Earth & Water Law Group’s Chair and Founder, Brent Fewell, moderated an ABA panel this week in Washington DC to explore trends in federal environmental prosecutions. The panel included Deborah Harris, DOJ’s Environmental Crimes Division Chief, Professor David Uhlmann, Michigan School of Law, Mike Fisher, Legal Director of EPA’s Office of Criminal Enforcement, and Nadira Clarke, Litigation Partner, Baker Botts. The discussion focused around recent trends in criminal enforcement, summarized in Professor Uhlmann’s recent paper, titled Prosecutorial Discretion and Environmental Crime Redux: Charging Trends, Aggravating Factors, and Individual Data. Panelists explored areas of new enforcement priorities, including recent charges under the Clean Air Act’s General Duty Clause and Knowing Endangerment. Panelists also agreed on the four major aggravating factors used in the majority of cases (1) significant harm (2) deception or misleading conduct, (3) operating outside the regulatory system, and (4) repeat violations.
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