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Facts and Figures 2003


Environmental Crimes

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Hazardous Materials Response Unit

Environmental crimes threaten the public health and natural resources of our nation. As environmental laws become more restrictive, authorized disposal sites close, the costs of legitimate disposal increase, and the financial incentive to illegally dispose of hazardous waste grows. At any given time, the FBI has approximately 450 pending environmental crimes cases-roughly half of which are Clean Water Act cases. Most investigations are conducted jointly with other federal agencies, such as the US Environmental Protection Agency and the US Coast Guard, as well as with state regulatory agencies.

Environmental crimes involve, among other things, air pollution, water pollution, and the illegal transportation, storage, and disposal of hazardous waste. Because of the increasing number of environmental allegations received, the FBI must focus its resources on matters presenting the most serious threat to public health and natural resources. Accordingly, the FBI's environmental crimes priorities include situations involving:
1) handling hazardous waste and pollutants in such a way as to place workers in physical danger;
2) environmental catastrophes that devastate the environment, place entire communities at risk, or cause deaths; 3) violations at federal government facilities; 4) businesses identified by regulatory agencies as having a long-standing history of violations or flagrant disregard for environmental laws; and 5) organized crime activities, generally in the solid waste industry.

 

 

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