EPA Fines Drop by 85 Percent Under Trump

Written by SK Ashby

We previously learned that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) referred the lowest number of cases to the Justice Department for criminal prosecution since the mid-1980s when Ronald Reagan was president, but the agency also issued an extraordinarily low amount of fines in 2018.

Compared to recent history, EPA fines have declined by 85 percent under Trump.

From the Washington Post:

Civil penalties for polluters under the Trump administration plummeted during the past fiscal year to the lowest average level since 1994, according to a new analysis of Environmental Protection Agency data.

In the two decades before President Trump took office, EPA civil fines averaged more than $500 million a year, when adjusted for inflation. Last year’s total was 85 percent below that amount — $72 million, according to the agency’s Enforcement and Compliance History Online database. [...]

The decline in civil penalties could undermine the EPA’s ability to deter wrongdoing, some former agency officials said, because they help ensure it is more expensive to violate the law than to comply with it.

Taken together -- the lack of criminal prosecution and the pitiful amount of fines -- I think it's fair to say the Environmental Protection Agency is more or less idle under Trump.

The next administration will have the power to diligently enforce the law again, but they won't be able to recover the time lost under four years of the Trump regime. That's four years of not fighting pollution and climate change that we'll never get back.

And speaking of which, corporations surveyed by the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) say climate change is going to cost them a lot of money but that won't stop them from making money.

From Bloomberg:

More disasters will make iPhones even more vital to people’s lives, Apple predicted.

“As people begin to experience severe weather events with greater frequency, we expect an increasing need for confidence and preparedness in the arena of personal safety and the well-being of loved ones,’’ the company wrote. Its mobile devices “can serve as a flashlight or a siren; they can provide first aid instructions; they can act as a radio; and they can be charged for many days via car batteries or even hand cranks.’’ [...]

More disasters will mean increased sales for Home Depot, the company wrote. And as temperatures get higher, people are going to need more air conditioners. Home Depot predicted that its ceiling fans and other appliances will see “higher demand should temperatures increase over time.”