In all, 387 environmental crime cases were opened last year, with more than 4 million commitments to reduce or treat pollution and almost $2 billion spent by liable parties to clean up hazardous waste spills.
Enforcement action was based on the ability to comply with national laws, such as the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act. This included controlling the emissions of materials such as nitrogen oxides and monitoring the pollutant levels in stormwater runoff.
Some other results from the enforcement action:
– More than 28 million cubic yards of soil and 431 million cubic yards of water is in need of cleaning due to contamination.
– More than 8 million pounds of pesticides were outlawed for sale or use because of mislabeling or improper registration.
– The EPA notified almost 2 million people of drinking water problems in their specific area.
– Two-hundred defendants were charged with environmental violations, resulting in 76 years of incarceration and $96 million in fines.
Surprisingly, not all cases were against commercial organizations. Fifty-one of those accused were federal agencies or their contractors. But it’s not all bad news: In 2008, the number of most polluted areas in the U.S. decreased by 57 from 2007.