Fort Lauderdale Federal Environmental Crime Lawyer
An illegal action that causes destruction to the environment is considered a federal environmental crime. The person or company responsible for making the decision or taking that action must either be negligent, willful, or know at the time that they were committing an illegal act, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Some examples of federal environmental crimes are:
- Dumping sewage into a waterway,
- Discharging coal ash into a waterway;
- Illegal or indiscriminate logging;
- Shark finning (catching sharks and cutting the fins off and then dumping the still-living animal back into the water);
- Discharging rock, sand, or soil into waterways in order to illegally create reservoirs for oil drilling water supplies;
- Illegal animal trafficking; and
- The killing of a bald eagle.
Most environmental crimes are punishable by large fines and/or prison time. The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act regulates the acts of dumping, disposing, or storing of hazardous materials, and those who knowingly violate the act are subject to up to $50,000 a day in fines and up to five years in prison, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. The Clean Water Act imposes a punishment of up to $25,000 per day and up to one year in prison for those who knowingly violate the federal law in this regard. And, the Clean Air Act imposes up to $50,000 a day and five years in prison for individuals, and up to $500,000 per day for corporations. The full list of federal pollution and wildlife environmental crimes and statutes, as reported by the Bureau of Justice, has 19 pollution acts that regulate everything from noise to water and air pollution, and four wildlife protection acts that protect migratory birds and endangered species, among others. Many environmental federal crimes are not only seen as threats to the environment, but also to other people. Someone who knowingly puts another person at risk by illegal dumping faces even more severe punishment. A person who violates the Conservation and Recovery Act and knowingly puts others at risk of contamination faces up to 15 years in prison. However, with the guidance of an experienced Fort Lauderdale federal environmental crime lawyer, the penalties that you are facing can be greatly reduced.
Wal-Mart Guilty of Federal Environmental Crimes
Individuals as well as large corporations often face hefty fines for illegal environmental activities. In 2013, the federal government found the retail store Wal-Mart guilty of storing and disposing of hazardous chemicals, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Wal-Mart violated the Clean Water Act by Violating the Federal Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) by improperly disposing and handling those returned pesticides from its customers. The company was ordered to pay $81.6 million from three criminal cases. A total of $110 million was also payed to resolve additional cases in which Wal-Mart had violated state and federal laws.
Because of the severity of punishment that you face, if you have been accused of breaking a federal environmental law, you need expert legal guidance immediately. Call Fort Lauderdale federal environmental crime lawyer Deric Zacca, P.A today at 954-450-4848.