Polluters, take note: A new environmental crimes task force is launching in North Carolina, the U.S. Department of Justice announced today.

The press release (92kb, pdf) environmentalcrimesgroup sounds serious, but forgive Triangulator if she doesn’t start drinking straight from the Neuse River quite yet. Federal and state regulators are known for their light hand on all but the most egregious of polluters. And sometimes the fines and penalties take years to assess and collect because the polluters declare bankruptcy, tie up the case in the courts, etc.

But with that said, it will be worth tracking the effectiveness of this new initiative.