Jerry Anderson of Drake University Law School recently did an interesting post regarding environmental enforcement. I recommend the full post, but I particularly wanted to bring my readers’ attention to a figure Jerry included in the post.
For those who have worked in EPA Region 1, this may not be a total surprise – and yet it’s still shocking. This picture is worth more than a thousand words, and that’s a good thing, because it might well render you speechless. Over a ten year period, penalties imposed in Region 1 were 10 times the national average. They were almost three times the next highest region.
It’s not because there are no other aggressive regions within EPA. Region 1 was roughly five times as high as Region 9 and seven times as high as Region 2.
It’s not because Region 1 is heavily weighted towards large industrial facilities likely to have major violations. We all know that the opposite is the case.
It’s not because there was one huge outlier. This is a ten-year average; it is not one unusual year.
I’d love for one of my many friends at Region 1 to explain this away, but until they do, I’m going to suggest that it just might be at least potentially barely possible that Region 1 enforcement personnel have taken zealous enforcement a little further than even their zealous colleagues in other regions think is fair and reasonable.