Simon Costanzo ·
23 November 2011

Having worked as an investigator with the former Queensland EPA in Australia, I was gob-smacked by the progressive way that the U.S. EPA deals with environmental crime. EPA Special Agents are sworn federal law enforcement officers with statutory authority to conduct investigations, carry firearms, make arrests for any federal crime and execute and serve any warrant. There is even a remembrance day to remember Agents who gave their lives carrying out their duties to protect the environment.

USEPA Criminal Enforcement Webpage

The EPA host on their website a tool that enables you to locate enforcement cases in your area, view “EPA Fugitives” and even view those they have captured. Some of the crimes committed by those to the right include: illegally discharging a hazardous material into the waters of the United States; selling the ozone depleting substance R-12 Freon; illegal asbestos removal; and illegally importing cars that did not meet the United States emissions standards.

I can confidently say that this was not my experience in Australia and I certainly was not issued with a gun. You better think twice before dumping those old chemicals in the local creek!

About the author

Simon Costanzo

Dr. Simon Costanzo is a Science Integrator at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science in Cambridge MD. Simon’s career in environmental science over the past 20 years has been focused on developing and improving methods for the assessment, monitoring and management of aquatic, marine and terrestrial ecosystems. Simon has extensive experience in scientific data collection, synthesis, interpretation and communication. Simon’s career has provided a unique insight to a wide range of disciplines and stakeholder groups including government, academia and private industry. Dr. Costanzo obtained his academic training from University of Queensland in Australia (PhD).

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