Criminal Enforcement of Environmental Laws - CLE, Continuing Legal Education - ALI
Criminal Enforcement of Environmental Laws
Register Now!

Shipped to you: | MP3 CD-ROM | DVD Video

Available Online: Online CLE | MP3 Audio Files | Coursebook

Why You Should Attend

This advanced one-day course provides the only comprehensive discussion of environmental crimes in the country.


Ever a hot topic, enforcement of environmental law is particularly compelling in these times, when recent Supreme Court decisions and Department of Justice and Environmental Protection Agency policy directives are affecting case selection, trials, and sentencing in environmental crimes cases.


The faculty, comprised of representatives from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Deepwater Horizon Task Force and Environmental Crimes Section at the U.S. Department of Justice, and private sectors, will engage registrants in an energetic dialogue about the effect recent legal developments will have on enforcement and public protection. But the course does more than just examine developments in enforcement policy and practice – our experts will analyze how cases are brought and offer insights on how lawyers, whether in firms or corporate legal departments, can best serve their clients at various stages of proceedings, from internal investigation to trial to post-trial.

Back to Top

What You Will Learn


This comprehensive one-day program helps lawyers better respond to environmental criminal investigations and prosecutions; communicate with their clients, including corporate officers and the board of directors; and negotiate and resolve matters with the government.


This year’s featured panels include:

Deepwater Horizon: Experienced prosecutors, defense counsel, and a crisis communications expert will examine the many lessons to be learned from the Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill.

Environmental Crimes Study: Distinguished law professor and former Chief of the Department of Justice Environmental Crimes Section, David Uhlmann, gives us a sneak peak at the initial results of the first comprehensive empirical study of criminal enforcement under U.S. pollution laws. What aggravating factors are present? What charges are brought most often? What are the enforcement trends?

Endangered Species and the Lacey Act: Intensified national and international enforcement on illegal trafficking of plants, animals, and wood has led to more violations of the Endangered Species Act and Lacey Act. Learn how the government is using its scarce resources and why.

Back to Top

Who Should Attend

This program is for lawyers whose clients are involved in real or potential exposure to criminal sanctions, and whose very businesses necessarily involve environmental issues, whether because they are manufacturers; because they hold or develop real estate; or because their businesses involve the use, transportation, or storage of material that can give rise to environmental liability.

Back to Top

Planning Chairs

Joseph G. Block, retired partner, Venable LLP, Washington, D.C.; former Chief, Environmental Crimes Section, U.S. Department of Justice

Judson W. Starr, Venable LLP, Washington, D.C.; former Chief, Environmental Crimes Section, U.S. Department of Justice


Cynthia Giles, Assistant Administrator, Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, D.C. 

Stacey Mitchell, Deputy General Counsel, Office of General Counsel, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, D.C.

Back to Top


Len Biegel, The Biegel Group, Washington, D.C.

Colin Black, Trial Attorney, Environmental Crimes Section, U.S. Department of Justice, Washington, D.C.

Brad D. Brian, Munger Tolles & Olson LLP, Los Angeles

David T. Buente, Jr., Sidley Austin LLP, Washington, D.C.; former Chief, Environmental Enforcement Section, U.S. Department of Justice

John D. Buretta, Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP, New York; former Director, Deepwater Horizon Task Force and Deputy Assistant Attorney General, Criminal Division, U.S. Department of Justice

Nadira Clarke, Beveridge & Diamond P.C., Washington, D.C.

Derek A. Cohen, Goodwin Procter LLP, New York; former Deputy Director, Deepwater Horizon Task Force and Deputy Chief, Fraud Section, Criminal Division, U.S. Department of Justice

Patrick J. Cotter, Barnes & Thornburg LLP, Chicago

Bob Deans, Director, Federal Communications, Natural Resources Defense Council, Washington, D.C.

Laura Fernandez, Acting Suspension and Debarment Official, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, D.C.

Deborah Harris, Chief, Environmental Crimes Section, Environment and Natural Resources Division, U.S. Department of Justice, Washington, D.C.

Thomas J. Kelly, Jr., McKenna Long & Aldridge LLP, Washington, D.C.

David S. Krakoff, BuckleySandler LLP, Washington, D.C.

Marc L. Mukasey, Bracewell & Giuliani LLP, New York

William Pericak, Director, Deepwater Horizon Task Force and Deputy Chief, Fraud Section, Criminal Division, U.S. Department of Justice, Washington, D.C.

Rocky Piaggione, Senior Trial Attorney, Environmental Crimes Section, U.S. Department of Justice, Washington, D.C.

Ronald A. Sarachan, Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP, Philadelphia; former Chief, Environmental Crimes Section, U.S. Department of Justice

Steven P. Solow, Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP, Washington, D.C.; former Chief, Environmental Crimes Section, U.S. Department of Justice

Richard Udell, Senior Trial Attorney, Environmental Crimes Section, U.S. Department of Justice, Washington, D.C.

