“Under Trump, Criminal Prosecutions for Pollution Dropped Sharply”

“A new report finds an “alarming” drop in prosecutions over violations of the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act, fundamental environmental laws.”

“Prosecutions of environmental crimes have “plummeted” during the Trump administration, according to a new report.

The first two years of the Trump administration had a 70 percent decrease in criminal prosecutions under the Clean Water Act and a decrease of more than 50 percent under the Clean Air Act, the Environmental Crimes Project at the University of Michigan law school found.

The research examined cases brought between 2005 and 2018, and the two-year period starting in 2017 had “the worst pollution prosecution numbers in the 14 years covered by our study,” said David M. Uhlmann the author of the study. He presented the paper at the American Bar Association fall environmental conference; it will be published in the Michigan Journal of Environmental and Administrative law. Mr. Uhlmann, the director of the environmental law and policy program at the University of Michigan law school, worked for 17 years in the Department of Justice, during the presidential administrations of both Bushes and Bill Clinton, and was the top prosecutor of environmental crimes at the Department of Justice from 2000 to 2007.”

John Schwartz reports for the New York Times October 13, 2020.