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Environmental Crimes

There are nine principal statutes that govern the enforcement of federal environmental regulations, and Congress has increased not only potential prison sentences, but also fines for those convicted.

Many statutes contain civil, criminal, and administrative penalty provisions, and enforcement is carried out by the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Justice.

The basic elements of an environmental criminal violation are an act that substantially violates a statute and  intent to violate the statute.

Common criminal violations include making false statements, failing to file required reports, failing to pay required fees, operating without a permit, and violating the limits or conditions of a permit.

The statutes involved in criminal violations include the Clean Air Act; the Federal Water Pollution Control Act; the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899; the Safe Drinking Water Act; the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act; the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act; the Federal Solid Waste Disposal Act; the Toxic Substances Control Act; the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act; and the Endangered Species Act.