What are Environmental Crimes?
Environmental crimes are essentially any crime with the intention, either directly or indirectly, to harm the environment. In the United States, the Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Criminal Enforcement enforces environmental crimes. In the past, environmental crimes were not a hot topic and were not greatly enforced. Today environmental crimes carry stiff penalties including hefty fines and imprisonment.
Types of Environmental Crimes
Major environmental crimes include the illegal hunting of endangered species, the smuggling of Ozone depleting substances, illegal dumping of hazardous waste, illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing, and illegal logging.
Illegal hunting and illegal wildlife trade involves not only those animals that are still living, but also involves parts of animals that have been killed. You may face charges of illegal wildlife trade if you sell skins of endangered wildlife. Illegal hunting charges can be the result of the killing of an endangered species. In the United States, the killing of a bald eagle is a federal offense and is punishable by upwards to $250,000 and/or two years of imprisonment.
The smuggling of Ozone depleting substances is a federal crime. Ozone depleting substances include chlorofluorocarbons, or CFCs, and other substances. CFCS diminish Ozone and contribute to the hole in the Ozone layer. The Montreal Protocol banned the production of CFCs internationally in 1989.
The EPA enforces the dumping of hazardous waste and can result in hefty penalties for individuals as well as large corporations. In the United States, any facility that treats, stores or disposes of hazardous waste must have a permit. The EPA tracks and regulates hazardous waste in the United States.
Illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing is fishing that occurs on vessels in violation of the law, misreported or fishing on unreported vessels, and/or fishing on vessels without nationality or vessels fishing in areas not authorized by the specific country. Recently, pirates have become an area of concern in regards to IUU fishing.
Lastly, illegal logging refers to the sale or trade of timber resulting from law violations. These violations can include extracting the timber without permission, using unauthorized measures to access the forest, the cutting of protected species, and/or the cutting of timber in excess of the agreed limits.
South Carolina Criminal Lawyers
The South Carolina Criminal Lawyers at the Strom Law Firm, LLC represent individuals and corporations accused of crimes by the federal government. With the growing enforcement of environmental crimes, you need a lawyer who will defend you and your company. Being found guilty of environmental crimes can carry hefty fines and even imprisonment. Contacting the South Carolina Criminal Lawyers as soon as you or your business comes under investigation is crucial to defending your environmental crimes charge.