Environmental laws frequently contain criminal enforcement provisions to complement provisions for civil fines or other remedies. Violations of environmental laws are as likely to arise from a failure to meet reporting obligations as from the failure to actually meet operational environmental standards. Corporations, as well as individual corporate executives, face stiff punishments - including incarceration - if convicted of environmental crimes.
Haynes and Boone has a wealth of experience representing companies and their executives and employees in federal and state criminal enforcement actions, as well as before administrative agencies and in civil litigation. Often, government agents have spent months, and sometimes years, investigating a matter before the subjects of the investigation become aware they are under suspicion – typically through a Grand Jury subpoena or a search warrant. We have extensive experience in assessing corporate and individual leniency issues; negotiating with federal and state environmental authorities; and designing and implementing environmental litigation defense strategy. In addition, we are frequently retained to conduct complex internal investigations of alleged wrongdoing, and we regularly assist clients in developing and implementing regulatory compliance programs.
When defending companies or individuals accused of environmental violations, we can harness the experience of our Environmental Practice Group with the regulatory and enforcement experience of our Government Investigations and Litigation Practice Group to obtain the best possible outcome for our clients in existing enforcement proceedings or to design compliance programs to minimize the risk of future environmental issues.
All new or replaced onshore U.S. pipelines must be outfitted with automatic shut-off valves, under a new rule issued by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (“PHMSA”) on March 31. The final rule, which applies to pipelines six inches or more in diameter, is aimed at reducing environmental damage and methane emissions from pipeline ruptures. [...]