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Justice Department figures show a steady decline in environmental prosecutions in the waning months of 2007, representing the fourth consecutive month of declines. Federal prosecutions in December, the latest data available, show 20 enforcement cases brought nationally, down from 39 a month earlier, according to the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University. But for the same period one year ago, the number of criminal filing was up 11.5%, and up 22.6% over 2002, according to TRAC records, received under Freedom of Information Act requests from the Justice Department. Among the environmental crimes tracked were killing and possession of migratory birds and water pollution enforcement. The cases came from Detroit, Mich.; Anchorage, Alaska; Los Angeles, San Francisco, Sacramento, Calif.; Tampa, Florida; St. Louis, Missouri; Newark, N.J.; Knoxville, Tenn.; Ft. Worth, Texas, Roanoke, W. Virginia and Seattle, Wash. The number of convictions for previously filed cases was down only slightly, 1.6%, from December 2007 over the same month a year earlier. Overall, the data show environmental convictions for the full fiscal year were up 9.3% over fiscal year 2002, according to TRAC.

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