Environmental crimes related to chemical substances are governed under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). When these violations involve significant harm or culpable conduct they may be remedied through criminal prosecution. While Democratic and Republican presidents have offered historically varied support for criminal enforcement, we know very little about how politics affects TSCA enforcement outcomes or TSCA criminal enforcement generally. To address these issues, we performed a content analysis of 2,728 criminal prosecutions from 1983-2021 that derive from the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) criminal investigations and select all TSCA prosecutions. Results show 75 prosecutions were adjudicated, involving 137 defendants who were assessed 161 years in prison, 277 years of probation and directed to pay over $170 million in monetary penalties. Prosecutions and penalties trend upward for Republican presidents, but the stronger trend is one of structural disinvestment in criminal enforcement over decades spanning both political parties.
Ozymy, Dr. Joshua; Jarrell Ozymy, Dr. Melissa; and McGurrin, Dr. Danielle
"Politics and the Criminal Enforcement of The Toxic Substances Control Act,"
Seattle Journal of Technology, Environmental & Innovation Law: Vol. 13:
1, Article 1.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.law.seattleu.edu/sjteil/vol13/iss1/1