With the government shutdown now at four weeks, the longest in history (by a week), many government agencies are under the microscope, not the least of which is the EPA. As CBS News reported this week, the EPA has hit a 30-year low in the number of pollution cases that have been referred for criminal prosecution. But that’s not a good thing.

As we’ve discussed here, pollution and carbon emissions have been a major talking point across the globe, and especially in America. Recent reports show a 3.4 percent increase in carbon dioxide emissions last year, which is the highest jump in U.S. emissions in nearly a decade. As such, it raises some alarms that there’d be so few pollution cases that are being referred for prosecution. CBS shares more:

The 166 cases referred for prosecution in the last fiscal year is the lowest number since 1988, when Ronald Reagan was president and 151 cases were referred, according to Justice Department data obtained by the nonprofit Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility advocacy group and released Tuesday.

“You don’t get closer to the core of EPA’s mission than enforcing the law,” said Jeff Ruch, PEER’s executive director. “We’re reaching levels where the enforcement program is lacking a pulse.”

EPA referrals resulted in 62 federal convictions in fiscal year 2018, the fewest since 1995. Justice Department figures show the agency’s referrals for criminal prosecution slowing even more in the first two months of fiscal year 2019, to 24.

Read the full story on CBS News. 

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