In order to translate "lives lost" into money, you need to start by assigning a value to a human being, a completely arbitrary number.
Happens every day. NHTSA rates the value at saving a human life (VSL) at $9.1M. Insurance adjusters do it. Courtrooms do it. Etc...
And while arbitrary, it's not completely arbitrary. A lot goes into the figuring. Expected lifetime earnings, funeral costs, medical expenses, school costs, all goes into the figures.
Predicting extra illnesses relies on collecting data from medical studies subject to massive publication bias and never designed for that purpose.
Again: Educated guess. We know mercury in the environment is bad. Ergo, we set the fees for emitting it extremely high. $10M/ton might actually be an OOM low. $100M/ton might be closer.
Whatever. The idea is that you have a serious board that 'does their best', and regularly reviews the pollution list, adding new pollutants and adjusting the fees as new science gives you 'settled' values. I say settled because values shouldn't be assigned on the basis of 'cutting edge' science, but science that has been verified for a bit. If nothing else, it allows industry to keep an eye on the studies and have a good idea what they're going to be charged in the future.
As for parking/speeding tickets, first you'd have to define a goal. When your publicly stated goal is prevention, but your actual goal is revenue generation, of course the fee structure is going to look odd.
That is why people are getting upset with the regulatory overreach we are experiencing now. People are faced with arbitrary fines completely out of proportion to any harm they could conceivably be causing.
Ah, good thing I'm talking about fees, not fines. It's the difference between a sales tax and a speeding ticket. I also explicitly stated that the schedules would be set in proportion to harm being caused, at least as best as we're able to. Of course, that brings up a different point - it should probably charge different amounts depending on whether the pollution is affecting the ground, air, or water.
As for civil asset forfeiture, I laugh because I just got a nice letter back from my senator after I wrote him to ask for actions to seriously limit said seizures. I haven't heard back from the other congressional members(state & federal) that I also wrote, but oh well.
So I'll repeat: These are fees, not fines, in that they're not punitive. Things do tend to get crazy when you go punitive. This is 'simply' an attempt to render an external cost not paid by the business doing the industry, an internal one, so they have incentive to reduce their pollution. While actually REDUCING the regulatory burden, because now rather than sticking their noses in 'state of technology' and saying you have to have XYZ technologies installed, they simply charge for your emissions, and the business installs XYZ simply in order to save money. They even have incentive to seek new pollution control technology because it'll save them money, as opposed to the current situation where they don't want to see new technology because the EPA will subsequently mandate it.