Sidley has extensive experience defending organizations and individuals in civil and criminal enforcement actions under federal and state environmental laws, and in conducting internal investigations. Our lawyers have handled all aspects of civil and criminal environmental matters, including:
- Assisting clients during agency and grand jury investigations
- Conducting internal investigations
- Conducting litigation risk assessments
- Negotiating consent decrees and other settlement agreements
- Negotiating plea agreements
- Defending enforcement actions in federal and state court
- Handling appellate matters through the U.S. Supreme Court
- Defending collateral administrative proceedings, including government contract suspension/debarment proceedings
- Handling enforcement issues that arise during settlement implementation
- Defending collateral lawsuits brought by private parties
Our team is led by lawyers with substantial experience at the U.S. Department of Justice directing and handling civil and criminal environmental enforcement matters brought by the federal government on behalf of U.S. EPA and other agencies. These include lawyers who served as Deputy Assistant Attorney General, Chief of the Environmental Enforcement Section and Chief of the Appellate Section for the Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division. We call upon the experienced lawyers in our White Collar group to respond to environmental criminal matters, including complex internal corporate investigations. We also have an extensive network of experienced criminal defense counsel in other firms to provide individual representation and/or serve as corporate local counsel.
Our lawyers have been handling environmental litigation matters for almost three decades. Our experience is not limited to one statute, but spans all of the major federal environmental laws, including the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, CERCLA, EPCRA, FIFRA, RCRA and TSCA, as well as many state laws, including California “Prop 65.” Our experience cuts across the economy, as our clients include electric utilities, auto and truck manufacturers, engine manufacturers, chemical producers, oil and gas refiners, oil and gas pipelines, manufacturers of wood products and agriculture, and numerous national trade associations. Finally, our experience is not limited to any one federal or state environmental agency, as we have assisted clients in a wide variety of circumstances from federal criminal prosecutions to state administrative proceedings. Finally, we have handled many matters at both the trial and appellate levels from state and federal trial courts to the United States Supreme Court, including many trials of complex civil and criminal cases.
Our work has also included assisting clients in the design and implementation of compliance assurance systems, experience that has been invaluable as the U.S. Department of Justice increasingly seeks to impose management system and auditing requirements in criminal plea agreements and associated civil consent decrees and administrative agreements to address potential government contract suspension and debarment. This combination of substantive environmental experience and extensive enforcement experience allows us to provide unmatched comprehensive and effective advice and defenses.