Environmental Crimes

Numerous state and federal laws are intended to protect environmental interests. Violations of these laws often carry steep penalties.

In addition to possible imprisonment, a person accused of certain environmental crimes can also be ordered to pay the costs associated with any resulting cleanup. Any person or company that believes it may be under investigation for an alleged environmental crime should immediately retain legal counsel.

Lawyer for Environmental Crimes Defense in San Francisco

Do you think that you or your company could be under investigation or were you already arrested for an environmental offense in Northern California? Exercising your right to remain silent until you are able to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney is important. Call [[$firm]] for more information about environmental crimes.

Our criminal defense attorneys in San Francisco defend clients in communities all over the San Francisco Bay Area, Valley, and Coast. You can have our lawyers provide a complete evaluation of your case as soon as you call [[$phone]] to receive a free, confidential consultation.

Overview of Environmental Crimes in California

  •       What are some of the most common environmental offenses prosecuted by the federal government?
  •       How are violations of state environmental laws prosecuted?
  •       Where can I find more information about environmental crimes in San Francisco?

Federal Environmental Crimes in San Francisco County

The United States Environmental Protection Agency Criminal Investigation Division (EPA CID) Special Agents are fully authorized law enforcement officers empowered to enforce our nation’s environmental laws as well as any other federal law. The EPA states that an environmental crime is generally “a negligent, knowing or willful violation of federal environmental law.”

According to the EPA, some of the most common environmental crimes include, but are not limited to:

  •       Illegal disposal of hazardous waste;
  •       Export of hazardous waste without the permission of the receiving country;
  •       Illegal discharge of pollutants to a water of the United States;
  •       The removal and disposal of regulated asbestos-containing materials in a manner inconsistent with the law and regulations;
  •       Illegal importation of certain restricted or regulated chemicals into the United States;
  •       Tampering with a drinking water supply;
  •       Mail fraud/Wire fraud;
  •       Conspiracy; and
  •       Money laundering relating to environmental criminal activities.

The EPA also states that typical scenarios involve violations of the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, or Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA).

State Environmental Crimes in California

The Environmental Circuit Prosecutor Project (ECPP), a cooperative project of the California Environmental Protection Agency (CalEPA) and the California District Attorneys Association (CDAA), was established under California Penal Code § 14309(a). The purposes of the ECPP under California Penal Code § 14309(b) include:

  •       Discouraging the commission of violations of environmental laws by demonstrating the effective response of the criminal justice system to these violations, including, but not limited to, assisting district attorneys, particularly in rural counties, in the prosecution of criminal violations of environmental laws and regulations, where a district attorney has requested assistance;
  •       Establishing model environmental crime prevention, enforcement, and prosecution techniques with statewide application for fair, uniform, and efficient implementation;
  •       Increasing the awareness and effectiveness of efforts to enforce environmental laws and to better integrate environmental prosecution into California’s established criminal justice system by providing on the job education and training to local peace officers and prosecutors and local and state environmental regulators; and
  •       Promoting, through uniform and effective prosecution and local assistance, the effective enforcement of environmental laws and regulations.

California Penal Code § 14309(d) also states that a district attorney may request the assistance of a circuit prosecutor from the ECPP for any of the following purposes:

  •       Assistance with the investigation and development of environmental cases;
  •       Consultation concerning whether an environmental case merits filing; or
  •       Litigation support, including, but not limited to, the actual prosecution of the case. A district attorney shall, as appropriate, deputize a circuit prosecutor to prosecute cases within his or her jurisdiction.

As CalEPA notes on its website, the ECPP was established “to fill a gap in the enforcement of water, air, and other environmental laws in rural counties in California.” The program provides environmental prosecutors to counties that lack the expertise and resources to prosecute environmental crimes.

The Attorney General of California is the legal representative of numerous state agencies that have environmental and public health responsibilities, including those under the umbrella of the CalEPA and the California Resources Agency. The Attorney General brings civil enforcement actions on behalf client agencies and prosecutes civil and criminal violations of environmental laws.

Environmental Crimes Resources in California

San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board — The mission of the California State Water Resources Control Board is to “preserve, enhance, and restore the quality of California’s water resources and drinking water for the protection of the environment, public health, and all beneficial uses, and to ensure proper water resource allocation and efficient use, for the benefit of present and future generations.” California is divided into nine regional water boards, and Region 2 covers the San Francisco Bay area. Use this website to find public notices, review board decisions, and learn more about environmental programs.

San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board

1515 Clay St.

Suite 1400

Oakland, CA 94612

(510) 622-2300

Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) — The BAAQMD aims to create a healthy breathing environment for every Bay Area resident while protecting and improving public health, air quality, and the global climate. Visit this website to learn more about rules, compliance, and permits. You can also find research, data, and air quality plans.

Bay Area Air Quality Management District

375 Beale Street

Suite 600

San Francisco, CA 94105

(415) 749-4900

Find an Environmental Crimes Defense Attorney in San Francisco, CA

If you were arrested or believe that you or your business could be under investigation for any environmental offense in Northern California, it would be in your best interest to quickly seek legal representation. [[$firm]] represents individuals and companies in locations throughout the San Francisco Bay Area, Valley, and Coast..

Our San Francisco criminal defense lawyers can protect your rights and negotiate the most favorable possible resolution to your case. Call [[$phone]] or fill out an online contact form to have our attorneys review your case and discuss all of your legal options during a free initial consultation.