EPA Enforcement

August 30, 2018

DOJ/EPA pursue criminal charges involving environment and worker safety . . .

The recent indictments out of Nebraska related to the deaths of two workers and mishandling of hazardous waste demonstrates EPA’s and DOJ’s continued focus on the intersection of environmental protection and worker safety.  With substantially larger criminal penalties for certain environmental violations than available in worker safety statutes, the DOJ, EPA and OSHA will look to apply […]
August 27, 2018

EPA Announces New National Compliance Initiative

EPA’s Enforcement Chief, Susan Bodine, issued new guidance this week, announcing movement away from “enforcement” to “compliance” initiatives.   The initiative underscores the approach the agency is taking to lighten its civil enforcement footprint, encourage states and tribes to take the lead where they can, and promote compliance over enforcement as a matter of policy.   National Enforcement […]
July 27, 2018

Feds criminally charge water company for hazardous waste violations . . .

The recent multi-defendant indictment against companies in the water and waste industries is one more sign that the environmental cop remains on the beat.  Keep an eye on staffing levels in EPA’s criminal program to see if this type of critical enforcement work can continue at the level needed to keep the playing field level and the public […]
April 15, 2018

Feds file major action against NY town for drinking water violations, signaling shift in enforcement priorities.

In what is a clear shift in DOJ/EPA policy involving large enforcement cases under the nation’s Clean Water Act, the Trump Administration has turned its focus to the Safe Drinking Water Act and the risks to public health associated with health-based violations.  Historically, the federal government has focused largely on enforcing against cities discharging raw […]
March 24, 2018

DOJ Issues Environmental Enforcement Priorities

DOJ’s Environment and Natural Resources Division released its enforcement principles and priorities under Attorney General Sessions which align with much of Administrator Pruitt’s “Back to Basics” approach.  DOJ will continue to pursue civil and criminal prosecutions where the leading objective is to protect the public health and maintain the integrity of environmental programs. Cases in this category arise […]
March 14, 2018

How Pruitt Distinguishes Trump’s EPA

Practitioner Insights: How Pruitt Distinguishes Trump’s EPA Reposted from Bloomberg Environment, Daily Environment Reporter March 13, 2018 Author:  Doug Parker The EPA may be the agency that best exemplifies the drastic change from the Obama administration to the Trump administration. Administrator Scott Pruitt has focused on advocating for the growth of the fossil fuel sector […]
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 […]
January 19, 2018

Wastewater Operations – Representative Means Representative

An important reminder to all companies with environmental compliance obligations, including collecting and reporting sample results to a regulatory agency.   Most Clean Water Act wastewater permits include a provision that requires the permittee to collect and report data on “representative samples” to determine compliance with the permit effluent limits.   This applies to discharges that go […]
December 12, 2017

Former Volkswagen Manager Receives 7 Years Jail Time in Diesel Emissions Cheating Scandal

Last week’s sentencing of former VW manager Oliver Schmidt to seven years in prison sends a clear message to those engaged in misconduct in the automotive sector: DOJ, EPA, and the Federal Judiciary are taking a hard line on criminal conduct.  Expect continued scrutiny in the emissions space across entire auto sector. Eric Lawrence of the Detroit […]