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Criminology Environmental Crime and Justice
by
Michael J. Lynch, Paul B. Stretesky

Introduction

Traditionally, environmental crime and justice were viewed as issues for researchers working in disciplines such as public health, epidemiology, forensic science, geography, public policy, ecology, sociology, business management, and political science. More recently, the importance placed on the social consequences of climate change, as well as what to do about this problem, has caused fields such as atmospheric and climate science to address concerns about environmental crime, regulation, and justice. Since the late 1990s, however, criminologists have started to make a meaningful contribution to the environmental crime and justice literature. This entry is not comprised entirely of criminological research, since significant contributions to the study of environmental crime and justice are made by researchers in various disciplines. The entry features issues of criminological relevance and excludes broad coverage of background issues in science that may help to establish a better understanding of environmental issues. Also excluded is a section on climate change, since criminologists, with few exceptions, have yet to explore the relevance of this issue. There is a section on empirical and case studies useful to those interested in specific areas of concern to criminologists.

Introductory Works

The works in this section provide overviews and introductions to environmental crime and justice issues. On the definition of environmental crime, see Shover and Routhe 2005. For more in-depth discussions see White 2008; Burns, et al. 2008; and Edwards, et al. 1996. On environmental policy see Low and Gleeson 1998. For an analysis linked to criminal justice system responsibilities see Situ and Emmons 2000. For a case study approach see Simon 2000.

  • Burns, Ronald G., Michael J. Lynch, and Paul B. Stretesky. 2008. Environmental law, crime, and justice. New York: LFB Scholarly Publishing.

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    Provides a thorough introduction to issues in environmental law, an overview of federal environmental law, and the extant literature on environmental justice. Also includes examples of how to use federal environmental crime databases to conduct criminologically grounded environmental research.

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  • Clifford, Mary, ed. 1998. Environmental crime: Enforcement, policy, and social responsibility. MD: Aspen.

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    The first reader on environmental crime specifically designed for criminologists. Addresses a number of important issues and explores how they can be included within criminology.

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  • Edwards, Sally M., Terry D. Edwards, and Charles B. Fields, eds. 1996. Environmental crime and criminality: Theoretical and practical issues. New York: Garland.

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    The eleven chapters in this collection examine federal and state environmental regulations related to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) criminal, civil, and administrative enforcement, prosecutorial challenges and public protection, and toxic waste and toxic dumping. Includes theoretical, philosophical, and empirical studies.

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  • Low, Nicholas, and Brenda Gleeson. 1998. Justice, society and nature: An exploration of political ecology. London: Routledge.

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    Explores issues related to the connection between environmental harm and economic development, and employs national and international illustrations to examine the scope of environmental law and policy issues.

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  • Shover, Neal, and Aaron S. Routhe. 2005. Environmental crime. Crime and Justice: A Review of Research. Vol. 32. Edited by Michael Tonry, 321–371. Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press.

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    Excellent overview and introduction to the variety of issues involved in the study of environmental crime. Provides a good starting point for those interested in becoming more familiar with environmental crime.

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  • Simon, David R. 2000. Corporate environmental crimes and social inequality: New directions for environmental justice research. American Behavioral Scientist 43.4: 633–645.

    DOI: 10.1177/00027640021955469Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Provides a good introduction to the examination of patterns of social inequality within the study of environmental crime. Specifically addresses patterns of environmental crime among the world’s largest multinational corporations and environmental crimes committed by the federal government.

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  • Situ, Yingyi, and David Emmons. 2000. Environmental crime: The criminal justice system’s role in protecting the environment. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

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    A good, general introduction to environmental crime issues and the role criminal justice can and does play in enforcing environmental regulations. The latter issue is not widely addressed by most discussions of environmental crime.

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  • White, Rob. 2008. Crimes against nature: Environmental criminology and ecological justice. Cullompton, UK: Willan.

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    An in-depth analysis of environmental crime that integrates ecology, environmental studies, and environmental sociological perspectives into criminological examinations of environmental crime. Includes a variety of cases studies to illustrate these connections.

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Data Sources

A wide variety of data sources on environmental crime and justice are available through the Internet, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the International Network for Environmental Compliance and Enforcement, the Trade and Environment Database, and TRAFFIC, the wildlife trade monitoring network. Many countries have environmental enforcement agencies, and some nations have regional or state level agencies that also maintain environmental data (each state in the United States has a department of environmental protection). These are discussed by Burns and Lynch 2004 and may be accessed directly through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. In addition, there are websites that provide information on the chemical toxicity and health effects of environmental pollution (e.g., levels at which a chemical is known or suspected to cause cancer or other negative health outcomes). For a discussion of the difficulties encountered in environmental research see Gibbs and Simpson 2008.

Chemical and Toxicity Data

As criminologists address environmental harm more broadly, they will need access to data on chemical toxicity and the health impacts of toxic exposure. A number of sources examining these issues exist online. such as Environmental Health and Toxicology. General information on chemicals can be accessed through ChemBioFinder. More specific toxicological data may be found in EXTOXNET. and TOXNET. Information on carcinogens can be directly accessed through the Carcinogenic Potency Database.

Global Warming Data

As criminologists expand their examinations of environmental hazards and problems, they will increasingly discover a need to address the intersection between criminology and global warming. Governments now provide access to a wide range of global warming data that can serve as background information or for research purposes. These datasets are widely available on the Internet. U.S.-specific data is available on many of these databases. A good place to start is the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Greenhouse Gas Inventory. A selection of cross-national, long-term data on carbon dioxide outputs (and equivalents) is available from the Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center (CDIAC). Longer-term general paleoclimate global warming data is available from the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Climatic Data Center. Climate change emission data for a more limited set of nations is also available from the United Nations Environment Programme.

Defining Environmental Crime

There is no single definition of the term environmental crime, and its use varies depending on a researcher’s theoretical orientation. As in other criminological research, some researchers employ a criminal law definition. However, many environmental crimes are defined by noncriminal statutes, so it is necessary to take other forms of law and means for defining crime into account. Indeed, environmental crimes are often defined noncriminally and with reference to philosophical positions such as those based in the land ethic (see Barnett 1999 in Environmental Philosophies) or a nonspeciesist perspective (see Beirne 1999 in Environmental Philosophies). These different orientations are illustrated in the subsections herein.

Environmental Philosophies

Numerous philosophical orientations have been employed to examine environmental crime and harm. These approaches are adopted from areas outside of criminology. For an examination of nonspeciesist criminology and definitions of environmental harm see Beirne 1999. Barnett 1999 covers a land ethic. For a general philosophical orientation to environmental issues, read Benton 1998; for an application of masculinities theory, see Groombride 1998; and for a contrasting perspective based in feminist theory, see Lane 1998. Halsey 1997 presents an eco-human rights approach, while Halsey and White 1998 explore eco-philosophies more generally (see also listings under Green Criminology).

Green Criminology

Green criminology emerged in 1990 as an alternative means for examining environmental crime and justice. In the past, when criminologists discussed environmental crime, they did so within the context of corporate crime theory and literature. While many corporate crimes are environmental crimes, environmental crimes are unique because they require damaging the environment, in direct or indirect ways, and demonstrating indifference, at best, toward the environment. On the origins of green criminology, see Lynch 1990. For a general overview, see the various chapters in Beirne and South 2007, South and Beirne 2006, and White and Tomkins 2004. For a critique of green criminology, see Halsey 2004. For an analysis of competing green perspectives and contradictions, see Lynch and Stretesky 2003. For an outline of direction in green research, see South 1998.

  • Beirne, Piers, and Nigel South, eds. 2007. Issues in green criminology: Confronting harms against environments, humanity and other animals. Cullompton, UK: Willan.

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    Includes a series of original essays examining various aspects of green criminology. Topics include green criminology and social justice, animal rights and abuse, climate change, radioactive waste, food crimes, biopiracy, green criminology in the United States, and fisheries.

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  • Halsey, Mark. 2004. Against “green” criminology. British Journal of Criminology 446: 833–853.

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    A critique of green criminology, arguing that this approach suffers from limitations associated with its grounding in one (or more) of five competing environmental perspectives that foster “modernist” explanations. These perspectives include: (1) liberal ecology, (2) ecomarxism, (3) ecofeminism, (4) deep ecology, and (5) social ecology.

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  • Lynch, Michael J. 1990. The greening of criminology: A perspective for the 1990s. The Critical Criminologist 2.4–6: 11–12.

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    The first criminological analysis to propose the development of a green criminology. Here, Lynch argues for a green criminology tied to political economic theory, green activism, and green politics.

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  • Lynch, Michael J., and Paul B. Stretesky. 2003. The meaning of green: Contrasting criminological perspectives. Theoretical Criminology 7.2: 217–238.

