White Collar Chair Levine and Environmental Principal Gross Examine Government Environmental Investigations and Enforcement for Business Crimes Bulletin
In the lead article for the July 2015 issue of Business Crimes Bulletin, Internal Investigations & White Collar Defense Chair Ronald H. Levine, and Environmental Principal Michael C. Gross, review recent environmental prosecutions and offer best practice tips for responding to civil investigations and avoiding criminal prosecution.
In the article, "Keeping Government Environmental Investigations Civil," the authors note:
"The threat of criminal environmental prosecutions is real. Most federal and state environmental statutes provide for criminal prosecution in appropriate circumstances, often for knowing violations of environmental law, but sometimes even on a negligence or strict liability basis."
"Given the ambiguity of determining at what point a seemingly oneoff or accidental violation of environmental law might be viewed by regulatory agencies and prosecutors through the prism of criminal activity, the regulated entity must seek to put its best foot forward at the earliest stages of a civil environmental investigation."
The authors go on to offer best practices for civil environmental investigations:
"Civil investigations should be approached strategically by clients and counsel to maximize the probability that an environmental investigation is cabined to the civil realm."