Federal environmental enforcement is currently on the rise. United States Environmental Protection Agency ("USEPA") statistics indicate an increase in criminal prosecutions and the targeting of individual employees. It is the government's hope to encourage individuals to pay greater attention to environmental laws and regulations. The author contends that knowledge of USEPA's new environmental audit policy is the best protection against criminal prosecution for environmental violations. Under the new audit policy, a company can qualify for 100% punitive penalty reduction by discovering violations through a self-imposed environmental audit and expeditiously remedying those violations. Moreover, the USEPA interim policy implemented on June 23, 1995, promises full or partial penalty waivers to small businesses in exchange for correcting all violations. The author concludes by suggesting the need for environmental audit privileges, such as the work product privilege or the attorney-client privilege, to protect companies from having their own environmental audits used against them to initiate criminal charges.
Northern Illinois University Law Review
Meason, James E.
"Environmental Audits, Privileges from Disclosure, and Small Business Penalty Policies,"
Northern Illinois University Law Review: Vol. 18:
3, Article 3.
Available at: https://huskiecommons.lib.niu.edu/niulr/vol18/iss3/3
James E. Meason, Environmental Audits, Privileges from Disclosure, and Small Business Penalty Policies, 18 N. Ill. U. L. Rev. 497 (1998).