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Environmental Criminal Enforcement

2017 Environmental Law & Policy Program Conference

Please join the Environmental Law & Policy Program for its 2017 conference on environmental criminal enforcement. The conference will begin on Thursday, March 30, at 4:15 PM with a keynote session commemorating the 30-year history of the Environmental Crimes Section at the Justice Department. This panel discussion will feature the eight prosecutors who have served as Chief of the Environmental Crimes Section: Jud Starr (1987-1989), Jerry Block (1989-1991), Neil Cartusciello (1991-1994), Ron Sarachan (1994-1997), Steve Solow (1997-2000), David Uhlmann (2000-2007), Stacey Mitchell (2007-2014), and Deborah Harris (2014-present). Their discussion will provide an overview of criminal enforcement under the environmental laws from the Exxon Valdez, Colonial Pipeline, and Koch Petroleum to the Gulf oil spill, Volkswagen, and Lumber Liquidators, along with hundreds of other cases prosecuted over the last 30 years.

The conference will continue on Friday, March 31. We will begin the morning with a panel discussion about the role of criminal enforcement in environmental and worker safety disasters, with a focus on the Gulf oil spill and the Upper Big Branch mine disaster. Environmental prosecutors often focus on cases where the harm is greatest but those cases also raise questions about whether criminal prosecution is appropriate for industrial accidents. Our second panel of the morning will focus on fraud and concealment, with a focus on the recent prosecution of Volkswagen and the use of Title 18 charges generally. During lunch we will feature breakout discussions in two recurring areas of environmental criminal enforcement: pipeline safety issues (with an emphasis on the 2010 Enbridge oil spill in the Kalamazoo River) and international smuggling cases (with a focus on the 2016 prosecution of Lumber Liquidators for importing illegally seized hardwoods from Asia). These smaller breakout sessions will give conference participants a greater opportunity to join the discussions. Our conference will conclude with a panel discussion about the criminal prosecution of state and local officials for the Flint drinking water crisis. We will explore the extent to which residents of Flint, Michigan were betrayed by their state and municipal governments–as well as the difficult question of under what circumstances government officials should face criminal charges. Our moderators are University of Michigan law professors who are joined by panelists that include academics, prosecutors, and defense attorneys from throughout the United States who are leading experts on environmental crime. Our conference participants include Michigan faculty and students, as well as Ann Arbor residents and interested citizens from throughout Michigan.
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When and Where

Map South Hall - 1225

March 2017

4:15pm - 6:00pm
8:30am - 4:00pm

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