In the 1970s, Congress passed a series of laws designed to protect the nation’s water, land, and air from uncontrolled pollution. The resulting environmental regulation was also accompanied by criminal provisions, which were included to discourage companies from using illegal shortcuts to evade government controls. Unfortunately, many companies are accused of mishandling dangerous substances even though they failed to comply with these rules, not because of a desire to break the law, but because they were unaware of the nuances of the regulations. These types of crimes are investigated and prosecuted aggressively, so if you are accused of violating an environmental regulation related to the elimination and treatment of toxic or polluting substances.
Violating environmental regulations is illegal under different statutes. However, most of these types of offenses require proof of:
- A pollution event, such as the illegal discharge of a pollutant into the water, dumping waste on land, or the emission of pollutants from the air;
- A criminal attempt, requiring evidence that the defendant knowingly and willfully acted where his conduct was not simply the result of an accident or error.
This last element is usually the most important in this type of research. Prosecutors will do their best to unearth any evidence of company communications, records, and even official statements made by company officials.
Examples of mismanagement of toxic substances
Due to the diversity of environmental protection regulations there are a number of different crimes with which a person can be charged. However, most include the following allegations:
- Illegally diluting and selling contaminated oil;
- Treat improperly and do not dispose of contaminated used oil;
- Inappropriate use of pesticides;
- Illegally removing and disposing of building materials containing asbestos or other toxic substances;
- Failure to provide employees working around toxic substances with proper protective equipment;
- Discharge pollutants to storm drains and waterways;
- Operating certain types of furnaces that emit dangerous gases without permission;
- Failure to install the necessary equipment to reduce the probability of emissions of gases and harmful substances;
- Illegally store and dispose of pollutants and hazardous waste;
- Hide violations from EPA inspectors;
- Illegally fill and drain wetlands;
- Clandestinely discharge wastewater;
- Failure to maintain the necessary records of collection, transfer, storage and disposal of hazardous materials.
These types of charges must be taken seriously as the sentence can lead to long prison terms, fines and injunctions; all of which can quickly drive a company out of business.
Call today to discuss your allegations with an experienced white collar crime attorney.
If you have been accused of violating environmental regulations, you may face prison terms and heavy fines. To get started on your defense, contact Jeffrey S. Weiner, PA, Criminal Defense Attorneys today at (305) 670-9919 . A member of our legal team will help you schedule a free consultation as soon as possible.