criminal enforcement

February 12, 2018

Trump EPA Touts Enforcement as Key to Positive Health and Environmental Outcomes

The release of EPA’s fiscal year 2017 enforcement results give a picture of the enforcement priorities .  The results reflect four months of the Obama administration and eight months of the Trump administration, and the major cases that make up the results in terms of pollution impacts, fines, and injunctive relief were all either initiated or completed […]
February 8, 2018

New EPA Enforcement Guidance – “No Surprises” Approach with States

EPA’s Chief Enforcement Officer, Susan Bodine, has issued guidance on EPA and state coordination with a focus on cooperative federalism.  Interim OECA Guidance on Enhancing Regional-State Planning and Communication on Compliance Assurance Work in Authorized States, Jan. 22, 2018. Among other things, the guidance requires EPA Regional Offices to develop procedures to better communicate and […]
July 13, 2017

Roadmap to Effective EHSS Compliance – How Does Your Program Fare?

Below are questions developed by a compliance specialist within the U.S. Department of Justice’s criminal division to assess the effectiveness of a corporate compliance program or areas for improvement.  These questions apply to all forms of regulatory compliance, including environment, health, safety and security programs. For companies committed to EHSS compliance, periodically using these questions […]
December 15, 2016

U.S. Authorities Close in on Volkswagen Criminal Settlement

Media Mention From Financial Times, Dec. 14, 201 . . . James Robert Liang, a VW engineer, in September became the first person to plead guilty to criminal charges, including conspiring to defraud US customers and regulators. He agreed to co-operate with prosecutors, and Daniel Nixon, Mr Liang’s lawyer, described him as only “one of […]
July 1, 2016

E&W's Doug Parker Offers Perspective on Volkswagen's $14.7B Emissions Cheating Settlement

3 Takeaways From VW’s $14.7B Emissions Cheating Deal By Juan Carlos Rodriguez Law360, New York (June 28, 2016, 8:31 PM ET) Volkswagen AG’s $14.7 billion deal to settle some claims stemming from its emissions cheating scandal is a landmark achievement for the federal government and will reverberate throughout the auto industry. But the pact announced Tuesday is just the first step in VW’s bid to put the matter in its rearview mirror, with some civil matters left unresolved and criminal charges potentially waiting in the wings. The Volkswagen deal is the latest — and by far the biggest — in a string of big­ticket settlements the federal government has obtained from automakers. (Credit: AP) Consumers and the public are the big winners, with a $10 billion buyback or fix program and $4.7 million in VW­funded environmental projects combining to form the largest automotive settlement in history. But the company could wind up paying even more, and the industry should be on notice that federal regulators will aggressively pursue claims against companies that similarly flout the law, said Pete Anderson, a principal at Beveridge & Diamond PC and head of the firm’s white collar and compliance team. “Even though it’s a massive settlement, Volkswagen is still far from being out of the legal woods,” Anderson said. Here are three takeaways from the VW settlements: Car Makers in the Crosshairs The VW deal is the latest — and by far the biggest — in a string of big­ ticket settlements the federal government has obtained from automakers. In September, General Motors Co. agreed to a $900 million deferred prosecution deal over faulty ignition switches; in November 2014, Hyundai Motor Co. and Kia Motors Corp. agreed to a $100 million Clean Air Act civil penalty — the largest ever under the act — to resolve claims that they sold more than 1 million vehicles that emit more greenhouse gases than had been certified to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; and in March 2014, Toyota Motor Corp. reached a $1.2 billion deferred prosecution agreement with the DOJ over claims it hid defects that caused vehicles to accelerate suddenly. Anderson, a former federal environmental prosecutor, said the scale of the VW misconduct has intensified regulators’ focus on the auto industry. “Despite budget constraints within EPA, the agency will react aggressively in throwing all of their enforcement spears if the underlying misconduct of the target is extreme. Corporations who underestimate the potential costs and liabilities of significant environmental violations will do so at their peril,” he said. Doug Parker, the recently retired head of the EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division, now at Earth & Water Group, said the government’s reaction to the VW scandal has been much like it was to the Deepwater Horizon explosion and disaster in 2010, which shifted a great deal of attention to offshore energy production. “The government essentially reorganized elements of the Department of the Interior and put additional resources focusing on offshore energy — there was a brief moratorium on drilling,” Parker said. “When you have a major incident with a major player, be it BP in the Gulf or VW in the automotive sector, the government’s really going to turn its attention to not just that company but that sector.” Criminal Charges May Loom Parker, who oversaw the ongoing criminal investigation of VW until his departure from the EPA, said the investigation is large and “very well resourced,” but added there are challenges. “I think it’s more complicated because of its international nature, in terms of navigating issues of sovereignty and jurisdiction with the Germans,” Parker said. “When you have a case like this that reaches beyond your borders, there are just a lot more moving parts.” And it’s not just the company that has to worry. This is the first major environmental case that’s unfolded after Deputy U.S. Attorney General Sally […]
April 13, 2016

Ex-EPA Criminal Enforcement Head Jumps To Private Sector

By Stan Parker Law360, New York (April 12, 2016, 4:14 PM ET) — The former director of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s criminal enforcement division will be joining several other former EPA officials at a new group that focuses on pairing strategic consulting with legal services for environmental law issues. Earth & Water Group LLC announced Monday […]