The number of enforcement actions and the size of fines levied against companies for violating environmental protection laws is vastly different from state to state.
Good Jobs First released a report Tuesday containing state-level environmental enforcement data obtained via public records requests. The data reveals large discrepancies in the number and size of fines across the country.
This is largely due to the fact that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency shares authority with state governments, which have different “cultures of enforcement” that don’t necessarily correspond to a single political party or region, according to the report.
Since 2000, some states have issued more than $1 billion in fines related to violations of environmental protection laws, while others have collected less than $5 million.
In some states, one large settlement accounts for much of the total dollars fined for a violation. Mississippi leads the nation in the number of dollars fined due to a single settlement with BP following the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill.