Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Under Trump Administration, Environmental Prosecutions Headed Toward 20-Year Low


Federal prosecutors are on pace to prosecute fewer environmental crimes this year than at any time in the last two decades, an analysis of environmental charges for fiscal year 2017 indicates. If this year's current trends hold, there will be just 304 environmental prosecutions, down from more than 600 in 2012 and more than 900 in 2007. The analysis, released Monday by Syracuse University's Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, found federal environmental prosecutions in the first year of Donald Trump’s presidency are on pace to be lowest since the clearinghouse began monitoring environmental prosecutions in 1997. Environmental prosecutions include pollution, wildlife and animal welfare crimes, among others. This year is part of a slow downward trend, with prosecutions dipping to less than 400 in 2014 for the first time since 1997. The two years with the most prosecutions both occurred during the George W. Bush administration: U.S. attorneys prosecuted more than 900 cases in 2001 and 2007...more 

Interesting that the high was under Bush and the low under Trump, although part of a downward trend.

Also there is this:

Nearly 58 percent of the 152 prosecutions tallied in the first half of 2017 were related to violations of federal wildlife protections, the clearinghouse said. Illegally taken fish and wildlife was the most prosecuted charge, followed by animal fighting charges. Most of the charges filed by U.S. attorneys were against individuals: Only 14 of the 152 prosecutions were against businesses, and those were primarily for water and air pollution violations. Criminal charges against businesses for environmental crimes are exceedingly rare. Less than 0.5 percent of corporate environmental violations result in criminal investigations, a 2014 analysis by the Center On Media, Crime and Justice at John Jay College indicated. For example, the Department of Justice said it has concluded criminal cases against nearly 1,100 individuals, but only 400 corporate defendants from 1998 to 2014.

Could be some legitimate reasons for this, but I'll bet a big part is because corporations have the resources to defend themselves while many individuals don't. The individual is forced to negotiate a plea, thereby keeping the fed's conviction rate high. 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"...a big part is because corporations have the resources to defend themselves while many indiduals don't"

-- So true, then there's the cases where the individuals have no resources that the government can take.

Case in point: 2014 the Boles fire in Weed, Ca, burned over 500 acres and 150 homes - the one fatality was a woman who had a heart attack escaping the fire.

Fire was started by a young man who had prior run ins with the law.

He had been camping out on the edge of town after being evicted by his landlord - which was thought to be the reason behind the fire

The judge only gave him 3 years - was released last summer after only serving 18 months.

This arsonist didn't have two nickles to rub together - let alone any land to take.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch - the ranch that the feds have been trying take from the Hammonds - 139 acres burned with permission- no injuries, deaths, or structures burned.

Two salt-of-the-earth ranchers sit in prison for 5 years on a bogus terrorist conviction.