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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.

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'Hear Sentencing 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). 

Guide Overview

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About This Research Guide

This guide was originally created for the NewYork State Judicial Institute Conference on The Detection of Environmental Crimes, held Oct. 26-28, 2011, at the New York State Judicial Institute. It was developed by Taryn Rucinski, former Pace Law Library environmental law librarian, and Cynthia Pittson, Head of Reference Services, Pace Law Library.