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California Environmental Law & Policy Update - April 2016 #4

Environmental and Policy Focus - Three Michigan state and local officials face first criminal charges in Flint water crisis - The Guardian - Apr 20 - Three state and local officials involved in Flint’s water...more

Article: Dismissal of Charges in the British-Petroleum (BP) Deepwater Horizon Indictment … or the Over-Criminalization of the BP...

On April 20, 2010, just before 10 p.m., the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig suddenly exploded in the Gulf of Mexico, 48 miles off the Louisiana coast. Tragically, eleven men on the vessel died. Oil ultimately flowed from the...more

New Health and Safety Sentencing Guideline comes into Force

The definitive guideline on Health and Safety Offences, Corporate Manslaughter and Food Safety and Hygiene Offences (the Guideline) was published on 3 November 2015 and comes into force for all matters sentenced on or after 1...more

DOJ shifts enforcement of worker safety violations to Environmental Crimes Section

Deputy Attorney General Sally Quillian Yates announced in a December 17 memo that the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Department of Labor (DOL) are making a renewed commitment “to utilize criminal prosecution as an...more

OSHA and DOJ to Join Forces on Safety Violations/Penalties to Increase

Employers that violate safety-related laws are likely to face more aggressive enforcement and steeper penalties in the future under new legislation allowing the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (“OSHA”) to increase...more

New DOJ and DOL Initiative Marries Environmental Crimes with Worker Safety Violations

The last quarter of 2015 was marked by an ever-increasing drumbeat of employee and union concern over what many viewed as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (“OSHA’s”) anemic enforcement capability. The...more

Does Air Pollution Increase Violent Crime?

When EPA assesses the costs and benefits of environmental regulations, it typically looks at direct health impacts resulting from exposure to pollutants. According to a recent National Bureau of Economic Research working...more

The US Departments of Justice and Labor Announce Expansion of Worker Endangerment Initiative

Just in time for the holidays, the Department of Justice (DOJ) and Department of Labor (DOL) announced a new plan to prosecute crimes that put workers’ health and lives at risk. As explained in the December 17, 2015 press...more

DOJ Redoubles Efforts to Prosecute Workplace Violations as Environmental Crimes

Reporting that 13 workers in America die each day on the job due to injuries and 150 workers succumb to exposure to carcinogens and other toxic and hazardous substances while working, the United States Department of Justice...more

U.S. Department of Justice Expands Worker Endangerment Initiative

On December 17, 2015, Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates issued a memorandum to all 93 U.S. Attorneys urging federal prosecutors to work with the Department of Justice Environment and Natural Resource Division (ENRD) to...more

What to Do When You Are Served With a Search Warrant

Most business executives and officers lack the training and preparation to deal effectively with a search warrant. State and federal law enforcement agencies continue to increase their investigation and prosecution of...more

New DOJ Prosecutorial Initiative Blends Environmental and Worker Safety

Companies with Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) citations may face criminal charges going beyond those allowed under the OSHA statute, under a new Worker Endangerment Initiative and Memorandum of...more

SHE Matters: Swingeing Fines for Large organisations: Can they be avoided? - The Court of Appeal Decision in the Thames Water Case

In early June, the Court of Appeal handed down judgment in an appeal against sentence brought by Thames Water Utilities Ltd. The company had been fined £250,000 after pleading guilty to a breach of the Environmental...more

Focus on China - October 2015

Welcome to the third issue of Focus on China Compliance for 2015. According to the FCPA Blog’s October 2015 Corporate Investigations List, China leads the countries reported to be involved in FCPA investigations with 29...more

Lacey Act Lessons from the Lumber Liquidators $13 Million Settlement: Has the Definition of “Due Care” Been Expanded?

On October 7, 2015, Lumber Liquidators agreed to plead guilty to five criminal charges, including one felony, stemming from the purchase and import of certain wood products through three separate Chinese suppliers. The plea...more

All In: Information Readiness in the Wake of VW and the Yates Memo

I’m not much of a gambler, so I steered clear of the tables and slots at SCCE’s Annual Compliance and Ethics Institute in Vegas last week. That said, I really think if I’d have made a dollar for every time I heard the words...more

Prudence Prevails: Fifth Circuit Supports Narrow Reading of Liability under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act

The U.S. Court of the Appeals for the Fifth Circuit recently ruled that the criminal prohibition on killing or injuring birds under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (“MBTA”) “only prohibits intentional acts (not omissions) that...more

Fifth Circuit Decision in Citgo Case May Place Limits on Criminal Liability Under Migratory Bird Treaty Act

On September 4, 2015, the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit reversed convictions of CITGO Petroleum Corporation and CITGO Refining and Chemical Company, L.P. (collectively "Citgo"), and in so doing placed potentially...more

Fifth Circuit Holds that Migratory Bird Treaty Act Does Not Apply to Incidental Takes - What It Means for Energy Developers

On September 4, 2015, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the misdemeanor convictions of Citgo Petroleum Corporation and Citgo Refining and Chemicals Company, L.P. (collectively Citgo) for “taking” migratory birds in...more

RMP and General Duty Clause Enforcement Continues at EPA Region 1

As we reported last year, the U.S. EPA has stepped up its enforcement activity under the risk management provisions of the Clean Air Act (“CAA”), Section 112(r), focusing on both the Risk Management Plan (“RMP”) program rules...more

Who Can Sue Polluters? New Texas Law HB 1794 Stirs Debate

A perspective on new Texas legislation HB 1794 by Gerald Pels one of the leaders of the Texas environmental legal community for over 30 years....more

Creative Lawyering In RCRA Criminal Action Fails to Find Favor with the Ninth Circuit

The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, the federal law that regulates management of hazardous waste, is complicated and compliance can be tricky... but not impossible. Our experience is that good faith efforts to comply...more

A Permit System May Finally Arrive for the Migratory Bird Treaty Act - New Opportunities and Responsibilities

For years, Federal Courts have held that individuals can be held criminally liable under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) for the death of birds regardless of whether they intended to harm them. While several courts have...more

The Announcement of Criminal Charges against Lumber Liquidators Underscores the Need for Lacey Act Compliance

On Wednesday, April 29, 2015, Lumber Liquidators announced in its most recent 10Q that the United States Department of Justice plans to pursue criminal charges surrounding allegations the company illegally imported wood in...more

Strengthening of enforcement powers under the environmental permitting regime and tackling waste crime - what changes are...

The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs ("Defra") and the Welsh Government are currently consulting on strengthening the powers of the regulators in respect of those facilities which operate under environmental...more

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