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   Bush's EPA Is Pursuing Fewer Polluters

NEWS INFORMATION

Parent

Parent

News Date

9/30/2007 11:00 am

Author

Media

Washington Post

Category

News

Database Record

Entered 9/30/2007, Updated 9/30/2007

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Probes and Prosecutions Have Declined Sharply By John Solomon and Juliet Eilperin Washington Post Staff Writers Sunday, September 30, 2007; Page A01 The Environmental Protection Agency's pursuit of criminal cases against polluters has dropped off sharply during the Bush administration, with the number of prosecutions, new investigations and total convictions all down by more than a third, according to Justice Department and EPA data. The number of civil lawsuits filed against defendants who refuse to settle environmental cases was down nearly 70 percent between fiscal years 2002 and 2006, compared with a four-year period in the late 1990s, according to those same statistics. Critics of the agency say its flagging efforts have emboldened polluters to flout U.S. environmental laws, threatening progress in cleaning the air, protecting wildlife, eliminating hazardous materials, and countless other endeavors overseen by the EPA. "You don't get cleanup, and you don't get deterrence," said Eric Schaeffer, who resigned as director of the EPA's Office of Civil Enforcement in 2002 to protest the administration's approach to enforcement and now heads the Environmental Integrity Project, a watchdog group. "I don't think this is a problem with agents in the field. They're capable of doing the work. They lack the political support they used to be able to count on, especially in the White House."


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