An interesting article in the Los Angeles Times on Exide Technologies’ Vernon, CA smelter (think just south of downtown Los Angeles) that shows, somewhat, the interplay of civil enforcement, criminal enforcement, local activism and political pressure: http://www.latimes.com/science/la-me-exide-violations-20150310-story.html:
"The latest EPA citations against Exide stem from an investigation that includes the agency's Criminal Enforcement Division. The agency last cited Exide in May 2014 for excessive lead emissions.
In August, Exide received a subpoena from a federal grand jury in connection with a criminal investigation of its Vernon plant, involving air emissions and the handling of hazardous waste.
The plant has been the focus of community outrage since a 2013 report found that Exide's arsenic emissions posed an increased cancer risk to 110,000 people who live near the facility. The plant, one of only two lead-acid battery smelters west of the Rocky Mountains, recycles used batteries and lead scrap into raw materials for new batteries."
Just because there is civil enforcement does not mean that there will not be criminal enforcement; and local and political pressures can be involved as well.
As always, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org