David M. Uhlmann, Jeffrey F. Liss Professor from Practice and Director, Environmental Law and Policy Program, University of Michigan Law School, Ann Arbor; former Chief, Environmental Crimes Section, U.S. Department of Justice

Back to Top

Program Schedule

Thursday, June 5, 2014

7:45 a.m. Registration and Continental Breakfast

8:25 a.m. Welcome and Announcements – ALI CLE Staff


8:30 a.m. Introductory Remarks and Course Overview – Messrs. Block and Starr

8:45 a.m. Keynote Address: Criminal Enforcement in a Time of Less Overall EnforcementMs. Mitchell

9:15 a.m. Deepwater Horizon: The Resolution and Its ImplicationsMessrs. Brian, Buretta (moderator), Cohen, and Mukasey

What were the legal consequences of Attorney General Holder’s announcement, just a few weeks after the start of the spill, that there would be a criminal investigation into why the spill occurred and who was responsible?

How did the government go about conducting its investigation and prosecution in the whirlwind of an ongoing environmental catastrophe?

What are the special challenges of defending a company or an individual in the midst of an environmental tragedy that resulted in the loss of numerous lives?

Are manslaughter charges which were brought into this case to be expected in future environmental cases in which lives are lost?

10:45 a.m. Networking and Refreshment Break

11:00 a.m. Deepwater Horizon: A Look Backwards in Crisis Management - Messrs. Biegel (moderator), Deans, and Krakoff

The BP public response to the spill, with particular attention to the spokespersons, what they said, and the legal and reputational implications. Discussion will include a behind the scenes look at the spokespersons, who they were, and how they fared.

Lessons learned from BP, including an analysis of message development; the question of when and if to apologize  

Best practices for attorneys when working with communications professionals before, during, and after a crisis

12:30 p.m. Lunch Break (lunch provided by ALI CLE)

1:00 p.m. Keynote AddressMs. Giles (not webcast or recorded)

1:30 p.m. Networking Break


1:45 p.m. Lessons Learned: Trial of an Environmental Criminal Case - Mssrs. Black, Cotter, Pericak, Piaggione, and Solow (moderator)

Strategies for approaching, questioning, and cross-examining government fact and expert witnesses (trials in U.S. v. United Water Services, Inc.; U.S. v. Tonawanda Coke)  

Forfeiture issues in environmental crime cases and judicial consideration of fines under the Alternate Fines Act provisions of Title 18 (U.S. v. Sanford Ltd.)

Obstruction cases in the context of environmental criminal investigations (U.S. v. Mix)

Is entrapment by estoppel ever a viable defense?

3:00 p.m. Networking and Refreshment Break

3:15 p.m. Empirical Analysis of Environmental Crimes Cases (2005-2012)Professor Uhlmann, Ms. Harris and Mr. Buente

Is criminal enforcement reserved for violations with the following aggravating factors:

o    Significant environmental harm and public health effects
o    Deceptive or misleading conduct
o    Facilities operating outside the regulatory system
o    Repetitive violations

What statutes are charged most often in environmental crimes?

How often are corporations charged for environmental crime?

Are there geographical disparities in criminal enforcement?

How often are individuals sentenced to jail terms?

4:15 p.m. The Lacey Act and Other Trends and New DevelopmentsMss. Clarke and Fernandez and Messrs. Kelly, Sarachan (moderator), and Udell

Suspension and Debarment

Deferred and Non-Prosecution Agreements

Sentencing Issues

5:30 p.m. Adjournment

Total 60-minute hours of instruction: 7.75

Suggested Prerequisite: Limited experience in legal practice in subject matter or completion of Basic CLE Course in subject matter

Educational Objective: Acquisition of knowledge and skills to develop proficiency as a practitioner; maintenance of professional competence as a practitioner; provision of information on recent legal developments

Level of Instruction: Advanced

Click Here for MCLE Credit Information

Back to Top

Here's what registrants have said about this course:

“This course was very engaging in providing defense and prosecutorial perspectives and practices of criminal enforcement of environmental laws. The speakers did an excellent job with their presentations.”

“Moderators all did very good job of directing discussion and addressing questions.”

“An excellent and informative course!”

“Loved the format. Interesting and lively discussions and presentations.”

“Good course with knowledgeable speakers; good networking opportunity as well.”

“Appreciate that Block/Starr pursued additional information; asked follow up questions; generated further discussion. Great team!”

“Wonderful choice of presenters on the panels.”

“Definitely met the standard and far exceeded it, too.”

“This is one of the first courses I attended where both sides were presented and debated, which is extremely helpful. I also really liked the practical exercise regarding the internal investigation.”

“The panel moderators were excellent in guiding the panel discussions. The attorney presenters were top-notch in their respective fields/experience. As usual, an excellent CLE.”

Back to Top



Back to Top



Course Details

Real-Time Customer Service