February 15, 2018
By Valerie Volcovici –
The Environmental Protection Agency levied around half the average number of penalties against polluters in the first year of the Trump administration as in the same period of the past three presidential administrations, according to a report released Thursday.
The decline was due to staff and budget cuts by U.S. President Donald Trump and EPA chief Scott Pruitt to downsize the agency, the report by the Environmental Integrity Project (EIP) said.
An EPA spokeswoman said there had been a decline in polluter penalties since the presidency of George W. Bush and the agency’s enforcement work was reliant on efforts by previous administrations.
The watchdog group found the EPA lodged consent decrees for 48 civil cases against polluters totaling $30 million between Jan. 20, 2017 and Jan. 20, 2018 – 44 percent fewer cases and 49 percent fewer penalties than during the first years of the last three administrations.