    DOI: 10.1177/1362480603007002414Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Building on Lynch1990, addresses the contradictions in green terminology exposed by comparing green corporatism and green environmentalism. Argues for a green criminology based in a political-economic approach tied to environmental justice theory that emphasizes race-, class-, and gender-linked theories and activist-oriented solutions.

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  • South, Nigel. 1998. A green field for criminology: A proposal for a perspective. Theoretical Criminology 2.2: 211–233.

    DOI: 10.1177/1362480698002002004Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Discusses the need for a green criminology and outlines ten areas of research that green criminology should address. In addition, examines four questions: (1) Why develop a green criminology? (2) What existing work does green criminology build on? (3) What new and emerging theoretical issues does green criminology address? (4) What direction might green criminology pursue?

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  • South, Nigel, and Piers Beirne, eds. 2006. Green criminology. Aldershot, UK: Ashgate.

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    This collection of twenty-eight previously published articles provides a strong overview and introduction to green criminology, including its definition and subject matter.

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  • White, Rob, and Kevin Tomkins, eds. 2004. Green/environmental criminology. Special issue, Current Issues in Criminal Justice 163.

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    This special issue on green criminology includes articles on environmental crime in a global context, water policy, policing environmental crimes, fish piracy, satellite surveillance of land, and old growth forests.

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Issues in Environmental Law and Crime

In part, environmental crimes are defined by the forms of research criminologists have undertaken or the specific issues they have examined. The studies in this section illustrate different ways in which environmental crime has been defined in the practice of research. Brickley 1996 discusses the intersection of environmental and legal theory, while Hoffman 2000 discusses sustainable development. To access several different views in one collection, see Shank 2002.

  • Brickley, Kathleen F. 1996. Environmental crime at the crossroads: The intersection of environmental and criminal law theory. Tulane Law Review 71.2: 487–528.

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    Environmental regulation and criminal law are often viewed as being at odds with one another. Brickley examines the overlap between environmental and criminal law that supports criminal prosecution of environmental offenders.

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  • Hoffman, Joan. 2000. Sustainable economic development: A criminal justice challenge for the 21st century. Crime, Law and Social Change 34.3: 275–299.

    DOI: 10.1023/A:1008360426802Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Examines the need for criminal justice policymakers to work with economists in exploring issues of sustainable development and the relationship between sustainable development and criminal justice policies aimed at protecting the environment.

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  • Shank, Gregory, ed. 2002. Globalization and environmental harm. Special issue, Social Justice 29.1–2

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    This special issue includes several articles on globalization and environmental harm. Topics include globalization and environmental crime, toxic militarism, the link between organized and environmental crime, economic sustainability and environmentalism, and the political economy of environmental crime.

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Empirical and Case Studies

Empirical case studies focus on one specific type of environmental crime and bring data to bear on the analysis of that crime. These studies also illustrate the various ways in which environmental crimes can be defined. For a specific example discussing the definition of environmental crime, see Marald 2001. On using the media to study environmental crime, see Jarrell 2007. On farm pollution, see Lowe, et al. 1996. On environmental violence and racism, see Stretesky and Lynch 1999. On environmental crimes related to the war on drugs, see Del Olmo 1998.

  • Del Olmo, Rosa. 1998. The ecological impact of illicit drug cultivation and crop eradication programs in Latin America. Theoretical Criminology 2.2: 269–278.

    DOI: 10.1177/1362480698002002007Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Examines how the war on drugs has historically perpetuated the use of harmful and illegal pesticides in Latin America in order to reduce the supply of illegal drugs. The health risks and environmental costs of the U.S. eradication programs are discussed in light of the definition of state crime.

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  • Jarrell, Melissa. 2007. Environmental crime and the media: News coverage of petroleum refining industry violations. New York: LFB Scholarly Publishing.

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    An in-depth study of environmental crime in the petroleum industry as presented in the media. Using data on both petroleum refinery violations and media coverage, this study indicates that violates are far more widespread than news coverage of these events would suggest. News coverage is impacted by the size of the penalty a petroleum refinery violation yields, with larger fines generating more news coverage.

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  • Lowe, Phillip, Neil Ward, Susanne Seymour, and Judy Clark. 1996. Farm pollution as environmental crime. Science as Culture 5.4: 588–612.

    DOI: 10.1080/09505439609526448Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Often overlooked, farm pollution poses a serious environmental risk. Social changes have increased public awareness of farm pollution. This article presents a case study of a community in Great Britain that employed environmental activism to pursue and create new farm pollution regulations.

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  • Marald, Erland. 2001. The BT Kemi scandal and the establishment of the environmental crime concept. Journal of Scandinavian Studies in Criminology and Crime Prevention 2.2: 149–170.

    DOI: 10.1080/140438501753737624Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Uses the BT Kemi scandal to examine the development of the concept of environmental crime in Sweden. Widespread publicity of BT Kemi’s illegal activities forced changes in Swedish environmental and criminal laws. These changes did not, however, appear to have any major policy impacts on the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency.

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  • Stretesky, Paul, and Michael J. Lynch. 1999. Corporate environmental violence and racism. Crime, Law and Social Change 30.2: 163–184.

    DOI: 10.1023/A:1008393401769Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Uses an environmental justice approach to discuss corporate violence, and includes an empirical analysis of the distribution of chemical accidents. The analysis demonstrates that chemical accidents have a pattern, and that the pattern is predicted, in part, by neighborhood racial composition.

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Alternative Environmental Frames of Reference

In their studies of environmental crime, criminologists have tended to draw on research from other fields. Some approaches are more widely used or recognized. This section includes studies that build on approaches that have not been widely employed within criminology. For example, see Williams 1996 for an examination of environmental victimology; Seis 1999 for a community-based approach; White 2002 on the political economy of consumption and its relationship to environmental crime; and Wilson 1999 on eco-critical criminology.

  • Seis, Mark. 1999. A community-based criminology of the environment. Criminal Justice Policy Review 10.2: 291–317.

    DOI: 10.1177/088740349901000207Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Explores community-based approached to environmental harm in connection with the development of a criminology of the environment. In addition, this article acknowledges thatmultinational corporations are increasingly attacking federal, state, and local environmental regulations. One way to address this problem is to strengthen local environmental activism and local environmental laws.

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  • White, Rob. 2002. Environmental harm and the political economy of consumption. Social Justice 29.1–2: 82–102.

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    Argues that there is a need to examine environmental harms in relationship to patterns of human “subsistence” promoted under different economic forms. From a political-economic perspective, capitalism promotes continually expanding consumption, which can lead to extensive environmental damage.

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  • Williams, Christopher. 1996. An environmental victimology. Social Justice 23.4: 16–40.

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    One of the core areas of study within criminology is victimology. Within criminology, however, victimology excludes the study of those harmed by environmental crimes. This article argues for their inclusion as crime victims.

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  • Wilson, Nanci Koser. 1999. Eco-Critical Criminology—An Introduction. Criminal Justice Policy Review 10.2: 155–160.

    DOI: 10.1177/088740349901000202Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    In this interesting introduction to a special issue of CJPR, Wilson argues for an eco-critical criminology, which she sees as distinct from other forms of criminology that address environmental issues. For Wilson, a chief concern of eco-critical criminology is its focus on environmental policy and its use of broad, non–human-centered philosophical perspectives that promote the examination of environmental crimes in a unique way.

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Food Crimes

Criminologists have generally addressed food crimes with respect to the development and enforcement of pure food and drug legislation. In recent years, a new focus on genetically modified (GM) foods has emerged, as illustrated in the few examples that follow. Much of this research has been produced by Reece Walters, who has studies genetically modified food issues to explore political-economic explanations (Walters 2006), the social, political and economic harms produced by genetically modified foods (Walters 2004), and the role of the state in promoting genetically modified food harms (Walters 2007). Moral-philosophical-scientific value conflicts related to defining genetically modified food harms are discussed in Levidow and Carr 2007.

  • Levidow, Les, and Susan Carr. 2007 GM crops on trial: Technological development as a real-world experiment. Futures 39.4: 408–431.

    DOI: 10.1016/j.futures.2006.08.002Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Examines the conflicts involved in the regulatory process surrounding genetically modified (GM) crops including the scientific versus moral issues.

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  • Walters, Reece. 2004. Criminology and genetically modified food. British Journal of Criminology 44.2: 151–167.

    DOI: 10.1093/bjc/44.2.151Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Examines the research from the Royal Commission on Genetic Modification conducted in New Zealand to discuss the social, ecological, and economic risks created by genetically modified foods, as well as the need to include this type of analysis within criminological discourse.

