Helen M. Maher


The Environmental Crimes and Enforcement Act of 1996 (ECEA) bill was recently proposed for consideration by Congress. The ECEA, if adopted, will have a pervasive effect on the entire spectrum of environmental statutes, reflecting a legislative effort to create more uniform enforcement and penalty provisions. Most importantly, the bill creates liability for any person who attempts to violate an environmental statute. This Comment analyzes the ECEA and focuses specifically on the attempt provision and its impact on the Clean Water Act. The underlying rationales and social purposes of common law approaches to environmental regulation will be compared with the proposed ECEA. Attempt as it is defined in case law and penal codes will be examined in relation to its context in the ECEA. The ECEA's attempt provision will be applied to recent Clean Water Act cases and the designation of the Clean Water Act as a public welfare statute will be discussed.