A new report has highlighted a major decline in prosecutions for pollution violations in the United States. The data shows that the number of prosecutions began to drop towards the end of the Obama administration, tumbling from 191 defendants during 2011 to 106 in 2014. That decrease is most likely attributable to declining EPA agent resources rather than a loss of support for the environmental crimes program.
The numbers did improve slightly in 2015 and 2016 but they fell sharply when President Trump took office, tumbling to just 90 defendants prosecuted in 2017 and 75 in 2018. The number of Clean Water Act prosecutions was particularly troubling, according to the report, falling by 70 percent under Trump compared to what they had been under Obama.