Environmental Law Portal

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Beveridge & Diamond’s 100 lawyers in seven U.S. offices focus on environmental and natural resource law, litigation and dispute resolution. We help clients around the world resolve critical environmental and sustainability issues relating to their products, facilities, and operations. 

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Showing 14 posts in White Collar/Criminal. View our practice description for White Collar/Criminal.

Impacts of the 2016 U.S. Election on Environmental Law, Policy, and Enforcement

The 2016 election results will have wide-ranging impacts on the future direction of environmental law, policy, and enforcement in the U.S.  With 100 lawyers in offices around the U.S. focused on environmental and natural resource law and litigation, Beveridge & Diamond helps clients navigate legal and business risks arising from this evolving legal landscape. Read More ›

Comment Period Closing July 21 on Possible Expansion of Environmental Sustainability Disclosure Requirements

Summary:  Comments are due July 21, 2016 on a concept release published on April 22, 2016 by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC” or the “Commission”) on potential revisions to certain business and financial disclosure obligations in Regulation S-K, which governs the disclosure requirements applicable to periodic reports.  Among other topics, the Commission requested comment on expanding disclosures relating to environmental sustainability and public policy issues, including climate change.  The Commission is soliciting public input on a number of specific questions, including whether to impose line-item disclosure requirements related to sustainability and public policy issues, the overlap with reporting of information concerning sustainability outside of Commission filings, and potential challenges and costs of compliance.  Companies should ensure that their interests are reflected in the comment process—either directly or through participation in industry organization commenting efforts.  Read 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 Understanding (MOU) announced on December 17, 2015 by the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Department of Labor (DOL).  Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, misdemeanor criminal charges are available only in fatality cases involving “willful” violations of a standard.  Those limitations have resulted in relatively few OSHA criminal cases.  That may be about to change. Read More ›

Executives Beware: DOJ’s New Policy Memo Signals Focus on Prosecuting Individuals

“Look What the Doctor ( . . . or Attorney General) Just Ordered.”

In light of the near-unbridled discretion of the U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ”) to bring federal criminal charges, businesses and their leaders are wise to pay close attention to the prosecutor’s “playbook.”  Sometimes these lessons emerge in the pattern of investigations and prosecutions, but often the priorities are found in new policy declarations. Read More ›

EPA Targets Confined Animal Feeding Operations for Criminal Enforcement

This month, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published a criminal enforcement alert (EPA CAFO alert) warning that Clean Water Act (CWA) violations by confined animal feeding operations (known as CAFOs) will be prioritized for aggressive enforcement and criminal prosecution, including fines and incarceration. The alert, which is available here, outlines EPA’s national enforcement initiative to reduce water pollution from CAFOs – an initiative that has resulted in numerous criminal enforcement actions involving knowing or negligent discharges of animal wastes.

 

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Recycling Company Fined $4.5 Million for Illegal Export of Electronic Waste; Executives Receive Prison Sentences

Executive Recycling, Inc., a U.S. electronic waste recycling business, and two company executives were sentenced this month by U.S. District Court Judge William J. Martinez for defrauding customers and illegally shipping electronic waste (“e-waste”) overseas. The corporation was fined $4.5 million and sentenced to 3 years on probation. CEO and owner Brandon Richter was ordered to serve 30 months in federal prison, followed by 3 years on supervised release. Judge Martinez also ordered Richter to pay approximately $77,000 in fines and restitution and to forfeit over $140,000 in assets. Richter and Executive Recycling received their sentences one week after the corporation’s Vice President of Operations, Tor Olson, was sentenced to 14 months in prison and fined $20,000. Read More ›

Owner of Electronics Export Company Receives a 30-Month Prison Sentence

On March 22, 2013, the Federal District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan sentenced Discount Computers, Inc. (“DCI”), a computer company, and its owner for trafficking in counterfeit goods and services and for violating environmental laws related to the fraudulent export of cathode ray tubes (“CRTs). The prosecution of DCI, along with the December 2012 prosecution of a Colorado electronics recycler for illegal exportation of CRTs, demonstrate the federal government’s increased focus on using existing laws to pursue criminal enforcement to address the illegal handling and disposal of e-waste. Cynthia Giles, EPA’s Assistant Administrator for the Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance, cautions that these criminal sentences should serve as a warning to all those who illegally export e-waste from the United States. Read More ›

RIN Prosecutions: Where Fraud Meets Environmental Protection . . . Once Again

On February 22, 2013, Rodney Hailey, the owner of Clean Green Fuel LLC, was sentenced to 151 months (or 12.5 years) in prison, and ordered to pay $42 million in restitution, for selling $9 million in fraudulent renewable fuel credits (RFCs) after being convicted in June 2012 of numerous federal crimes, including wire fraud, money laundering and violations of the Clean Air Act. Read More ›

Increased Federal Criminal Enforcement Against Oil and Gas Fracking Companies

While President Obama renewed his support for the “natural gas boom” in his State of the Union address last week, his administration continues to carefully scrutinize the environmental impacts of hydraulic fracturing (or fracking) as a method to access these natural gas reserves. The federal government has been stepping up criminal enforcement actions against oil and gas drilling companies under existing environmental statutes like the Clean Water Act while state and federal governments are in the process of developing policies and regulations specifically targeted at fracking.   Read More ›

First-Ever Criminal CPSIA Charges Brought for the Importation and Sale of Hazardous Toys

On February 4, 2013, a 24-count federal indictment was issued charging multiple individuals and companies with importing and trafficking hazardous toys from China into the United States.[1] The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (CPSIA)[2] added stringent limits on the amount of lead and phthalates in children’s products, including toys. This case, brought by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York and jointly investigated by a number of federal, state and local agencies, including the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), is the first criminal case alleging violations of these requirements.  Read More ›