Environmental Crime:

Issues Related to Justice's Criminal Prosecution of Environmental Offenses

T-GGD-94-33: Published: Nov 3, 1993. Publicly Released: Nov 3, 1993.

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GAO discussed the Department of Justice's Environmental Crimes Section's (ECS) enforcement of certain environmental laws, focusing on its: (1) enforcement statistics; and (2) criminal environmental investigations and prosecutions. GAO noted that: (1) investigation data do not accurately reflect distinctions between ECS and the U.S. Attorneys Offices' (USAO) investigation responsibilities; (2) Justice has not articulated a clear mission or role for ECS relative to USAO; (3) USAO have handled the majority of criminal environmental investigations and prosecutions; (4) Federal Bureau of Investigation and Environmental Protection Agency investigators have referred more than half of their environmental cases to USAO; (5) USAO have initiated more criminal environmental investigations than ECS; (6) slightly less than half of all completed criminal environmental investigations have yielded formal charges; (7) Justice closed cases against 630 defendants and achieved an overall conviction rate of 91.1 percent between October 1987 and May 1983; and (8) it will be difficult to evaluate ECS workload and accomplishments until ECS performance standards are set.

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