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  • Walters, Reece. 2006. Crime, Bio-agriculture and the exploitation of hunger. British Journal of Criminology 46.1: 26–45.

    DOI: 10.1093/bjc/azi049Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Discusses the political economy of genetically modified foods, using a case study of Zambia to illustrate the author’s contentions. Also discusses further development of research on eco-crime and green criminology.

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  • Walters, Reece. 2007. Food crime, regulation and the biotech harvest. European Journal of Criminology 4.2: 217–235.

    DOI: 10.1177/1477370807074856Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Examines trade and regulatory practices effecting transgenic or genetically modified (GM) food, and discusses the issues that emerge when corporations and government are complicit in acts of economic exploitation and illegality that relate to GM foods and the environmental harm they produce.

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Logging, Forest, and Timber Crimes

Logging, forest, and timber crimes are not only environmental crimes in themselves, they have other environmental impacts on wildlife, climate change, and erosion, as well as social impacts for those communities who rely on the forests for their livelihoods (Dudley, et al. 1995; Glastra 1999). Illegal logging as been examined as a state crime (Smith, et al. 2003; Green, et al. 2007), but it still tends to be examined primarily as an illegal act in itself (Schloenhardt 2008, Glastra 1999) or with respect to legal controls (Brack, et al. 2002; Dudley, et al. 1995; Ottisch, et al. 2005).

  • Brack, Duncan, Chantal Maijnissen, and Saskia Ozinga. 2002. Controlling imports of illegal timber: Options for Europe. London: Royal Institute of International Affairs/ Forests and the European Union Resource Network (FERN).

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    An examination of the illegal timber market in Europe. Explores the illegal timber market in European Union nations, including methods for controlling this problem, such as new legislation and licensing programs. Available online.

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  • Dudley, Nigel, Jean-Paul Jeanrenaud, and Francis Sullivan. 1995. Bad harvest? The timber trade and the degradation of the world’s forests. London: Earthscan.

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    Discusses the impact of timber trade regulations on worldwide deforestation trends in boreal, temporal, and tropical regions. In addition to examining the effects of illegal logging on the natural world, the authors explore its impacts on local people who live and work in these regions.

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  • Glastra, Rob. 1999. Cut and run: Illegal logging and timber trade in the tropics. Ottawa, ON: International Development Research Centre.

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    Illegal foresting is a significant source of deforestation. Deforestation not only threatens forest and local wildlife, but also the human communities that have developed symbiotic relationships with these forests. Glastra examines these problems in several different nations.

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  • Green, Penny, Tony Ward, and Kirsten McConnachie. 2007. Logging and legality: Environmental crime, civil society, and the state. Social Justice 34.2: 94–110.

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    Summarizes the extent of illegal logging in major offending nations, explores the difference between illegal logging and unsustainable legal logging, and describes the benefits of examining logging crimes from the perspective of state-corporate crime.

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  • Ottisch, Andreas, Alexander Moiseyev, Nikolai Burdin, and Lauma Kazusa. 2005. Impacts of reduction of illegal logging in European Russia on the E.U. and European Russia forest sector and trade. EFI Technical Report 19. Joensuu, Finland: European Forest Institute.

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    A study of the effort to control illegal logging in Western Russia and the exportation of illegally logged wood to European Union states. The report specifically examines estimates of the extent of this problem, the effectiveness of current controls, and potential new control programs. Available online EFI.

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  • Schloenhardt, Andreas. 2008. The illegal trade in timber and timber products in the Asia-Pacific region. Canberra: Australian Institute of Criminology.

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    Examines the scope of the illegal timber trade in the Asian-Pacific region and its impact on timber markets. Current and potential control policies are also explored.

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  • Smith, J., K. Obidzinski, A. Subarudi, and I. Suramenggala. 2003. Illegal logging, collusive corruption and fragmented governments in Kalimantan, Indonesia. International Forestry Review 5.3: 293–302.

    DOI: 10.1505/IFOR.5.3.293.19138Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The social control of logging is impacted by government organization, as illustrated in this study of governmental disorganization and illegal logging in Indonesia. Available online.

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Wildlife Crimes, Illicit Species Trade, and Poaching

Of the various types of environmental crimes that criminologists have examined, wildlife crimes have long received attention. These crimes are also those most likely to receive state attention. Recent research has focused on illegal trade markets (Warchol, et al. 2003; Cohen 1997), organized crime infiltration of the illegal wildlife trade (Zimmerman 2003), and controlling illegal trade markets (Schneider 2008, Swanepoel 1998). Research has also examined offender motivations and rationalizations (Eliason 2004).

  • Cohen, Andrew. 1997. Sturgeon poaching and black market caviar: A case study. Environmental Biology of Fishes 48:423–426.

    DOI: 10.1023/A:1007388803332Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Examines the prosecution of a caviar-poaching ring. Such case studies are rare and lend insight into this kind of illegal activity. Also explores the policies that might be useful in controlling this type of environmental offense.

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  • Eliason, Stephen, L. 2004. Accounts of wildlife law violators: Motivations and rationalizations. Human Dimensions of Wildlife 9.2: 119–131.

    DOI: 10.1080/10871200490441775Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Research conducted with wildlife violators attempts to assess their motivations and the means by which they rationalize their behavior. Data were provided by in-depth interviews with twenty-four wildlife conservation officers and thirty-three wildlife law violators. Respondents revealed the following primary motivations and rationalizations: ignorance, forgetfulness, and carelessness with respect to the law; recreational satisfactions; trophy poaching; money and profit; and poaching as a traditional right.

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  • Schneider, Jacqueline L. 2008. Reducing the illicit trade in endangered wildlife: The market reduction approach. Journal Of Contemporary Criminal Justice 24.3: 274–295.

    DOI: 10.1177/1043986208318226Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Explores how a market reduction approach (MRA) aimed at reducing demand for illegal wildlife products can protect endangered species. An MRA targets specific markets and attempts to disrupt them in order to reduce the incentive to engage in illegal activities. Schneider explores how traditional MRA approaches can be expanded to illegal trade in wildlife and plants.

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  • Swanepoel, Gerhard. 1998. The illegal trade in rhino horn: An example of an endangered species. International Journal of Risk, Security, and Crime Prevention 3.3: 207–220.

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    A case study of illegal wildlife trade focused on illegal rhino horn markets in South Africa. Data were derived from forty-five cases under the auspices of the South African Police Endangered Species Protection Unit from 1992 to 1995. Much of this market operates in areas with established crime syndicates.

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  • Warchol, Greg L., Linda L. Zupan, and Willie Clack. 2003. Transnational criminality: An analysis of the illegal wildlife market in Southern Africa. International Criminal Justice Review 13.1: 1–27.

    DOI: 10.1177/105756770301300101Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Makes an argument concerning why criminologists ought to study transnational crimes related to wildlife markets. Also provides a description of the organization and operation of illicit wildlife markets and examines the motives, methods, and profiles of participants.

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  • Zimmerman, M. E. 2003. The black market for wildlife: Combating transnational organized crime in the illegal wildlife trade. Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law 36.5: 1657–1689.

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    A policy paper focused on controlling transnational organized crime related to illegal wildlife trade. The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), regulates international trade in certain wildlife species, but it has been undermined by illegal trading. This article describes CITIES and its enforcement options. Text available online.

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Ecotage and Ecoterrorism

Contemporary concerns about terrorism have influenced academic discussions of the relationship between environmental protests and terrorism, and numerous studies of environmental protestors as terrorists have emerged. These studies can be divided into those that explore the definition of ecoterrorism, examples and case studies of ecoterrorism, and theories of ecoterrorism, each of which are reviewed in this section.

Defining Ecoterrorism

Significant interest in ecoterrorism has emerged in recent years, particular in response to the growing perception of the threat posed by terrorists and the assumption that terrorism might employ environmental or ecological tools of terror (see Wagner 2008). Unfortunately, the use of the term ecoterrorism overstates the threat from environmental protestors and disregards their intentions. Amster 2006, Vanderheiden 2005, and Vanderheiden 2008 analyze this definitional dilemma (see also Schwartz 1998). Indeed, many environmental protests are now treated as terrorism because of the more general concern with terrorist behavior (see Miller, et al. 2008).

  • Amster, Randall. 2006. Perspectives on ecoterrorism: Catalysts, conflations, and casualties. Contemporary Justice Review 9.3: 287–301.

    DOI: 10.1080/10282580600827991Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Examines the term terrorism as it relates to environmental protests and protesters. Amster finds that applying the label of terrorism to environmental protests encourages the government to respond more forcefully to these protests.

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  • Miller, DeMond Shondell, Jason David Rivera, and Joel C. Yelin. 2008. Civil liberties: The line dividing environmental protest and ecoterrorists. Journal for the Study of Radicalism 2.1: 109–123.

