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Environmental Criminal Law

Read need-to-know updates, commentary, and analysis on Environmental issues written by leading professionals.

Court Rules DOJ Enforcement Directive Arbitrary and Capricious

by Davis Wright Tremaine LLP on

A U.S. District Court in Arizona has ruled that DOJ’s narrow interpretation of the requirements for a criminal misdemeanor under the Endangered Species Act went beyond unreviewable prosecutorial discretion, and its policy was...more

New Fed Policy Eliminates Ability of Settlement Options to Include Payments to Non-Party NGOs

by Snell & Wilmer on

On June 7, 2017, United States Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued a memorandum to all Department of Justice (DOJ) components and 94 United States Attorney’s Offices prohibiting them from entering into any agreement on...more

DOJ Issues Policy Memo Limiting the Use of Supplemental Environmental Projects in Federal Settlements

by Downey Brand LLP on

On June 7, 2017, the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) issued a policy memorandum dated June 5, 2017 that prohibits the allocation of settlement funds to non-governmental, third-party organizations, as a condition of...more

To Plead Or Not To Plead?

by Dentons on

Two of our lawyers published an article on recent sentencing developments in the Chartered Institution of Wastes Management's (CIWM) monthly journal. The article discusses the impact of the Environmental Offences Sentencing...more

Anatomy of a Price Gouging Case

by Carlton Fields on

Severe and sustained drought conditions in Florida have sparked large wildfires across the state. With thousands of acres that have already burned, and more than 100 active wildfires, Florida Governor Rick Scott recently...more

Energy & Process Corp. Settles Whistleblower Action Related to Construction of Nuclear Waste Treatment Facility

by Dorsey & Whitney LLP on

On Monday, April 24, the U.S. Department of Justice announced that Energy & Process Corp. agreed to pay $4.6 million to settle False Claims Act allegations concerning the construction of a large nuclear waste treatment...more

This Month in Corruption: Smuggled Drugs, Bogus Billing, Tampered Equipment

by PretiFlaherty on

Wrong Way to Keep Prisoners in Line. The office of William D. Weinreb, acting U.S. Attorney for the District of Massachusetts, announced March 3 that two former corrections officers at the Essex County Correctional facility...more

VW Fallout Continues: Mobile Source Emissions Enforcement Likely to Continue Full Speed Ahead under Trump Administration

by Snell & Wilmer on

The headlines generated by the Volkswagen emissions scandal continue to amaze the environmental community and the general public, both here and abroad. The events are shocking in part because they involve a household name in...more

New Flint Indictments Just in Time for the Holidays

by Burr & Forman on

On December 20, 2016, Michigan’s Attorney General announced additional indictments in the Flint water crisis. The indictments against two former emergency managers and two former City of Flint executives bring to 13 the...more

Criminal Indictment Precluded After Loss In Civil Action

On December 12, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit issued a ruling holding that a lower court’s decision dismissing the federal government’s civil claim that the defendants were at fault in connection with a...more

US Environmental Protection Agency Opens Criminal Investigation into Herbicide Spraying

According to articles in Missouri newspapers and other news outlets, federal agents recently executed search warrants in several counties in Missouri to probe possible criminal violations of the Federal Insecticide,...more

California Ballot 2016: Pros and Cons of Props 62-67

by Lewitt Hackman on

This is part three of our ongoing series, California Ballot 2016, summarizing each of the 17 state-wide measures voters will encounter on the November ballot. Click these links: Props 51-56, or Props 57-61 to catch up on the...more

Five on Friday – Five Recent Developments that We’ve Been Watching Closely

It’s Friday and time for another overview of developments in the field of business and human rights that we’ve been monitoring. This week’s post includes: an announcement by the International Criminal Court regarding the...more

The Risk of a Cooperating Witness Left Out in the Cold

by Michael Volkov on

Last week, the Justice Department reported a guilty plea in the VW emissions scandal prosecution. By this one announcement, DOJ signaled that it is planning to build a bigger case against VW. Ironically, the Justice...more

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

by Brooks Pierce on

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

by Thompson Coburn LLP on

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

The Supreme Court - May 2016 #4

by Dorsey & Whitney LLP on

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

by Allen Matkins on

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

by Williams Mullen on

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

by Allen Matkins on

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

by Dentons on

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

by Thompson Coburn LLP on

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

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