EPA Launches Environment Fugitive’s List - EcoCriminals

MSNBC.com has a post on the EPA’s equivalent to the FBI fugitive’s list.

Eco-criminals get their own most-wanted list

EPA profiles 23 fugitives, including suspect in ValuJet blast that killed 110

Image: Mug shots of fugitives


The EPA unveiled its most-wanted list Wednesday with information about 23 fugitives as well as two who have been captured this year.

updated 8:08 a.m. PT, Wed., Dec. 10, 2008

WASHINGTON - The government is starting a different kind of most-wanted list — for environmental fugitives accused of assaulting nature.

These fugitives allegedly smuggled chemicals that eat away the Earth's protective ozone layer, dumped hazardous waste into oceans and rivers and trafficked in polluting cars.

And now the government wants help in tracking them down.

If you want to see the list.

In its own version of the FBI most-wanted list, and the first to focus on environmental crimes, the Environmental Protection Agency on Wednesday unveiled a roster of 23 fugitives, complete with mug shots and descriptions of the charges on its Web site at http://www.epa.gov/fugitives.

And, the article closes with a question.

Will it matter?
The launch of the most-wanted list comes as EPA's criminal enforcement has ebbed. In fiscal 2008, the EPA opened 319 criminal enforcement cases, down from 425 in fiscal 2004. And criminal prosecutors charged only 176 defendants with environmental crimes, the fewest in five years.

EPA officials defend the agency's record, saying the agency has focused on bigger cases with larger environmental benefits.

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But Walter D. James III, an environmental attorney based in Grapevine, Texas, says the EPA is critically understaffed to investigate environmental crimes. While the budget for the division has increased by $11 million since 2000, there are only 135 criminal investigators, far fewer than the 200 Congress authorized in 1990.

James said that while the list could prompt the public to turn people in, he questioned whether it would deter others from committing environmental crimes.

"It's like telling John Gotti he is a bad man," James said. "Is that going to matter to John Gotti?"