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    Discusses the distinction between environmental protest as an expression of civil liberty and the behavior of ecoterrorist. Also distinguishes between ecoterrorism and environmental terrorism and argues that environmental protestors are often inappropriately labeled as terrorists.

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  • Schwartz, Daniel M. 1998. Environmental terrorism: Analyzing the concept. Journal of Peace Research 35.4: 483–496.

    DOI: 10.1177/0022343398035004005Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Examines the ambiguous use of the terms environmental terrorism and ecological terrorism. Argues that there are two key ingredients in acts of environmental terrorism: (1) acts that threaten governments and international governing bodies by violating “ordinary” forms of law, and (2) acts that resemble terrorism through the use of symbolic terror and violence.

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  • Vanderheiden, Steve. 2005. Eco-terrorism or justified resistance? Radical environmentalism and the “war on terror.” Politics & Society 33.3: 425–447.

    DOI: 10.1177/0032329205278462Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Radical environmentalists have changed their tactics. This article addresses question such as: Are these tactics justified resistance, or should they be labeled as acts of ecoterrorism?

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  • Vanderheiden, Steve. 2008. Radical environmentalism in an age of antiterrorism. Environmental Politics 17.2: 299–318.

    DOI: 10.1080/09644010801936248Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Examines issues related to radical environmentalists use of ecotage (eco-sabatoge), and addresses the differences between ecoterrorism and true acts of terrorism.

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  • Wagner, Travis. 2008. Reframing ecotage as ecoterrorism: News and the discourse of fear. Environmental Communication 2.1: 25–39.

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    One of the goals of terrorism is the generation of fear. When ecoterrorists generate fear, should they be treated as ecoterrorists, or are ecotage and terrorism distinct acts?

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Examples of Ecoterrorism

Case studies provide important information about ecoterrorist and ecoterroism, and they can be used to help distinguish ecoterrorism from social movements and protests aimed at protecting the environment. Compared to American scholars such as Beck 2007, European scholars are more likely to discuss environmental protests with respect to direct action and social movement theory (see Doherty, et al. 2007; Plows, et al. 2004; Hayes 2006). For an example related to animal liberation, see Liddick 2006.

  • Beck, Colin J. 2007. On the radical cusp: Ecoterrorism in the United States, 1998–2005. Mobilization: An International Journal 12.2: 161–176.

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    Data on eighty-four ecoterrorist events in the United States that occurred between 1998 and 2005 was used to test theories of political violence, social movement organization and the formation of militancy. Some support was found for the continued radicalization of militant groups.

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  • Doherty, Brian. 1999. Paving the way: The rise of direct action against road-building and the changing character of British environmentalism. Political Studies 47.2: 275–291.

    DOI: 10.1111/1467-9248.00200Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Explores how the changing nature of environmentalism in Britain gave rise to direct-action protests of environmental harms. Anti-highway construction protest data provides evidence of the development of more radically oriented environmental movements.

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  • Doherty, Brian, Alexandra Plows, and Derek Wall. 2007. Environmental direct action in Manchester, Oxford, and North Wales: A Protest Event Analysis. Environmental Politics 16.5: 805–825.

    DOI: 10.1080/09644010701634182Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Addresses the development of local environmental protest in Britain. Interestingly, while similar protests in the United States are increasingly labeled as ecoterrorism, similar responses in Britain are seen as direct-action protests.

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  • Eagan, Sean P. 1996. From spikes to bombs: The rise of eco-terrorism. Studies in Conflict and Terrorism 19.1: 1–18.

    DOI: 10.1080/10576109608435993Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Argues that domestic terrorism was neglected until the Oklahoma City bombing, and that among terrorist types, the most neglected form was ecoterrorism. Eagan examines the changing tactics employed in the environmental movement, and how these tactics might be forms of terrorism.

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  • Hayes, Graeme. 2006. Vulnerability and disobedience: New repertoires in French environmental protests. Environmental Politics 15.5: 821–838.

    DOI: 10.1080/09644010600937264Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Examines the development of broad-based social movements directed at a diverse array of environmental harms in France. Finds that disobedience campaigns are important and visible aspects of environmental and civil rights protests.

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  • Liddick, D. R. 2006. Eco-terrorism: Radical environmentalism and animal liberation movements. Westport, CT: Praeger.

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    When does the behavior of a radical environmental group become ecoterrorism? This study explores this question in relationship to the animal liberation movement. Liddick argues that alienated environmentalists who once relied on political lobbying and activism sometimes turn to direct-action responses that include property crime that become defined as ecoterrorism.

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  • Plows, Alexandra, Derek Wall, and Brian Doherty. 2004. Covert repertoires: Ecotage in the UK. Social Movement Studies 3.2: 199–219.

    DOI: 10.1080/1474283042000266128Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Examines the use of ecotage and the development of environmental movements in the United Kingdom. Suggests that ecotage (eco-sabotage) is a characteristic of more radical environmental movements. Smaller environmental groups, however, also use similar tactics, but they express values that limit their development into ecotage organizations.

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Theories of Ecoterrorism

Just as criminologists have proposed theories to explain criminal behavior, so too have they offered theories to explain ecoterrorism. These theories often draw on the broader criminological literature or on theories of terrorism developed in other disciplines. Rarely do they address the unique nature of ecoterrorism or differentiate between ecoterrorism and environmental activism. Some researchers, as variously noted elsewhere in this section, argue that ecoterrorism and environmental protests are unique behaviors and require specialized interpretations. While few such interpretations exist, the examples in this subsection illustrate such an approach. Environmental protestors employ a variety of responses to draw attention to environmental harm, such as “monkey-wrenching”, a technique that disrupts the ability of those who damage the environment to continue their actions (Bondaroff 2008, Gottschalk 1999).

  • Bondaroff, Teale Phelps. 2008. Throwing a wrench into things: The strategy of radical environmentalism. Journal of Military and Strategic Studies 10.4.

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    A reasoned argument on ecotage, suggesting that it has three objectives: (1) to produce powerful images that generate media attention, (2) to cause enough damage to drive up the costs of doing business and make companies question the environmental degradation they cause, and (3) to expand the scope of environmental protest and make less radical organizations appear moderate.

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  • Gottschalk, Martin. 1999. Monkeywrenching as punishment? Criminal Justice Policy Review 10.2: 193–211.

    DOI: 10.1177/088740349901000204Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    In contrast to the majority of studies of environmental protest, which attempt to redefine these protest as acts of terrorism, this article proposes that monkey-wrenching—destructive acts designed to forestall and protest an environmentally destructive outcome—are really acts of punishment.

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Hazardous, Toxic, and Chemical Waste

Scientific studies indicate that there is no area on the face of the earth that is free from toxic waste or industrial pollutants. For example, pollutants have been found in both the North Pole and the South Pole, in Siberia, and in all tested wildlife. Despite the seriousness of this problem, criminologists have directed little attention to the study of toxic waste. The best analyses and overviews are presented in Pearce and Tombs 1998 and Rebovich 1992. Lynch and Stretesky 2001 examines ways to measure victimization using epidemiological research. Much criminological research, however, remains wedded to traditional approaches to crime, exploring issues such as criminal cartels in the toxic waste industry (Block 2002).

  • Block, Alan. 2002. Environmental crime and pollution: Wasteful reflections. Social Justice 29.1–2: 61–81.

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    Consistent with his earlier work with Scarpetti, Block discusses the role of criminal cartels in the toxic waste disposal industry. Unlike other researchers, Block proposes that the toxic waste industry has close connections with organized crime (see also Block and Scarpetti 1985)

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  • Block, Alan, and Frank Scarpetti. 1985. Poisoning for profit: The Mafia and toxic waste in America. New York: William Morrow.

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    Examines the role the Mafia and organized crime play in the toxic waste disposal market. Should be read in conjunction with Redovich 1992, Dangerous Ground, for the contrasting views of the two works.

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  • Lynch, Michael J., and Paul B. Stretesky. 2001. Toxic crimes: Examining corporate victimization of the general public employing medical and epidemiological evidence. Critical Criminology 10.3: 153–172.

    DOI: 10.1023/A:1015743420678Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Illustrates how medical and epidemiological evidence can be employed to discuss corporate and environmental crimes and their victims. Focuses on three toxic threats: pesticides, dioxin, and hazardous waste. Argues that the health consequences produced by these threats constitutes a toxic crime.

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  • Massari, Monica, and Paola Monzini. 2004. Dirty businesses in Italy: A case study of illegal trafficking in hazardous waste. Global Crime 6.3–4: 285–304.

