against environmental laws, general enforcement measures, and interaction with other criminal violations. This is followed by a section that addresses general issues related to environmental laws, including elements of environmental criminal violations, liability (corporate and individual), common defenses, voluntary compliance and sentencing, and sentencing guidelines. The article then proceeds to the nine principal Federal environmental statutes. The Clean Air Act imposes penalties on violators of Federal and State air-pollution control laws and regulations. The Federal Water Pollution Control Act and other water-pollution statutes, namely, the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899 and the Safe Drinking Water Act, are intended to restore and protect the quality of the Nation's surface and ground waters. The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act authorize the cleanup of hazardous substances at contaminated sites and impose criminal penalties on those who violate its provisions. The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act is a set of amendments that reinforce the Federal Solid Waste Disposal Act. The Toxic Substances Control Act governs the manufacture, processing, and distribution or disposal of chemicals that pose a danger to the public or the environment. The Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act regulate the manufacture, registration, transportation, sale, and use of toxic pesticides. The Endangered Species Act regulates crimes against wildlife. 644 notes