How It All Starts

My first experience with environmental work was as a law clerk in 1986.  From that experience, I decided that I wanted to practice environmental law.  And what an experience opver the last 20 years.  Once I was licensed, a senior partner asked in I wanted to get involved in an “environmental” case . . . “One that may involve depositions in Norway” he says.  That case was one of the largest criminal prosecutions of 1987 and involved several environmental statutes, from the Clean Water Act, to the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, to the Marine Research Protection and Sanctuaries Act.

This blog will explore, on different levels, environmental crimes – how they are investigated, charged, tried and appealed.  We will explore what the criminal mens rea is and how it evolved.  We will explore the responsible corporate officer doctrine and the open fields doctrine.  We will discuss how to prepare for the environmental criminal inspection and the service of a search warrant.  And we will explore other avenues of what goes on in an environmental criminal investigation.

How does an environmental crimes investigation get started?  Often times it is instigated by a tip.  A tip that comes in from a disgruntled employee or a disgruntled ex-employee.  Sometimes the tips are based on unfounded facts, sometimes the tips are very real, sensitive areas – exposing the seedly underbelly of the companies environmental compliance (or lack of compliance) program.

And finally, a thought.  Did you know that orange juice pulp is a hazardous waste?

Well, this is my first attempt at blogging.  I hope the posts will get better with age and practice.

Any questions can be addressed to me at


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