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U.S. EPA's Enforcement Drops to Unprecedented Low

Polluters are going unpunished.
February 23, 2018, 8am PST | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Keoni Cabral

A new report from the Environmental Integrity Project adds new data to the growing body of evidence of the Trump Administration's destructive effect on the operations and scope of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Umair Irfan and Christina Animashaun share news of the study, which quantifies the amount of "civil penalties for companies that breach limits for hazardous chemicals like sulfur dioxide and hydrochloric acid" since the Trump Administration has taken power. In fact, "the amount of fines collected by Trump’s EPA has plummeted compared to the agency under the past three presidents in their first year in office."

Adjusting the penalties for inflation, the study finds that Trump's EPA collected $30 million through consent decrees during its first year in office. The EPA collected $93 million during President Clinton's first year in office, $70 million during President George W. Bush's first year, and $81 million during President Obama's first year.

"The number of civil cases filed by the EPA to collect these fines in the first place has also declined," according to Irfan and Animashaun. "In President Clinton’s first year, there were 73; under Bush, 112; under Obama, 71. In 2017, there were just 48 cases."

The article concludes with a warning that further reductions in EPA enforcement can be expected if Congress adopts the enforcement budget reductions requested in Trump's proposed budget. 

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Published on Thursday, February 22, 2018 in Vox
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