Environmental protection has evolved from a simple moral obligation to a complex web of federal and state laws that carry severe penalties for non-compliance.
These laws are incredibly stringent in Arizona, the land of breathtaking landscapes and unique biodiversity. The growing public awareness about the impact of industrial activities on our environment has fueled this focus on compliance with environmental regulations.
❗According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), in 2022 alone, there were over 200 convictions for environmental crimes across the United States, with penalties totaling millions of dollars in fines and many years in prison.
This statistic highlights the significance of understanding both state and federal environmental laws.
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Overview of Environmental Laws
Environmental laws encompass various regulations to safeguard our air, water, land, and biodiversity from harmful human activities. Violations of these laws, broadly termed environmental crimes, occur when individuals or corporations fail to comply with these regulations.
In Arizona, environmental laws are laid down under various Arizona Revised Statutes (ARS). ARS Title 49, for instance, deals with environmental protection laws and covers areas such as air quality, water quality, solid waste, hazardous waste, and more. Violations of these statutes can lead to significant penalties, including fines, imprisonment, or both.
Being confronted with charges related to environmental crimes is a serious matter, and having a skilled and experienced defense attorney by your side can profoundly impact the outcome of your case. With Josh Kolsrud representing you, you can be confident that you will receive the essential advice and support to navigate the intricacies of your charges.
Schedule a free consultation today to discuss your case and discover how we can offer the assistance and backing you deserve.
What are the Different Types of Environmental Violations?
Environmental violations are not limited to large-scale industrial pollution. They can range from illegal dumping of hazardous waste to failure to obtain necessary permits for certain operations.
Some common types of environmental violations include:
- Illegal discharge of pollutants into water bodies or air, violating the Clean Water Act and Clean Air Act, respectively.
- Unauthorized treatment or disposal of hazardous waste violates the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act.
- Non-compliance with emission standards and reporting requirements.
- Failure to obtain necessary environmental permits.
- Emitting smoke beyond permissible levels
- Mishandling, improperly storing, or disposing of dangerous waste
- Unintentional or intentional release of toxic or hazardous materials
- Meddling with sources of potable water
- Surpassing authorized boundaries for pollution
- Accidental or intentional oil leakage
- Non-compliance with asbestos regulations
- Illicit importation of controlled or regulated chemical substances
Under different circumstances, these violations can be prosecuted under federal, state, local laws, or sometimes even a combination of these.
The Federal Laws Governing the Environment
The Clean Water Act
The CWA regulates the discharge of pollutants into U.S. waters. A violation occurs when an entity discharges pollutants from a point source into a water body without or violating a permit.
The Clean Air Act
The CAA regulates air emissions from stationary and mobile sources. It sets National Ambient Air Quality Standards for pollutants harmful to public health and the environment.
The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act
The RCRA gives the EPA the authority to control hazardous waste from "cradle-to-grave." This includes generating, transporting, treating, storing, and disposing of hazardous waste.
Arizona Environmental Laws
Arizona has a comprehensive set of environmental laws, primarily codified under ARS Title 49. These laws complement federal laws and provide additional protection to the state's unique environment.
For example, the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality enforces the Aquifer Protection Permit program under ARS 49-241, which helps to prevent contamination of the state's aquifers, a critical water supply source.
It's essential to understand that violating these state-level environmental laws can result in penalties as severe as those resulting from violations of federal laws.
Is an Environmental Charge Serious?
Absolutely. An environmental charge is a serious matter with potential repercussions that go beyond hefty fines. Violators can face prison time, loss of business licenses, remediation costs, and a tarnished reputation. Furthermore, these charges can be levied not just against corporations but also against individuals who may have been able to prevent the violation.
Moreover, the courts have shown a growing willingness to hold corporate officers personally liable for environmental violations committed by their companies. This trend underscores the seriousness of environmental charges and the importance of strict compliance with environmental laws.
How Can The Kolsrud Office Help?
You might wonder, "What if I or my company faces an environmental charge? How can a federal criminal defense attorney help?" This is where the Kolsrud Law Office steps in.
Josh Kolsrud brings an expansive background and expertise in defending against environmental crime charges. With over 14 years of experience as a state, international, and federal prosecutor, he has successfully argued many cases to verdict.
As federal criminal defense attorneys at the Kolsrud Law Office, we specialize in navigating complex environmental laws.
We understand the science behind these laws, the regulatory landscape, and the potential defenses that can be raised.
Our attorneys can help by:
- Advising on best practices to ensure compliance with environmental regulations, thus helping to prevent potential violations.
- Representing clients during investigations and enforcement actions by federal and state environmental agencies.
- Negotiating settlements to reduce penalties, where possible.
- Defending clients in court against environmental charges, using a deep understanding of environmental laws' technical and legal nuances.
Facing an Environmental Charge? The Kolsrud Law Office is Here to Help.
Environmental crimes are serious offenses with severe consequences. The complexity of federal and state environmental laws necessitates expert legal guidance. Whether you're a corporation seeking to ensure compliance with these laws, or an individual facing an environmental charge, the experienced federal criminal defense attorneys at the Kolsrud Law Office are here to help.
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An award-winning criminal defense attorney Since 2006
Why Choose Josh Kolsrud
With over 100 trials to his name, and years of experience as a state and federal prosecutor, Josh understands the law, the legal process, and your rights. Josh is also committed to representing every client with utmost integrity and dedication
Josh has prosecuted major crimes on the state and federal level, led a successful anti-human sex trafficking operation that saved lives, and argued before countless juries and justices for his clients
Josh is an expert in both Arizona and federal criminal law, and is ready to put that expertise to work for you.
As a prosecutor, Josh saw far too many defendants lose their livelihood due to poor representation. Josh will always give every client his complete attention and effort