Environmental Criminal Law

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Sixth Circuit Upholds Criminal Restitution

An earlier case, decided by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit on June 3, 2016, is noteworthy because it resulted in an opinion affirming the government’s use of the criminal restitution laws to require a...more

VW: The Challenge of Whistleblowing

The following guest post is by Wendy Addison. A hand shot up from the lecture hall: ‘I don’t understand’, a young economics undergraduate said, looking perplexed, ‘surely a company’s executives would want to know...more

North Carolina Legislative Update

Budget negotiations continued behind closed doors this week, with Speaker Tim Moore and the President Pro Tempore of the Senate, Senator Phil Berger, working to resolve the final differences between the two chambers’ spending...more

Former head of OSHA discusses workplace injury policies, DOJ enforcement

At a recent presentation at the St. Louis office of Thompson Coburn, John Henshaw, the former U.S. Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA, offered some insights into several top-of-mind environmental, health and safety issues....more

Supreme Court Update: U.S. Army Corps Of Engineers V. Hawkes (15-290), Johnson V. Lee (15-789), Lynch V. Arizona (15-8366) And...

As we settle into June, the Eight seem to be clearing out the less difficult decisions in preparation for what could be a messy end to the term, given some controversial issues (abortion, affirmative action, immigration) and...more

Unintentional Felonies Every CEO Needs to Know About

Heads-up! That bottle of chardonnay you plan on sending to your top client could land you in hot water with the Federal Government. The CEO of any company—large or small—needs to be conscious of business decisions...more

The Supreme Court - May 2016 #4

The Supreme Court of the United States issued decisions in three cases on May 31, 2016: Army Corps of Engineers v. Hawkes, No. 15-290: Three mining companies sought a permit under the Clean Water Act seeking to...more

California Environmental Law & Policy Update - May 2016 #3

Environmental and Policy Focus - In sharp reversal, California suspends mandatory water restrictions - New York Times - May 18 - The State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) on Wednesday suspended its...more

Feds Renew Focus on Worker Safety and Individual Accountability

Massey Energy CEO Donald Blankenship reported to a California prison on May 12 to begin serving a one-year sentence for willfully violating mine safety standards. His conviction was related to the deadliest United States...more

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

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

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

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