“Criminal Enforcement Alert, EPA Targets Clean Water Act Crimes – Illegal Pollution by Animal Confinement Operations Punished by Fines and Incarceration”… that is the title of the July bulletin from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
What is the intent of this alert? According to the EPA, “The intent of this EPA Criminal Enforcement Alert is to increase public awareness of the consequences of knowing or negligent CWA (Clean Water Act) violations by animal confinement operations.”
The EPA points out in this bulletin that criminal enforcement is reserved for the most serious violations of environmental law. I think it’s safe to say that most of those in the environmental compliance community support going after the bad actors – in any industry. The “devil in the details” of this, of course, is differentiating bad actors from overzealous enforcement.
With this said, make sure you understand where the potential pollutants on your farm are located and manage this risk proactively. And if you are the target of EPA enforcement, make sure you are well represented by trusted legal and environmental counsel – both should be knowledgeable and skilled in addressing such matters.