    DOI: 10.1080/17440570500273416Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Examines the growth in international trade in illegal hazardous waste, and tries to connect this market to both organized crime and local criminal gang activities.

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  • Pearce, Frank, and Steve Tombs. 1998. Toxic capitalism: Corporate crime and the chemical industry. Aldershot, UK: Ashgate.

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    Includes several chapters on crime in the chemical industry and an in-depth analysis of Union Carbide’s role in the Bhopal disaster.

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  • Rebovich, Donald J.1987. Policing hazardous waste crime: The importance of regulatory/law enforcement strategies and cooperation in offender identification and prosecution. Criminal Justice Quarterly 9.3: 173–184.

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    Examines criminal actions (hazardous waste offenses), and focuses on how they are committed, the skills needed to commit such acts, and the criminal networks and criminal careers of hazardous waste offenders. Some offenders are linked to organized crime. Data from four states are employed to examine the statutes employed to bring the criminal charges.

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  • Rebovich, Donald J. 1992. Dangerous ground: The world of hazardous waste crime. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction.

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    The primary goal of this book is to provide information on hazardous waste crimes and criminals. The empirical data presented includes all known hazardous waste crimes in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Maine over an eight-year period.

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Environmental Justice

Environmental justice research examines exposure to toxic chemicals production, storage, and disposal facilities in relationship to community race, ethnicity, and class characteristics. Such research also looks at whether law and law enforcement provides equal protection to victims of environmental harms regardless of their racial, ethnic, or class characteristics. These studies have only recently penetrated criminology. The first of these studies was Bullard 1983 (cited in Class, Race, Ethnicity, and Environmental Justice), which focused on the distribution of solid waste facilities in Houston. This was followed by a 1983 U.S. General Accounting Office study of siting decisions in North Carolina and a 1987 study by the United Church of Christ (both also in Class, Race, Ethnicity, and Environmental Justice). These studies helped promote an environmental justice movement in the United States. The principles of the environmental justice movement were not formulated until 1991 (see National People of Color Environmental Leadership Summit 1991 in Defining Environmental Justice, Environmental Justice Theory).

Defining Environmental Justice, Environmental Justice Theory

Numerous definitions of environmental justice exist in the general literature. Disagreements, however, are relatively minor and center on the use of specific terms preferred by one researcher over another. The core ideas are generally agreed upon and are clearly expressed in National People of Color Environmental Leadership Summit 1991. The various theories and perspectives on environmental justice are addressed in Hofrichter 1993, an edited collection. For a history of this movement, see Taylor 2000.

  • Hofrichter, Richard, ed. 1993. Toxic struggles: The theory and practice of environmental justice. Philadelphia, PA: New Society Press.

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    The environmental justice movement had become broad and diversified by the early 1990s. The chapters in this book examine how the poor, people of color, migrant workers, industrial workers, women, Native Americans, and others are becoming active in a rejuvenated, if often unseen, civil rights movements that challenges the behavior of corporate polluters.

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  • National People of Color Environmental Leadership Summit. 1991. The principles of environmental justice.

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    Adopted during the First National People of Color Environmental Leadership Summit, held on October 24–27, 1991, these seventeen principles continue to define the core of the idea of environmental justice.

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  • Taylor, Dorceta. 2000. The rise of the environmental justice paradigm. American Behavioral Scientist 43.5: 508–580.

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    A good overview of the environmental justice movement and environmental justice theory. Traces the growth of the movement and the appeal of the environmental justice paradigm.

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Class, Race, Ethnicity, and Environmental Justice

In order to study environmental justice, criminologists must have an understanding of the broader literature examining this issue. Several key studies are included in this subsection, such as the first study of environmental justice (Bullard 1983), the first governmental study of environmental justice (United States General Accounting Office 1983), the study that solidified the environmental justice movement (United Church of Christ 1987), the particular problems of environmental justice in the South (Bullard 1990), the struggle against multinational corporations engaged in acts of environmental injustice (Gedicks 1993), and inequities in the enforcement of environmental statutes (Konisky 2009, Lavelle and Coyle 1992).

  • Bullard, Robert D. 1983. Solid waste sites and the black Houston community. Sociological Inquiry 53:273–288.

    DOI: 10.1111/j.1475-682X.1983.tb00037.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The first study published on environmental justice. Examines the distribution of solid waste sites in Houston, Texas, and the proximity of those sites to black and white communities.

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  • Bullard, Robert D. 1990. Dumping in Dixie: Race, class, and environmental quality. Boulder, CO: Westwood.

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    Am award-winning book on the problem of toxic-waste dumping in the South by the founder of the environmental justice paradigm. Regarded as the first book to document the existence of environmental racism. Also describes the growth of the environmental justice movement.

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  • Gedicks, Al. 1993. The new resource wars: Native and environmental struggles against multinational corporations. Boston, MA: South End Press.

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    Examines the issue of environmental justice with respect to Native Americans. Native American communities can be victimized by environmental injustice in very different ways than black, lower-class or Hispanic communities, meaning that researchers examining these issues in Native American communities must look at a different set of environmental issues.

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  • Konisky, David M. 2009. Inequities in enforcement? Environmental justice and government performance. Journal of Policy Management and Analysis 28.1: 102–121.

    DOI: 10.1002/pam.20404Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Examines racial and class bias in the enforcement of the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, and the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act from 1986 through 2005. Evidence of reduced enforcement in poor but not minority communities was discovered.

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  • Lavelle, Marianne, and Marcia Coyle. 1992. Unequal protection: The racial divide in environmental law. National Law Journal 21: S1–S12.

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    Examines how the law fails to provide equal protection to those victimized by environmental crimes. Specifically, the researchers found that the Environmental Protection Agency failed to enforce Superfund regulations equally in white and black communities.

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  • United Church of Christ, Commission for Racial Justice. 1987. Toxic wastes and race in the United States: A national report on the racial and socio-economic characteristics of communities with hazardous waste sites. New York: Public Data Access.

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    While Bullard 1983 was the first published academic study of environmental justice, this one is arguable the most important, and it is viewed as having helped create the foundation of the environmental justice movement. It replicated an earlier GAO study examining the question of racial bias in the placement of a hazardous waste site in Warren County, North Carolina.

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  • U.S. General Accounting Office. 1983. Siting of hazardous waste landfills and their correlation with racial and economic status of surrounding communities. Gaithersburg, MD: U.S. GAO.

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    This is the first government-sponsored study of environmental justice. It was conducted in response to protests in Warren County, North Carolina, concerning the placement of a toxic landfill. The GAO examined the placement of four sites in the southeastern United States and discovered that three of the four had populations that were predominantly black and more than 26 percent poor (below poverty level). Available online.

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Empirical Studies of Environmental Justice

Numerous empirical studies of environmental justice issues have been undertaken. Very few of these studies, however, have been performed by criminologists, as the few references that follow illustrate. For a review of the empirical literature on environmental justice, see Zilney, et al. 2006. For an example employing decennial census data, see Stretesky and Hogan 1998. For an application to chemical accident data, see Stretesky and Lynch 1999.

  • Stretesky, Paul B., and Michael J. Hogan. 1998. Environmental justice: An analysis of superfund sites in Florida. Social Problems 45.2: 268–287.

    DOI: 10.1525/sp.1998.45.2.03x0169mSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A widely cited study of the determinants of Superfund Site locations. Examines siting decisions made in 1970, 1980 and 1990, and indicates that Superfund sites in Florida were more likely to be located in proximity to African American and Hispanic communities.

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  • Stretesky, Paul B., and Michael J. Lynch. 1999. Environmental justice and the prediction of distance to accidental chemical releases in Hillsborough County, Florida. Social Science Quarterly 80.4: 830–846.

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    Using geographic information system data and analysis, this study revealed that the location of chemical accident releases can be predicted, and that the racial composition of an area is a significant predictor of chemical accident locations.

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  • Zilney, Lisa, Danielle McGurrin, and Sammy Zahran. 2006. Environmental justice and the role of criminology: An analytical review of 33 years of environmental justice research. Criminal Justice Review 31.1: 47–62.

    DOI: 10.1177/0734016806288258Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Examines 425 articles published on environmental justice from 1970 to 2003. Includes a literature review, a summary of important environmental laws in the United States, a timetable of major environmental events, and an examination of the distribution of environmental justice research articles by the disciplinary affiliation of their authors.

