On Demand Audio

Pipeline Accidents: Civil & Criminal Government Enforcement

(218 reviews)

Produced on November 15, 2018

Taught by
$ 59 Criminal, Litigation, and Oil, Gas, & Energy In Stock
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Course Information

Time 1h 2m
Difficulty Intermediate
Topics covered in this course: Criminal Litigation Oil, Gas, & Energy

Course Description

A pipeline spill can subject a company to both civil and criminal liability under a variety of laws. Importantly, federal regulators have the power not only to assess substantial fines following a discharge, but also to impose costly future operating requirements in the form of injunctive relief. In this course, Steptoe & Johnson partner Bill Hassler addresses the scope of potential liability under a variety of federal and state statutes, discusses historical examples of how regulators have used their authority to assess penalties following spills, and discusses strategies for responding to post-spill investigations and enforcement proceedings.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Address the elements of liability under the principal statutes that govern pipeline spills, including the Clean Water Act and Pipeline Safety Act
  2. Recognize the factors that in practice most impact whether regulators will treat a discharge as a criminal rather than civil or administrative enforcement action
  3. Identify the legal risks associated with post-spill responses to regulators’ requests for information
  4. Consider the principal factors considered by enforcement agencies in determining the size of any fine assessed following a spill or discharge
  5. Address the potential scope and components of injunctive relief sought by EPA and DOJ in cases involving petroleum pipeline discharges

Credit Information

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William Hassler

Steptoe & Johnson, LLP

Bill Hassler’s practice encompasses a broad range of civil and criminal cases.

Bill litigates a variety of civil disputes involving environmental matters, including enforcement issues relating to pipeline spills. His experience includes the trial of CERCLA liability issues, as well as defense of civil environmental enforcement actions, criminal environmental enforcement matters, and criminal and civil claims relating to alleged corporate misconduct, including the defense of Tyco’s former general counsel. 

Bill also represents companies and individuals subject to criminal investigation. He has handled cases involving complex environmental matters, charges of healthcare fraud, other corporate misconduct, the regulation of medical devices, and the representation of witnesses subject to investigation by Congressional committees. During his tenure at the Office of Independent Counsel at the Department of Justice, Bill served as a prosecutor investigating the Iran/Contra affair.


Richard C.

Excellent program. I knew very little about this area of the law, and this has been a wonderful overview concerning these important issues, that will probably be even more important in the future. Thank you for a well thought out ... and presented ... program.

William T.

Narrow subject but well presented

Andrew A.

Very Informative and Well Organized Presentation.

Richard W.

Excellent Program

Jay V.

A lot of good examples.

Elizabeth S.

very knowledgeable faculty.

Meg B.

Good content

Mary P.

Extremely clear presentation of complex matter.

Diane H.

Nice job!

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