The onset of the Environmental Age forty-five years ago witnessed a search for remedies to preserve, protect, and restore the nation’s environment. Enforcement of the criminal laws was one of the remedies pursued. The criminal enforcement of environmental law became the norm; such that most environmental violations today will probably constitute a criminal violation at the local, state or federal level. Liability is no longer limited to administrative fines and sanctions, compensatory damages, and even punitive damages in personal injury cases. The trend is for increasing criminal prosecutions on a global level in both civil law and common law jurisdictions. The crimes charged are not limited to traditional “common law” offenses, but include a seemingly infinite number of statutory crimes, often dependent on the creativity and ingenuity of prosecutors.
Denis Binder, CRIMINAL LAW—THE INCREASING APPLICATION OF CRIMINAL LAW IN DISASTERS AND TRAGEDIES: A GLOBAL PHENOMENON, 38 W. New Eng. L. Rev. 313 (2016), http://digitalcommons.law.wne.edu/lawreview/vol38/iss3/2