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Controlling and Policing Environmental Crimes

More so than any other issue, criminologists have been interested in examining mechanisms for controlling environmental crimes. Major issues in environmental law include responsibility (Crawford 2000), whether environmental harms should be controlled through criminal law (DiMento 1993, Du Rées 2001, Billington 1995, Vercher 1990), and whether other strategies are needed or effective (see listings in Noncriminal Enforcement Mechanisms). Much research remains to be done on these issues, and the numerous studies that have examined the effectiveness of criminal responses to environmental crime (e.g., Billington 1995 on environmental enforcement policies in New Zealand; Marzulla and Kappel 1991 on difficulties enforcing criminal liability statutes for environmental crimes; and Martinez, et al. 2006 on nine principles of federal environmental law), indicate a need to further address questions concerning effective mechanisms for controlling environmental pollution (see also Comte 2006, McKenna 1993).

  • Billington, John R. 1995. Recent New Zealand efforts to combat environmental crime. Criminal Law Forum 6.2: 389–404.

    DOI: 10.1007/BF01097776Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Examines the transformation of New Zealand’s environmental enforcement system from one based in a regulatory framework to one based in criminal law and punishment.

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  • Comte, Françoise. 2006. Environmental crime and the police in Europe: A panorama and possible paths for future action. European Environmental Law Review 15.7: 190–231.

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    This article addresses the potential use of police in Europe for the control of environmental crime.

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  • Crawford, Colin. 2000. Criminal penalties for creating a toxic environment: Mens rea, environmental criminal liability standards, and the neurotoxicity hypothesis. Boston College Environmental Affairs Law Review 27.3: 341–390.

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    Neurobiological studies have linked toxic metal pollution to criminal behavior. Crawford discusses the implications of this research for the legal system, focusing on applications to the federal Water Pollution Control Act.

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  • DiMento, Joseph F. 1993. Criminal enforcement of environmental law. Annals of The American Academy of Political and Social Science 525.1: 134–146.

    DOI: 10.1177/0002716293525001011Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A variety of legal forms (civil, administration, regulatory, criminal) can and have been used to enforce environmental law. DiMento specifically examines the ways in which criminal law can be employed to prevent and punish environmental crimes.

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  • Du Rées, Helena. 2001. Can criminal law protect the environment? Journal of Scandinavian Studies in Criminology and Crime Prevention 2.2: 109–126.

    DOI: 10.1080/140438501753737606Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    An extensive investigation of issues relevant to the use of criminal law and enforcement as effective mechanisms for controlling environmental crimes.

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  • Martinez, Peter J., Damon Worden, Luke Jones, and Jason Juceam. 2006. Environmental crimes. American Criminal Law Review 43.2: 381–459.

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    Examines principles common to the nine major federal environmental forms of regulation in the United States and implications for enforcement of environmental law.

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  • Marzulla, Roger, and Brett G. Kappel. 1991. Nowhere to run, nowhere to hide: Criminal liability for violations of environmental statutes in the 1990s. Columbia Journal of Environmental Law 16:201–205.

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    Examines criminal liability provisions in environmental statutes, and their potential benefits and difficulties in enforcing criminal liability statues with respect to environmental crimes.

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  • McKenna, S. 1993. Environment, crime and the police. Police Journal 66.1: 95–103.

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    Environmental crimes are often viewed as noncriminal events outside the purview of police. The police, however, are often the first to discover or respond to environmental crimes, especially those posing immediate danger. This article explores the question of how police agencies should respond to environmental crimes.

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  • Vercher, Antonio. 1990. The use of criminal law for the protection of the environment in Europe. Northwestern Journal of International Law and Business 10:442–459.

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    Criminal law is often believed to serve as a deterrent to crime. This article examines the use and effectiveness of criminal law sanctions to control environmental crime in Europe.

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Noncriminal Enforcement Mechanisms

The control of environmental crime is not always best achieved through criminal law, or even through other forms of law. A number of noncriminal enforcement practices have been implemented and assessed. Lemkin 1996, for example, examines deterrence through flexible sentencing, while Cohen 1987 examines the use of an economic model based on the “principle agent” approach. Grabosky and Gant 2000 reviews four different prevention methods, Howes 2001 compares Australia’s approach with the U.S. approach, and del Frate and Norberry 1993 explores how sustainable-development approaches may play a role in preventing environmental harm.

  • Cohen, Mark A. 1987. Optimal enforcement strategy to prevent oil spills: An application of a principal-agent model with moral hazard. Journal of Law & Economics 30.1: 23–51.

    DOI: 10.1086/467128Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Prior research has tended to emphasize the polluting firm’s perspective to examine how profit-maximizing firms respond to government intervention. Cohen examines the regulators’ perspective and how regulators select incentives that promote compliance. Data from the U.S. Coast Guard’s oil spill prevent program was used to estimate the optimal penalty for noncompliance.

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  • del Frate, Anna Alvazzi, and Jennifer Norberry. 1993. Environmental crime, sanctioning strategies, and sustainable development. Canberra: Australian Institute of Criminology.

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    Uses data on environmental enforcement in eight developing and developed nations. The effort to employ sustainable development approaches to enforcement were found to be limited by financial constraints.

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  • Grabosky, Peter, and Frances Gant. 2000. Improving environmental performance, preventing environmental crime. Canberra, Australia: Australian Institute of Criminology.

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    Reviews four different strategies for reducing environmental crime and harm: (1) self-regulation, (2) reward strategies, (3) information provision, and (4) commercial influences such as best-management practices.

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  • Howes, Michael. 2001. What’s your poison? The Australian National Pollutant Inventory versus the U.S. Toxics Release Inventory. Australian Journal of Political Science 36.3: 529–552.

    DOI: 10.1080/10361140120100703Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Explores the different philosophies behind the Australian National Pollution Inventory and the U.S. Toxic Release Inventory, two very distinct approaches for the discovery, collection, and dissemination of environmental crime violations and environmental crime data. Also examines the uses of these regulatory programs in the discovery and prevention of pollution.

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  • Korsell, Lars. 2001. Big stick, little stick: Strategies for controlling and combating environmental crime. Journal of Scandinavian Studies in Criminology and Crime Prevention 2.2: 127–148.

    DOI: 10.1080/140438501753737615Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Examines the use of communication of enforcement outcomes as a noncriminal alternative for the control of environmental crime. Argues that the communication of enforcement outcomes promotes better knowledge of risk, and thus may deter environmental crime.

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  • Lemkin, Jason. 1996. Comment: Deterring environmental crime through flexible sentencing: A proposal for the new Organizational Environmental Sentencing Guidelines. California Law Review 84.2: 307.

    DOI: 10.2307/3480926Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    It is difficult to control environmental crime, and traditional criminal sentencing is not necessarily the most appropriate solution. Lemkin looks at the potential uses of flexible sentencing for the control of environmental crime.

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  • Lin, Bin, and Cherng-Yuan Lin. 2006 Compliance with international emission regulations: Reducing the air pollution from merchant vessels. Marine Policy 30.3: 220–225.

    DOI: 10.1016/j.marpol.2005.01.005Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    In order to promote sustainable development, in 1997 the International Maritime Organization created a protocol to reduce ship-generated air pollution. The protocol became effective in 2005. This article examines mechanisms for establishing effective compliance with those regulations.

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  • Lo, Carlos W. H., and Gerald E. Fryxell. 2003. Enforcement styles among environmental protection officials in China. Journal of Public Policy 23.1: 81–115.

    DOI: 10.1017/S0143814X03003040Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Enforcement styles and policies of environmental officials were found to vary across three Chinese provinces. These variations were linked to public support for police efforts to control environmental crime.

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Corporate Self-Policing of Environmental Violations

In recent years, the focus on noncriminal alternatives for controlling environmental crime has stimulated the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to offer an increasing number of programs that depend on such alternatives. One response has been the creation of “self-policing,” or self-regulatory frameworks, which rely on potential offenders reporting their own legal violations in exchange for reduced penalties or deferred enforcement. The effectiveness of this strategy has been assessed by several researchers. Cunningham 1994 examines the effectiveness of New Zealand’s co-regulatory “Responsible Care” model, which incorporates self-policing. Stretesky 2006, Stretesky and Gabriel 2005, and Stretesky and Lynch 2009 focus on assessing the effectiveness of the EPA’s self-audit policy.

  • Cunningham, Neil. 1994. Policing pollution: Regulating the chemical industry. Report for the Criminology Research Council. Canberra: Australian National Univ., Australian Centre for Environmental Law.

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    Though somewhat dated, the importance of this work is due to its discussion of self-policing as a mechanism for controlling environmental crimes of pollution. Specifically, this study assesses the Australian chemical industry’s “Responsible Care Program,” and the author offers a proposal to strengthen the program based on a co-regulatory, tripartite arrangement. Available online.

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  • Stretesky, Paul B. 2006. Corporate self-policing and the environment. Criminology 44.3: 671–708.

