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Environmental Crimes: Overview

This guide is designed to assist judges with deciphering the scientific and technical data involved with most environmental criminal offenses. It will also assist legal practitioners in locating resources related to federal environmental criminal law.

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Guide Overview

Environmental Crime

The term Environmental Crime, a subdivision of white collar crime (sometimes called "green collar crime"[1]) has been used since the 1970s to refer to criminal "statutory offenses involving harm to the environment, such as a violation of the criminal provisions in the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1970, the Federal Pollution Control Act of 1972 . . . or the Endangered Species Act."[2]  This research guide was prepared to complement the New York State Judicial Institute's October 26-28, 2011 Conference for the Detection of Environmental Crimes.[3]  As a result, this guide has been designed specifically to assist judges with deciphering the scientific and technical data involved with most environmental criminal offenses.  However, this guide will also assist both the novice and the experienced legal practitioner in locating resources related to federal environmental criminal law.  For further information about the substantive provisions of the various environmental statutes  consult our research guide on Environmental Legal Research.

[1] Jane F. Barrett, "Green Collar" Criminals: Why Should They Receive Special Treatment?, 8 Md. J. Contemp. Legal issues 107 (1997); Michael M. O'HearSentencing the Green-Collar Offender: Punishment, Culpability, and Environmental Crime, 95 J. Crim. L. & Criminology 133 (2004).  

[2] Black's Law Dictionary 614 (9th ed. 2009).
[3] N.Y. State Judicial Inst. Conference: The Detection of Environmental Crimes (Oct 26-28, 2011). 


Taryn L. Rucinski
Adjunct Professor of Law
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Cynthia Pittson
Head of Reference Services and Adjunct Professor of Law
Pace Law Library
Gerber Glass 201E
White Plains, NY 10603
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Kristin Topp
Research Assistant
Pace Law School
J.D. Candidate 2013

Last updated fall 2012.