Web of environmental rules threatens Gulf Coast businesses with jail, steep fines
While there is no concrete figure, there are an estimated 300,000-400,000 environmental laws, statutes and mandates believed to be in circulation nationally. Many can land a person in prison, regardless of whether another person, plant or animal is harmed...Updated January 26, 2013: Web link. Quotations added.
Part of the problem is that no one knows the total number of federal criminal laws on the books. Big and bulky, the federal criminal code is chock full of obtuse and obscure laws.
"You will have died and resurrected three times," and still be trying to figure out the answer, retired Justice Department official Ronald Gainer once told The Wall Street Journal in a report about the bloated volumes of criminal law...
...in his book "Three Felonies a Day," Boston-based attorney Harvey Silverglate says criminal laws have become dangerously disconnected and that prosecutors can pin crimes on anyone. [Emphasis mine]