Environmental enforcement declines, redux
by Guest Blogger, 10/1/2004
We've mentioned before in this blog the reports from TRAC that quantify this administration's environmental enforcement record -- uneven and declining. Check out their latest report, which tracks the rates of declining enforcement with the specific environmental statutes that are decreasingly enforced; here's an excerpt: While the government's overall pollution enforcement effort is definitely down, the new data base shows that for last 12 years the government's enforcement trends have somewhat varied, depending on the particular statute under examination.
- In the pollution area, for example, the most frequently cited law for the whole period was 33 USC 1319, a water pollution statute. Focusing only on this law, prosecutors charged 207 defendants during the first four Clinton years and 319 in the second four, a 54% increase. During the Bush years the filings dropped by 28%.
- For the most frequently cited hazardous waste management law, 42 USC 6982, filings increased by 13% from the first to the second Clinton terms but slipped by 39% in the period when Mr. Bush was president.
- The administration-to-administration shifts in filings under the Air Pollution Prevention and Control Act, 42 USC 7413, were even more dramatic, jumping 139% from the first to the second Clinton terms and then dropping 41% under Mr. Bush.
- A few environmental areas showed different trends. Prosecutions under Atomic Energy statutes were down across all three presidential administrations. In contrast, prosecutions for Title 49 offenses on the transport of hazardous wastes rose. Numbers of cases in these categories were, however, modest.