On Demand

Pipeline Accidents: Civil & Criminal Government Enforcement

1h 2m

Created on November 15, 2018




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

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