EPA’s Environmental Crimes Case Bulletin (Bulletin) summarizes recent efforts of EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division (CID). EPA recently released a Bulletin summarizing sentencings, verdicts, plea agreements, and new charges in August-September 2019.
Dismantling a Bridge without Permits Leads to CID Investigation
One case involved a man sentenced to two years in prison for “stealing the Monon Bridge, located in Hammond, Indiana, and transporting the stolen metal parts across state lines to sell them for his personal benefit.” Press reports on the matter indicate CID initiated the investigation because the bridge dismantling effort lacked the required permits. Further investigation indicated the defendant did not even own the bridge. Federal prosecutors chose to charge him for transporting stolen materials across state line for sale; they did not charge him for any environmental crime.
Explosions and the “General Duty” Clause
Several cases involved sentencings or convictions related to explosions or releases from facilities that caused death or serious injury. In one explosion case, a corporate officer was convicted of three felony counts, including for violating Section 112(r) Clean Air Act. This provision, known as the “general duty” clause, requires operators to “design and maintain a safe facility” and “minimize the consequences of accidental releases which do occur.”