Partnerships Against Environmental Crime
America today, you can murder land for private
profit. You can leave the corpse for all to see,
and nobody calls the cops."
--American conservationist Paul Brooks, 1971
in the early 1970s, of course no one could call
the cops--or the feds. No laws had been broken...because
no laws had been enacted.
today, as we celebrate the 34th anniversary of the
very first Earth Day, many state and federal laws
protect our natural resources--and the public health.
who is charged with enforcing those laws? Lots
of local, state, and federal law enforcement and
regulatory agencies--including the FBI, the Environmental
Protection Agency (EPA), and the Department of
Justice's Environment and Natural Resources Division--all
because our overriding mission is to prevent acts
of terrorism, we play a supporting but important
role. We work with others on task forces and working
groups in specific locations. And we focus on the
most egregious threats to public health and natural
resources--things like employers who knowingly put
their employees in harm's way, catastrophic acts
of pollution, and organized crime in the solid waste
example: Knoxville--a model of cooperation Areas
in East Tennessee have been plagued by illegal
hazardous waste disposal, so we joined up with
the local offices of the EPA, Internal Revenue
Service, the Department of Energy, and the Tennessee
Valley Authority. Here are just a few results:
hazardous waste disposal has been cited for demanding
that its employees clean out its tanker trucks without
benefit of safety equipment;
chemical company was caught dumping its hazardous
waste into a city's water treatment plant;
recycling company was charged after it was discovered
it had been dumping hazardous waste alongside a desolate
These investigations go to the heart of environmental crime enforcement: working
together to protect people...and to protect the earth for future generations.
Happy Earth Day!