Over the last few decades, state and federal law enforcement have put increasing resources into investigating and prosecuting environmental crime. These offenses can carry substantial incarceration and financial penalties, so if you have been charged, it is important to have an experienced legal representative who knows environmental criminal law in Pennsylvania.
If you are facing environmental crimes charges in the Pennsylvania area, call Brian Manchester, an experienced environmental crimes defense attorney in Pennsylvania. Call today. It is important to start working on your defense right away.
Environmental Crime in Pennsylvania: Air Pollution in Pennsylvania
Although most environmental law enforcement is handled at the federal level, state law provides a number of statutes that are used to prosecute alleged polluters. These cover everything from toxic waste dumping to air pollution. The major laws covering environmental crimes in this state are the Air Pollution Control Act, the Solid Waste Management Act and the Hazardous Sites Cleanup Act. The Air Pollution Control Act follows in the footsteps of the federal Clean Air Act, covering the same hazardous air pollutants. In Pennsylvania, air quality regulations are developed and enforced by the Bureau of Air Quality in the state Department of Environmental Protection. The bureau tracks air pollution, issues permits, monitors compliance and enforces civil penalties. Under the act, it is illegal to fail to comply with any bureau regulations; to cause an air pollution incident that results in air pollution, water pollution or soil pollution; to cause a public nuisance; to interfere with the Department of Environmental Protection; or to give false information in required disclosure documents.
Environmental Crime in Pennsylvania: Toxic Dumping in Pennsylvania
The Solid Waste Management Act, meanwhile, outlaws the dumping of any solid waste onto the ground or into the water; the creation of a waste facility without a permit; the burning of solid waste without a permit; the storage, collection, transport, processing, treatment, use or disposal of solid waste in violation of state regulations; the transport of hazardous waste without a license; the transport of solid waste to a treatment, processing or disposal facility that does not have a permit; the hindering of agents of the Department of Environmental Protection; the consignment, sale, entrusting or transfer or hazardous waste that is then illegally dumped, stored, treated, processed or disposed of; or the violation of any other regulations created by the act.
Environmental Crime in Pennsylvania: Groundwater Pollution in Pennsylvania
The third major piece of environmental legislation in Pennsylvania, the Hazardous Sites Cleanup Act, makes it a crime to cause or allow the release of a hazardous substance; cause or allow the release of a polluting chemical in a manner that creates a public nuisance; hinder agents of the Department of Environmental Protection; diverge from the approved manner of responding to an chemical spill or release; fail to make timely payment of required fees; hinder municipalities in their collection of relevant fees; or violate any other provision of the act.
Environmental Crime in Pennsylvania: Penalties in Pennsylvania
A wide range of penalties apply to violations of these laws. Punishment for violations of the Air Pollution Control Act range from a $100 fine to a maximum of 40 years in prison, depending on whether the defendant knew she was violating the law and whether she has a prior record of environmental offenses. Penalties for toxic waste dumping range from $100 to 20 years, depending on the severity of the offense and the defendant’s prior record. Violations of the Hazardous Sites Cleanup Act, meanwhile, carry penalties ranging from $100 to one year in jail.
If you or a loved one are in the Pennsylvania area and have been charged with environmental crimes, call Brian Manchester, an experienced environmental crimes defense lawyer in Pennsylvania. He can help you build the defense you need today.