Criminal Prosecutions for Environmental, Safety and Health Violations: An Eventful Year Reviewed

    View Authors March 2017

    “Crime is crime” whether it occurs “on the street corner or in the boardroom … The rules have just changed.” With these words, Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates announced new guidelines related to white collar prosecutions, the first of two memos being watched closely by environmental, safety and health practitioners. In December 2015, Yates issued a second memo, an agreement between the US Department of Justice (DOJ) and the US Department of Labor (DOL) to increase criminal prosecutions of workplace safety violations. Although the impact of these changes remains uncertain, the message has been clarified following actions by DOJ and recent remarks given by Assistant Attorney General for the Environment and Natural Resources Division John C. Cruden.

    In the article, Rees Alexander concludes that although the results of the 2016 presidential election are expected to generate significant change within EPA, particularly in the area of federal rulemaking, the impact on its criminal prosecutions is less clear.