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  • May 10, 2024
  • 3E

Deep Dive: Environmental Polluters Can Face Fines, Prison, Under New EU Law

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(Editor’s Note: 3E is expanding news coverage to provide customers with insights into topics that enable a safer, more sustainable world by protecting people, safeguarding products, and helping businesses grow. DEEP DIVE articles, produced by reporters, feature interviews with subject matter experts and influencers as well as exclusive analysis provided by 3E researchers and consultants.)

A new EU directive, called one of the world’s “most ambitious” efforts to punish environmental crimes, allows polluters – individuals and companies – to be charged under criminal law and establishes that the maximum term of imprisonment should not be less than 10 years for serious environmental crimes.

After several years of legislative procedure and debates, the EU published the Directive On The Protection of the Environment Through Criminal Law and Replacing Directives 2008/99/EC and 2009/123/EC in April 2024. The directive establishes EU-wide rules on environmental offenses, which can be punishable by fines and imprisonment, exclusion from access to public funding, and withdrawal of permits and authorizations, among other sanctions. 


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