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Environmental Crimes

NCJ Number
American Criminal Law Review Volume: 49 Issue: 2 Dated: Spring 2012 Pages: 611-702
Brenner Fissell; Michael Goodwin; Daniel Michelson-Horowitz; Jeff Nye; Kelly Walters
Date Published
92 pages
This article reviews the nine principal statutes (the "statutes") that govern the enforcement of Federal environmental regulations through criminal prosecution.
One section of the article discusses issues common to most of these statutes, including theories of liability, defenses, and sentencing. A second section examines the Clean Air Act (CAA), which penalizes violators of Federal and State air pollution control laws and regulations. Another section reviews the Federal Water Pollution Control Act ("Clean Water Act"). Two other sections address additional water pollution issues. They focus on the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899 (RHA) and the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). Together with the CWA, these statutes restore and protect the quality of the Nation's surface and ground waters. This is followed by a section that addresses the provisions of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), which authorizes the clean-up of hazardous substances at contaminated sites and imposes criminal penalties on those who violate its provisions. A section then addresses the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), which consists of a set of amendments that reinforce the Federal Solid Waste Disposal Act (SWDA). Another section reviews the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), which governs the manufacture, processing, and distribution or disposal of chemicals that pose a danger to the public or the environment. The next section of the article considers the provisions of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), which regulates the manufacture, registration, transportation, sale, and use of toxic pesticides. The concluding section examines the provisions of the Endangered Species Act (ESA), which defines offenses and penalties that threaten wildlife. For each of the statutes, complete and partial legal defenses are outlined. 653 notes