In a January 19, 2022, speech to the U.S. Conference of Mayors, Michael S. Regan confirmed that “[f]or this EPA, environmental justice is not an add-on or an afterthought ― it is a central driving factor in all that we do.” Since his appointment as U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator, Regan has repeatedly stressed that environmental justice will be a priority for EPA under his leadership. A press release issued a week ago outlined new concrete steps EPA will take to make good on that commitment.
Continue Reading EPA Administrator Michael Regan Emphasizes the High Priority EPA Places on Environmental Justice Issues

The top U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) Environmental official has put corporate employees on notice that DOJ is increasing its focus on prosecuting individuals for environmental crimes, including the threat of jail time. In a pre-recorded keynote address to the American Bar Association (ABA) National Environmental Enforcement Conference on December 14, 2021, Assistant Attorney General for the Environment and Natural Resources Division (ENRD) Todd Kim stated, “Only individuals can go to jail, and we have found that criminal corporate accountability starts with accountability for individuals responsible for criminal conduct.”
Continue Reading DOJ Targeting Employees for Criminal Environmental Prosecution: Tips for Minimizing Exposure

Both communities and companies will no longer benefit from the use of Supplemental Environmental Projects (SEPs) in settlements of environmental enforcement actions, following the United States Department of Justice’s (DOJ) comprehensive policy review and prohibition of the practice in all settlements. Despite 30 years of productive use backing these mutually beneficial arrangements, which began during my time at the DOJ in the 1990s, the DOJ has officially called it quits for now – at least until the next administration has a chance to reconsider this decision. For those who have not been immersed in these environmental enforcement actions, SEPs allow settling parties to mitigate a portion of a civil penalty in exchange for performance of environmentally beneficial projects.
Continue Reading Everyone Loses with New DOJ Policy Ending 30-Year Practice of Supplemental Environmental Projects

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) is in the midst of a comprehensive policy review regarding the use of Supplemental Environmental Projects (SEPs) in settlements of environmental enforcement actions. This review could potentially have far-reaching implications for companies that seek to settle such actions brought by either the federal government, or in the case of a citizen suit, a non-governmental organization (NGO). It remains to be seen if the ongoing SEP policy review will result in additional limits on the use of SEPs in settlement, thus limiting the flexibility in achieving penalty mitigation that has been a hallmark of environmental enforcement case resolutions for nearly three decades.
Continue Reading DOJ Policy Review of SEPs May Have Big Implications for Company Environmental Settlements