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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 120564 Find in a Library
Title: Environmental Crimes (From White-Collar Crime: Fifth Survey of Law, P 755-788, 1989, Andrew J. Gildea, ed. -- See NCJ-120557)
Journal: American Criminal Law Review  Volume:26  Issue:3  Dated:(Winter 1989)  Pages:755-788
Author(s): C B Thompson
Date Published: 1989
Page Count: 34
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article discusses the statutes enabling the Federal government to enforce environmental regulations through criminal prosecution and identifies relevant case law.
Abstract: Eight principal statutes are discussed: the Clean Air Act, the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act; the Toxic Substances Control Act; the Safe Drinking Water Act; the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act; the Federal Water Pollution Control Act; the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act; and the Rivers and Harbor Act of 1899. Common legal issues, such as the scope of corporate and individual liability, are discussed, along with constitutional and other defenses challenging the environmental statutes. Relevant case law is analyzed, giving rise to several conclusions. First, even though Congress has authorized extensive criminal sanctions against individuals and corporations that unlawfully discharge hazardous waste into the environment, the Federal courts have not imposed criminal penalties or have imposed ineffective ones. Second, because harsh criminal penalties are rarely imposed, the deterrent effects of the statutes are weakened. Third, Federal agency policy has focused on the criminal prosecution of relatively few serious regulatory violations and has opted for civil penalties in less serious cases. To deter crimes against the environment, Congress should enact legislation providing mandatory criminal sanctions. 312 footnotes.
Main Term(s): Environmental offenses
Index Term(s): Corporate criminal liability; Corporate self-regulation; Environmental laws; White collar crime
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