    DOI: 10.1111/j.1745-9125.2006.00060.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    An empirical examination of the self-audit policy employed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which found no evidence that inspections and enforcement increase EPA Audit Policy use. In addition, the Audit Policy is more likely to be used by large companies than by small ones, and it is more likely to be used to report minor rather than serious violations.

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  • Stretesky, Paul B., and Jackie Gabriel. 2005. Self-policing and the environment: Predicting self-disclosure of Clean Air Act violations under the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Audit Policy. Society & Natural Resources 181.0: 871–887.

    DOI: 10.1080/08941920500248772Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The U.S. EPA Audit Policy waives or reduces penalties when regulated entities voluntarily discover, disclose, and correct environmental violations. Results indicate that larger companies are more likely to use the Audit Policy because they have multiple violations.

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  • Stretesky, Paul B., and Michael J. Lynch. 2009. Does self-policing reduce chemical emissions? A further test of the EPA self-audit policy. The Social Science Journal 46.3: 459–473.

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    Examines the impact of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Audit Policy on changes in toxic emissions among a sample of 178 chemical and allied product facilities. Results suggest that formal enforcement actions are the best predictor of Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) reductions, and that self-policing does not improve or deteriorate environmental performance.

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Punishing Environmental Criminals

In addition to focusing on the control of environmental crime, criminological research on environmental issues has also emphasized studies of the punishment of environmental offenders. This focus is consistent with criminology’s administrative emphasis. One of the most in-depth studies is O’Hear 2004, an analysis of the sentencing of environmental offenders under federal sentencing guidelines. Devine 1995 and Harig 1992 also address the impact of federal sentencing guidelines on environmental criminals. The majority of environmental penalties employ fines as a response. Lynch, et al. 2004a and Lynch, et al. 2004b examine whether Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) penalties against oil refineries are influenced by the racial, ethnic, and class characteristic of the effected communities. Burns and Lynch 2002 examines fines as a response to violations the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) regulations.

  • Allenbaugh, Mark H. 1999. Comment: What’s your water worth? Why we need federal fine guidelines for corporate environmental crimes. American University Law Review 48.4: 925.

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    Explores whether fines are an appropriate mechanisms for controlling corporate environmental crimes. Argues that a federal sentencing guideline for corporate offenses would help produce equal punishments for equivalent crimes.

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  • Burns, Ronald G., and Michael J. Lynch. 2002. Another fine mess… a preliminary examination of the use of fines by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Criminal Justice Review 27.1: 1–25.

    DOI: 10.1177/073401680202700102Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A portion of this article examines how the National Highway Traffic Administration employs fines to enforce the Corporate Average Fuel Economy Act, an environmentally oriented act that regulates automobile fuel economy.

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  • Devine, Patrick J. 1995. The Draft Organizational Sentencing Guidelines for Environmental Crimes. Columbia Journal of Environmental Law 20:249.

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    Reviews a proposed federal sentencing scheme for environmental crimes, examining its pros and cons.

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  • Harig, Lisa Ann. 1992. Ignorance is not bliss: responsible corporate officers convicted of environmental crimes and the federal sentencing guidelines. Duke Law Journal 42.1: 145–165.

    DOI: 10.2307/1372756Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Examines federal sentencing guidelines as they apply to environmental crimes, with special attention to the issue of offender knowledge and responsibility.

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  • Lynch, Michael J., Paul B.Stretesky, and Ronald G. Burns. 2004a. Determinants of environmental law violation fines against petroleum refineries: Race, ethnicity, income, and aggregation effects. Society and Natural Resources 17.4: 333–357.

    DOI: 10.1080/08941920490278782Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Assesses the impact of community characteristics on penalties imposed on petroleum refineries under the Clean Water Act and Clean Air Act between 2001 and 2003.

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  • Lynch, Michael J., Paul B. Stretesky, and Ronald G. Burns. 2004b. Slippery business: Race, class, and legal determinants of penalties against petroleum refineries. Journal of Black Studies 34.3: 421–440.

    DOI: 10.1177/0021934703258756Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Examines the effect of community characteristics (race, ethnicity, and income) on penalties assessed against petroleum refineries that violated the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, or the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act in 1998 and 1999.

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  • O’Hear, Michael. 2004. Sentencing the green-collar offender: Punishment, culpability, and environmental crime. Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology 95.1: 133–276.

    DOI: 10.2307/3491383Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    An exhaustive study of relevant legal criteria and rulings pertaining to offender culpability in environmental crime cases, and an empirical assessment of sentencing outcomes for green collar offenders under federal sentencing guidelines.

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Empirical Studies of Alternative Environmental Punishments

As noted, studies of environmental penalties tend to focus on the most prominent responses to environmental crimes: fines and, more recently, the use of self-policing strategies (see listings in Punishing Environmental Criminals and Corporate Self-Policing of Environmental Violations). Researchers, however, have examined a variety of other relevant issues related to environmental penalties. Mixon 1995, for example, examines the ability of corporations to use their power to influence citations and penalties of under carbon emissions regulations. In a unique study, Taylor and Mason 2002 uses survey research to guage public opinions concerning the use of imprisonment as a sanction for environmental crime. For an international perspective, Earnhart 2000 reviews the penal structure used in the Czech Republic to punish environmental criminals.

  • Earnhart, Dietrich. 2000. Environmental crime and punishment in the Czech Republic: Penalties against firms and employees. Journal of Comparative Economics 28.2: 379–399.

    DOI: 10.1006/jcec.2000.1652Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Compares the mechanisms for punishing environmental crimes developed during the communist and democratic eras in the Czech Republic. The analysis confirmed the author’s hypothesis that a “dual negligence rule” was enforced during the communist era, while a strict liability rule emerged to guide enforcement in the democratic era.

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  • Mixon, Franklin G, Jr. 1995. Public choice and the EPA: Empirical evidence on carbon emission violations. Public Choice 83.1–2: 127–137.

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    Powerful business entities are often able to influence Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standards and enforcement practices. Results from this study indicate that business had less influence on the probability of a carbon emission citation but more influence over the extent of punishment following a citation.

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  • Taylor, Ralph B., and Robert J. Mason. 2002. Responses to prison for environmental criminals: Impacts of incident, perpetrator, and respondent characteristics. Environment and Behavior 34.2: 194–215.

    DOI: 10.1177/0013916502034002003Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Examines the results of a survey used to examine the public’s attitudes toward imprisonment as an appropriate response to environmental crime.

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Limits of Legal Responses

While criminologists often study the control of environmental crime and the punishment of environmental criminals, few studies have provided useful critiques of the kinds of control strategies that have been employed to control environmental crime. The studies in this section represent significant efforts to provide the basis for such critiques and to question the ability of law and other forms of social control to address the problem of environmental crime. Seis 1993 illustrates this point with respect to the U.S. Clean Air Act. White 1999 provides a more general, philosophical discussion of environmental harms. Yeager 1991 provides an examination of the limits of law with respect to controlling private pollution.

  • Seis, Mark. 1993. Ecological blunders in U.S. clean air legislation. Journal of Human Justice 5.1: 58–81.

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    Examines deficiencies in the U.S. Clean Air Act. Seis argues that the act is based on counterintuitive or anti-ecological principles derived from anthropocentric assumptions, which causes the act to fail to protect air quality.

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  • White, Rob. 1999. Criminality, risk and environmental harm. Griffith Law Review 8.2: 235–257.

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    Environmental harms are not always defined or treated as crimes. White explores a number of questions: What characteristics do environmental harms and crimes share? Are there equivalent risks? How do these similarities and difference impact the use of criminal sanctions for the control of environmental harm?

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  • Yeager, Peter. 1991. The limits of law: The public regulation of private pollution. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press.

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    Law is designed to control noxious behavior, but it is ineffective for this purpose in some cases. Yeager examines the limits of law in relation to the control of private pollution.

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Empirical and Case Studies on Environmental Crime

Not all of the empirical or case studies performed by criminologists fit neatly into an area of study. For example, media reporting and portrayals of environmental crime are important to consider because they shape public opinion about these crimes (Holcomb 2008; Lynch, et al. 2000). Public information about environmental harms is also manipulated by the offending companies and the trade groups that represent them (Markowitz and Rosner 2002). Barnett 1988 examines how Reagan administration budgetary policies limited the effectiveness of environmental policies. Cohen 1992 examines whether federal enforcement outcomes are consistent with the theories that support those policies. Empirical studies have also focused on environmental justice issues in enforcement (Stretesky and Lynch 2003; Derezinski, et al. 2003), corporate use of greenwashing and public relations campaigns to deny responsibility for environmental harms (Holcomb 2008; for an exceptional case study across several forms of environmental harm see Markowitz and Rosner 2002), and even the effect of trade partnerships on the production of global warming gases (Stretesky and Lynch 2009).

