This article is over 4 years old

Energy & Environment

Report Says EPA Is Being Less Aggressive In Enforcing Rules

The agency says the report ignores a longer-term decline in environmental enforcement cases

Dave Fehling/Houston Public Media
The Houston skyline is seen on a hazy day.

Critics said the Environmental Protection Agency isn't doing enough to go after polluters.

A new report from the Environmental Integrity Project said the agency is being less aggressive in enforcing pollution rules than it was in previous years. The advocacy group said in the Trump Administration's first year, the EPA dealt with 48 major pollution cases and issued $30 million in fines – a drop in enforcement compared to the first years of the Obama, Bush and Clinton Administrations.

“Less enforcement doesn't mean there aren't a whole lot of violations out there,” said Eric Schaeffer, the environmental group’s executive director.

In response, the EPA said the report ignores the fact that enforcement cases have been steadily dropping for at least the past decade. They were down from almost 4,000 in 2007 to about 2,000 by the time Trump took office.

Still, Schaeffer's group said it worries weaker enforcement will cause polluters to take the rules less seriously.