On Demand

Civil & Criminal Environmental Enforcement


Created on April 25, 2017




Environmental enforcement takes many forms and involves many different players. This course, taught by Sidley Austin partner David Buente and associate Benjamin Tannen, will introduce the concept of "cooperative federalism" inherent in most federal environmental laws - which means that federal, state, and local agencies all can be involved in environmental enforcement. The program will provide an overview of the enforcement process, from the role that various agencies play to the methods these enforcers use to gather compliance information in anticipation of enforcement. It will then provide an in-depth look at administrative, civil, and criminal enforcement, illuminating the differences between these types of enforcement through the use of a Clean Water Act hypothetical.

The program also looks at enforcement by private parties, a unique method of enforcement available under many federal environmental statutes known as the citizen suit. Additionally, it will address hot topics in environmental enforcement, such as the 2015 Yates memorandum on prosecution of individual corporate employees.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Provide an overview of environmental enforcement, including the relevant agencies, statutes, and types of relief available

  2. Understand the differences between administrative, civil, and criminal environmental enforcement

  3. Convey the role that environmental non-governmental organizations (NGOs) play in environmental enforcement through citizen suits  

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