  • Barnett, Harold C.1988. The extent of social regulation: Hazardous waste cleanup and the Reagan ideology. Policy Studies Review 8.1: 15–35.

    DOI: 10.1111/j.1541-1338.1988.tb00913.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    During the Reagan administration, a general government philosophy of restricted state spending and power was promoted. This stance reduced the effectiveness of environmental regulations.

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  • Block, Alan. A. 1993. Into the abyss of environmental policy: The battle over the world’s largest commercial hazardous waste incinerator located in East Liverpool, Ohio. Journal of Human Justice 5.1: 82–128.

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    A case study of the hazardous waste incinerator in East Liverpool, Ohio. Discusses the environmental issues as well as the specific problems posed by the facility.

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  • Cohen, Mark. 1992. Environmental crime and punishment: Legal/economic theory and empirical evidence on enforcement of federal environmental statutes. The Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology 82.3: 1054–1108.

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    An empirical study of federal enforcement outcomes and whether they meet expected theoretical outcomes and effectiveness criteria.

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  • Derezinski, Daniel D., Michael Lacy, and Paul B. Stretesky. 2003. Chemical accidents in the United States, 1990–1996. Social Science Quarterly 84.1: 122–143.

    DOI: 10.1111/1540-6237.00144-i1Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This study reveals that chemical accidents at fixed facilities that cause at least one death, injury or evacuation are more likely to occur in low-income areas.

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  • Holcomb, Jeanne. 2008. Environmentalism and the Internet: Corporate greenwashers and environmental groups. Contemporary Justice Review 11.3: 203–211.

    DOI: 10.1080/10282580802295328Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Using Internet sources as data, this article presents case studies of questionable environmental practices and “greenwashing” public relations campaigns by Coca-Cola, Shell, and Georgia Pacific.

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  • Lynch, Michael J., Paul B. Stretesky, and Paul Hammond. 2000. Media coverage of chemical crimes, Hillsborough County, Florida, 1987–97. British Journal of Criminology 40.1: 112–126.

    DOI: 10.1093/bjc/40.1.112Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Examines the frequency of newspaper coverage of chemical accidents. The results indicate that chemical accidents are almost never reported in the media. A comparison illustrates the extent to which ordinary crimes, such as homicide, are overreported in the news.

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  • Markowitz, Gerald, and David Rosner. 2002. Deceit and denial: The deadly politics of industrial pollution. Berkeley, CA: Univ. of California Press.

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    A gripping, detailed historical analysis of how industry has controlled and manipulated scientific studies related to health and the toxicity of lead, vinyl chloride, and other chemical products by deceiving public health officials and denying responsibility. Presents persuasive evidence that environmental crimes are serious and deserve much more attention than they receive.

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  • Stretesky, Paul B., and Michael J. Lynch. 2003. Environmental hazards and school segregation in Hillsborough County, Florida, 1987–1999. Sociological Quarterly 43.4: 553–573.

    DOI: 10.1111/j.1533-8525.2002.tb00066.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Few studies examine social justice issues with respect to public schools, though this is a significant concern because school age children are more vulnerable to toxic waste exposure than adults. This study discovered that, over time, schools located near toxic waste sites had an increased concentration of African American and Hispanic students, and that this pattern is part of a long-term, historic process of residential segregation.

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  • Stretesky, Paul B., and Michael J. Lynch. 2009. A cross-national study of the association between per capita carbon dioxide emissions and exports to the United States. Social Science Research. 38.1: 239–250.

    DOI: 10.1016/j.ssresearch.2008.08.004Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The United States produces more global warming pollution than other nations. Through its high level of consumption, it also stimulates the production of global warming gases in other nations. Results from this study indicate that trade partnerships with the United States are significantly related to the production of global warming gases in other nations.

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Effect of Environmental Chemical Pollution on Criminal Behavior

One of the interesting intersections between criminology and environmental research concerns the impact of environmental toxins on human behavior. The effects of lead (Pb) on human behavior and health have been widely studied. A number of studies suggest that lead affects criminal behavior. Indeed, the research on this connection is quite strong—even stronger than the body of evidence on any other factor believed to be associated with crime, because the association between lead and crime has been evident at all levels of analysis, including: (1) across individuals and among both adults and juveniles (Needleman, et al. 1996; Needleman, et al. 2002); (2) in longitudinal analysis of individuals (Dietrich, et al. 2001; Wright, et al. 2008); (3) across geographic units of space, such as U.S. counties (Stretesky and Lynch 2001, Stretesky and Lynch 2004); (4) and across time or in time-series data (Nevin 2000, Reyes 2007) while controlling for a host of competing explanations.

  • Dietrich, Kim M., M. Douglas Ris, Paul A. Succop, Omer G. Berger, and Robert L. Bornschein. 2001. Early exposure to lead and juvenile delinquency. Neurotoxicology and Teratology 23.6: 511–518.

    DOI: 10.1016/S0892-0362(01)00184-2Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The first longitudinal cohort study of the association between pre- and perinatal lead exposure and delinquency. Both pre- and perinatal lead exposure were discovered to impact delinquency.

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  • Needleman, Herbert L., Christine McFarland, Roberta B. Ness, Stephen E. Fienberg, and Michael J. Tobin. 2002. Bone lead levels in adjudicated delinquents: A case control study. Neurotoxicology and Teratology 24.6: 711–717.

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    Prior research established a connection between blood, bone, and body lead concentrations and self-reported delinquency. In this, the first study of adjudicated delinquent and lead exposure, bone lead levels were found to be significantly higher in adjudicated delinquents compared to controls, adjusting for a variety of known covariates of delinquency.

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  • Needleman, Herbert L., Julie A. Riess, Michael J. Tobin, Gretchen E. Biesecker, and Joel B. Greenhouse. 1996. Bone lead levels and delinquent behavior. Journal of the American Medical Association 275.5: 363–369.

    DOI: 10.1001/jama.275.5.363Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    In a four-year study of public school children, the association between body lead (measured via K x-ray fluorescence spectroscopy of the tibia) and delinquency at ages seven and eleven was examined. Controlling for other factors, the authors concluded that bone lead levels are significantly correlated with antisocial and delinquent behavior measures.

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  • Nevin, Rick. 2000. How lead exposure relates to temporal changes in IQ, violent crime, and unwed pregnancy. Environmental Research 831.1: 1–22.

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    Uses both cross-sectional and time series data to examine the effect of lead on crime. Tests the assumption of an association between lead exposure and a declining IQ. Long-term (1900 on) trends in paint and gasoline sales were employed to assess the trend in murder, and a strong association between these trends was found.

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  • Pihl, R. O., and F. Ervin. 2000. Lead and cadmium levels in violent criminals. Psychological Reports 66.3, pt. 1: 839–844.

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    Compares lead and cadmium exposure levels in a random sample of property offenders and violentcriminals. Suggests that prior to their crimes, violent offenders have experienced significantly higher levels of exposure to lead and cadmium than property offenders.

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  • Reyes, Jessica W. 2007. Environmental policy as social policy? The impact of childhood lead exposure on crime. The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy 7.1: Article 51.

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    An empirical study that links the reduction in lead in the environment in the late 1970s and early 1980s to the drop in crime in the 1990s. Controlling for other factors, the decline in environmental lead explains 56 percent of the decline in violent crime.

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  • Stretesky, Paul B., and Michael J. Lynch. 2001. The relationship between lead exposure and homicide. Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine 155.5: 579–582.

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    Examines the relationship between air lead concentrations and the incidence of homicide across counties in the United States, while controlling for various alternative explanations of homicide and air pollution. The results demonstrate that air lead levels are related to homicide. Available online.

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  • Stretesky, Paul B., and Michael J. Lynch. 2004. The relationship between lead and crime. Journal of Health and Social Behavior 45.2: 214–229.

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    A geographic analysis of the relationship between lead pollution and crime rates across U.S. counties that examines both violent and property crime rates.

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  • Wright, John Paul, Kim M. Dietrich, M. Douglas Ris, Richard W. Hornung, Stephanie D. Wessel, Bruce P. Lanphear, Mona Ho, and Mary N. Rae. 2008. Association of prenatal and childhood blood lead concentrations with criminal arrests in early adulthood. PloS Medicine 5.5: 101–106.

    DOI: 10.1371/journal.pmed.0050101Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The first study to measure prenatal and early childhood blood lead levels and their association with early adult criminality. The results indicate that prenatal and postnatal blood lead concentrations are associated with higher rates of total arrests and/or arrests for offenses involving violence. Available online.

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LAST MODIFIED: 12/14/2009

DOI: 10.1093/OBO/9780195396607-0063

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