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One former EPA law enforcement agent told the AP that the agency was being “gutted.” According to PEER, in April 2018, there were only 140 special agents in EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division, and that number is more than a third less than the number of agents in 2003, and well below the minimum of staff level of 200 agents required by the U.S. Pollution Prosecution Act of 1990.
As we reported earlier this week, the EPA did just settle a large civil enforcement case against Fiat/Chrysler for a $300 million penalty after the company admitted it had rigged its diesel-powered Dodge Ram and Jeep vehicles to cheat on emissions tests resulting in an additional 35,000 tons of pollution. One high profile case does not make up for the hundreds of other cases that are not getting to the Justice Department in the first place.
Why This Matters: I (Monica) used to work at the DOJ Environment Division, and I can say from experience that we did not bring criminal cases lightly. In criminal cases, which are already at a very high standard in terms of the severity of the action by the polluter, there is generally serious public harm and a premeditated action or extreme recklessness by the defendant involved. The plummeting of environmental criminal enforcement is a result of the President’s bias in favor of large special interests and industrial polluters. Corporate polluters know this — thus, they have very little incentive to cut back on their law-breaking since they do not need to fear prosecution. PEER has found a similar drop off in civil environmental enforcement as well. That is terrible news for the clean air and water the President claims he supports. And the worst cases are probably in poor and minority areas, making this a huge environmental justice issue. Perhaps the House Dems will investigate — they should.
Stand up, fight back. Climate activists across 70 countries took to their respective streets on Friday, inspired by Swedish Youth Activist Greta Thunberg. After a summer of devastating climate disasters across the globe, young people are more anxious than ever about climate change. “There are natural disasters all over the world,” said protester Quang Paasch, […]
Commercial aviation accounts for 11% of US transportation CO2 emissions and 2.4% of global emissions, and the US is the largest aviation emitter in the world. On Wednesday, 100 environmental organizations urged President Biden to cut airplane pollution. Cutting carbon emissions in the sector is crucial to fighting climate change, but decarbonizing an industry that […]
By Amy Lupica, ODP Daily Editor One year after founding the $10 billion Bezos Earth Fund, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has earmarked $1 billion for conservation efforts aimed at protecting 30% of all lands and waters by 2030. The organization stated in a press release that it would prioritize “areas that are important for biodiversity […]
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