Environmental Law Violations
Environmental crime refers to the violation of laws intended to protect the environment and human health. These laws govern air and water quality and dictate the ways in which the disposal of waste and hazardous materials can legally take place. Individuals or corporations can be found guilty of a white collar crime when violations of environmental law are committed. To learn more about the many facets of environmental law, please contact an experienced attorney in your area today.
Types of Environmental Crime
Environmental crime covers a wide range of violations that result in harm befalling the environment and human life, from errors at the administrative or record keeping level to the actual illegal dumping of pollutants into the environment.
Environmental crimes may include but are not limited to:
- Improper waste disposal
- Oil spills
- Destruction of wetlands
- Dumping into oceans, streams, lakes, or rivers
- Groundwater contamination
- Improperly handling pesticides or other toxic chemicals
- Burning garbage
- Improperly removing and disposing of asbestos
- Falsifying lab data pertaining to environmental regulations
- Smuggling certain chemicals, such as CFC refrigerants, into the U.S.
- Bribing government officials
- Committing fraud related to environmental crime
Punishment of Environmental Law Violators
Environmental law violators are usually hit with criminal fines, probation, jail time, or a combination of these punishments. While jail time may be the most formidable punishment for individuals who commit environmental crimes, fines are intended to deter large corporations from violating environmental laws and regulations. Without the threat of heavy monetary punishment, some corporations might find that noncompliance is more cost-effective than obeying the law. Environmental crime fines are meant to offset the financial allure of activities such as illegal dumping.
Enforcement is often carried out by joint task forces, which are composed of representatives from federal, state, and local organizations. At the federal level, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has enforcement authority over environmental law violations. Please contact an experienced environmental attorney in your area for additional information.