Environmental Crimes

News & Analysis as of

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

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

Environmental Enforcement Under Trump – Be Careful What You Wish For

Regardless of whether you are a Trump supporter or Trump hater, and there certainly seems to be very few people who are indifferent to the guy, trying to prognosticate what he will do is very difficult. He is a political...more

China focuses on Criminal Enforcement of Environmental Laws

The Supreme People’s Court (SPC), China’s highest judicial body, issued a judicial interpretation on December 26, 2016 which defines 18 types of environmental crimes as “serious environmental pollution” and identifies 13...more

Upping the Ante: DOJ Prosecuting OSHA Cases as Environmental Crimes

In December of 2015 the Department of Justice (“DOJ”)and the Department of Labor jointly announced an expansion of the “Worker Endangerment Initiative” to address violations of worker safety and environmental laws. In...more

Minerals Matters - Spring 2016

Minerals Matters is DLA Piper's bi-annual publication which showcases the breadth and depth of our experience in the mining and minerals sector across our office network and in all practice areas. In this issue, we...more

Higher Fines Imposed for Environmental Offences

Powerday plc was issued a record fine in April this year for offences relating to operations involving over 17,000 tonnes of waste deposited and stored illegally. Powerday – one of the biggest waste-management companies in...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

DOJ’s Increased Focus on Environmental Criminal Cases

Recently, John C. Cruden, DOJ’s Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Environmental and Natural Resources Division (ENRD), which oversees DOJ’s environmental litigation, voiced a heightened commitment to enforcing...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

Environmental Notes - May 2016

The news has been full of stories and articles concerning Coal Combustion Residuals (CCR), also referred to as coal ash. CCR became a hot topic in 2008 when a coal ash pond at a utility plant in Tennessee spilled more than 5...more

Changing Culture: the Exxon Valdez in Safety and 1MDB in Compliance

Before there was the BP oil well blow out in the gulf, the greatest US environmental disaster was the Exxon Valdez, which ran aground on a reef in Prince William Sound in southern Alaska, some 27 years ago on this date....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

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

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

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

DOJ Signals More Aggressive Stance On Environmental Crimes

The Department of Justice announced on December 17, 2015, that it would intensify enforcement of environmental and safety laws by adding in environmental criminal counts to worker safety prosecutions. The worker safety issues...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

UK courts get tough on environmental crime: sentencing of environmental offences committed by large companies

There is a widely held belief that environmental laws in the UK are toothless in practice because enforcement authorities are under resourced and typical levels of fines and penalties imposed are far too low. This view...more

Corporate Wrongdoing: More Civil and Criminal Liability for Individuals?

The US Department of Justice has issued a memorandum to all of its prosecuting Divisions, directing changes to the principles applied by DOJ in prosecuting civilly or criminally individuals who engage in corporate misconduct....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

Texas Jury Awards $3 Million in Hydraulic Fracturing Lawsuit

A jury in Dallas County, Texas, awarded nearly $3 million on April 22, 2014, in a suit contending that Aruba Petroleum, Inc., as well as other operators and service providers, had caused “environmental contamination and...more

Corporate Criminal Liability: Legal Causation and the Application of Absolute Vicarious Liability in the XTO Energy Prosecution

In this high-profile criminal prosecution of XTO Energy by the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General, the scope of corporate criminal liability for the actions of third parties is likely to take center stage later this year...more

Feds’ Reliance on Environmental Activism Underscores Need for Lacey Act Compliance

The search warrant recently executed by U.S. Customs and Fish and Wildlife Service agents on a Virginia-based flooring wholesaler surrounded allegations that the company had illegally imported wood in violation of the Lacey...more

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