The EPA says it’s making environmental criminal enforcement a priority, but the progress on the ground suggests the train is stalled. Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) found that the EPA is short on investigators despite a major jump in funding.

“Biden’s EPA is not going to reinvigorate criminal enforcement, or there’s no sign that they’re moving in that direction,” says Jeff Ruch, director of PEER.

Still Room to Grow

The EPA’s criminal special agent force is at 161, well short of the Obama administration’s high of 175 in 2012, and below the congressionally mandated limit of 200. During the fiscal year 2021, the EPA referred the lowest number of cases to the Department of Justice for criminal enforcement in decades.

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About the Author

Jon Knight

Jon Knight leads the NASP Team’s media creation department. He has been involved with workplace safety training since 2017 with a focus on course creation. He also provides video production and voiceovers for NASP content.
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