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Under Bush, EPA chasing fewer in court

Nation in Brief | WASHINGTON, D.C.

September 30, 2007|From Times Wire Reports

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 refused to settle environmental cases was down nearly 70% between fiscal years 2002 and 2006, compared with a four-year period in the late 1990s, according to the statistics.

The slower pace of enforcement mirrors a decline in resources for pursuing environmental wrongdoing, according to a report in the Washington Post. The EPA employs 172 investigators in its Criminal Investigation Division, below the minimum of 200 agents required by the 1990 Pollution Prosecution Act.

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