Despite the COVID-19 disruptions, EPA reported an increase in criminal investigations initiated in FY 2020, the last full fiscal year of the Trump administration. During FY 2020, which ran from October 2019 through September 2020, EPA opened more criminal investigations than in any year since 2014. Thus, in the last fiscal year of the Trump administration, EPA initiated more criminal investigations than in the last two years of the Obama administration.
EPA’s FY 2020 Enforcement Report
These and other enforcement statistics are available from EPA’s recently issued report “EPA Enforcement Annual Statistics FY 2020.”
During the first five months of FY 2020, prior to the announcement of the national emergency, “EPA was on track to significantly exceed traditional numeric metrics in many categories with more compliance monitoring activities in the first five months than in any year since 2013, more in assessed penalties the first five months than in seven out of the previous ten years, more injunctive relief in the first five months than in FY 2019, and more concluded cases in the first five months than in either FY 2018 or FY 2019.”
Criminal Investigations Lead to Charges against Individuals
The report also highlighted the potential criminal liability for individuals, not just for companies, due to EPA criminal investigations. “In 89% of the criminal cases charged last year, an individual defendant was prosecuted, and those prosecutions generated a total 94% conviction rate.”