Environmental Civil and Criminal Enforcement and Defense

"Acts on matters across the full range of environmental law, including air and water compliance and enforcement issues."

Chambers USA 2020

Baker Botts understands what drives government enforcement and has the experience and legal acumen to represent clients in significant environmental and safety incidents worldwide.

With a bench of former government attorneys that understand what drives government enforcement, including the Acting Assistant Attorney General and Chief of Environmental Crimes of the Environment & Natural Resources Division of the Department of Justice, we bring sound commercial judgment and experience to our clients’ most challenging environmental enforcement matters.

Environmental and Worker Safety Civil Enforcement. We have a long track record of assisting clients with civil enforcement matters under air, water, waste, toxic substances and safety regulatory programs. Issues we help our clients navigate include:

  • Advising clients about the potential risks and benefits of self-disclosing violations under EPA’s Audit Policy and state audit statutes
  • Developing practices and procedures for managing in-person and virtual compliance inspections and helping clients respond to written requests for information
  • Assisting with allegations of non-compliance by EPA, OSHA, BSEE and state agencies through negotiations and alternative dispute resolution
  • Litigating claims of non-compliance by EPA, state agencies and defending citizens suits in federal and state courts and before administrative tribunals, such as EPA’s administrative law judges and Environmental Appeals Board

Environmental and Worker Safety Criminal Enforcement. We manage internal investigations prompted by inquiries by government agents and defend companies and corporate executives charged with criminal violations of the environmental and workplace safety law. Issues we help our clients navigate include:

  • Responding to agency information requests and grand jury subpoenas, including the collection and processing of unique industrial control data and information
  • Overseeing the execution of search warrants and managing follow-on investigations by criminal agents
  • Defending indictments at trial, including plea agreements, non-prosecution agreements and deferred prosecution agreements
  • Developing training programs for corporate boards, executives, and employees

Internal Investigations. We support our clients by collaborating on environmental or safety investigations and audits, including the use of all available privileges and protections to maintain confidentiality.

Compliance Monitors. In the wake of non-compliance, courts and agencies may appoint monitors to oversee a company’s compliance with certain probationary terms, plea agreements, consent decrees or suspension and debarment agreements. Our lawyers have been selected to serve as independent monitors in these situations.

Suspension & Debarment. Companies that criminally violate environmental and workplace safety laws risk suspension and debarment from federal government programs and contracts. Our lawyers routinely handle suspension and debarment matters before agencies with an eye towards minimizing negative impacts on their business operations.