Photo: Vitaliy Holovin/Corbis via Getty images

The Environmental Protection Agency hit a 30-year low last year in the number of pollution cases it referred for criminal prosecution, Justice Department data shows.

Details: The 166 cases referred for prosecution in the last fiscal year is the lowest number since 1988, when Ronald Reagan was president, according to the AP. The data was obtained by the nonprofit Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER).

  • Compare: In 2011, the EPA assessed that "typically" the criminal investigative division "carries approximately 800 open criminal investigations on its national docket."
  • Criminal referrals have been on a downward trend since Bill Clinton’s administration, and even more so under President Trump.

Between the lines: Congress requires the Criminal Investigative Division at the EPA to employ at least 200 special agents, but there are only about 140 agents currently active at the agency, PEER learned through a federal records request.

What’s next: Andrew Wheeler, a former coal lobbyist who was acting head of the EPA for most of the last fiscal year, faces a confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill Wednesday. Criminal referrals have already slowed in fiscal year 2019 under Wheeler, according to DOJ figures.

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Trump's Tucker mind-meld

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Roy Rochlin/Getty Images and BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images

If you want to understand the rhetorical roots of Trump's Independence Day speech at Mount Rushmore, go back and watch Tucker Carlson's monologues for the past six weeks.

Between the lines: Trump — or rather his speechwriter Stephen Miller — framed the president's opposition to the Black Lives Matter protest movement using the same imagery Carlson has been laying out night after night on Fox.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 6 p.m. ET: 11,366,145 — Total deaths: 532,644 — Total recoveries — 6,154,138Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 6 p.m. ET: 2,874,396 — Total deaths: 129,870 — Total recoveries: 906,763 — Total tested: 35,512,916Map.
  3. States: Photos of America's pandemic July 4 ICU beds in Arizona hot spot near capacity — Houston mayor warns about hospitals
  4. Public health: U.S. coronavirus infections hit record highs for 3 straight days.
  5. Politics: Former Trump official Tom Bossert says face masks “are not enough”
  6. World: Mexican leaders call for tighter border control as infections rise in U.S.
  7. Sports: Sports return stalked by coronavirus
  8. 1 📽 thing: Drive-in movie theaters are making a comeback.

Bolton's hidden aftershocks

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

The news media has largely moved on, but foreign government officials remain fixated on John Bolton's memoir, "The Room Where It Happened."

Why it matters: Bolton's detailed inside-the-Oval revelations have raised the blood pressure of allies who were already stressed about President Trump's unreliability.