EPA Criminal Enforcement: Protecting People and the Environment


[MUSIC] [MUSIC] Male TV anchor: “Millions of gallons of
brown crude are now coating birds and other wildlife and polluting the marshes.” Male TV anchor: “Investigating the death
of a 4-year-old Layton girl and right now, it looks like a pesticide seeping into her
home is the cause.” Female TV anchor: “According to the Environmental
Protection Agency it’s used in all 50 states and in order to use treated waste on land
one must meet strict federal criteria.” [MUSIC] JULIE: THE MISSION OF THE U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL
PROTECTION AGENCY IS TO PROTECT HUMAN HEALTH AND THE ENVIRONMENT.
JEFF: EPA’S ENFORCEMENT PROGRAM IS CRITICAL TO ENSURING COMPLIANCE WITH ENVIRONMENTAL
LAWS. Scott Adair/ EPA Special Agent: Pollution
often will impact people in ways that they can’t see or taste or smell and it’s our
job to make sure that the companies and the people that are in the community are playing
by the rules. JULIE: EPA’S CIVIL AND CRIMINAL ENFORCEMENT
PROGRAMS ARE TOOLS TO ENCOURAGE COMPLIANCE, TO PREVENT AND DETECT VIOLATIONS THAT DO OCCUR
AND IMPOSE CONSEQUENCES FOR BREAKING ENVIRONMENTAL LAWS. Scott Adair: What makes us unique with the
EPA and the fact that EPA has a criminal investigation division and sworn federal law enforcement
officers is that environmental crimes are often very difficult to prove and they’re
also very difficult to investigate. JEFF: MOST VIOLATIONS OF ENVIRONMENTAL LAWS
ARE CIVIL. THEY OCCUR BECAUSE A LAW OR RULE WAS BROKEN, EVEN IF THE PERSON OR COMPANY
THAT BROKE IT DID NOT INTEND TO. JULIE: BUT, WHEN THERE’S AN INTENTIONAL
VIOLATION OF THE LAW, THAT’S A POTENTIAL CRIME, WHICH MAY LEAD TO STEEP FINES AND PRISON. Andrea Abat/ EPA Special Agent: Having a criminal
component and using those highest levels of sentencing and jail time and those kinds of
things against these defendants, that’s how you really put a good deterrent message
out and only a criminal enforcement program can do that. JEFF: ENVIRONMENTAL CRIMES LIKE THE DELIBERATE
DUMPING OF HAZARDOUS WASTE, OR THE ILLEGAL HANDLING OF HAZARDOUS SUBSTANCES CAN CAUSE
DEATH AND SERIOUS ILLNESS, AND IMPACT THE ENVIRONMENT. [agents walking through grass] Andrea Abat: For us on a daily basis that
means conduct criminal investigations, that means poring through documents, that means
collecting samples from drums and from different places to be able to bring those people responsible
to justice. JULIE: EPA SPECIAL AGENTS TRAIN AND SERVE
AS FULL-FLEDGED LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS WITH CRIMINAL INVESTIGATIVE AUTHORITY, INCLUDING
THE AUTHORITY TO MAKE ARRESTS AND CARRY FIREARMS. Martin Schwartz/ EPA Special Agent: Our folks
have to be prepared to go from doing a complex fraud investigation in an office environment
and now go out and interact with individuals that may or may not be inclined to use force
against our agents. JEFF: EPA SPECIAL AGENTS ARE SUPPORTED BY
SPECIALLY-TRAINED FORENSIC SCIENTISTS, ENGINEERS AND ATTORNEYS FROM ACROSS THE AGENCY. ALONG
WITH OTHER LAW ENFORCEMENT PARTNERS, AT THE FEDERAL, STATE, TRIBAL, AND LOCAL LEVEL, WE
TACKLE THE MOST SERIOUS ENVIRONMENTAL CRIMES THAT IMPACT THE AMERICAN PUBLIC. Andrea: We’re helping you know get the most
egregious criminals off the street that are polluting our water and our air and the ground. Scot: At the end of the day it really is about
protecting human health and making sure that people are safe. JULIE: DESPITE ALL THE LAWS AND SAFEGUARDS
THAT ARE IN PLACE, SOMETIMES IT TAKES A TRAGEDY TO BRING ATTENTION TO AN ENVIRONMENTAL PROBLEM
AND CRIMINAL ENFORCEMENT TO GET JUSTICE FOR THE VICTIMS. JEFF: IN AUGUST 1996, THE OWNER OF FERTILIZER
COMPANY EVERGREEN RESOURCES TOLD HIS EMPLOYEES TO CLEAN OUT A 25-THOUSAND GALLON TANK, IGNORING
REQUESTS FOR SAFETY EQUIPMENT. A 20-YEAR-OLD MAN CLIMBED DOWN INTO THE TANK WEARING NOTHING
BUT JEANS AND A T-SHIRT. PARAMEDICS REMOVED SCOTT DOMINGUEZ FROM THE TANK AND RUSHED HIM
TO THE HOSPITAL, A VICTIM OF CYANIDE POISONING. Jackie Hamp/ Victim’s Mother: He just has
severe brain damage. It put holes all the way through his basal ganglia. His balance
and speech and all that is off. Scott Dominguez/ Victime: Cha, cha, …
Jackie Hamp: He wants everybody to know he has a daughter. JEFF: OWNER ALLAN ELIAS WAS SENTENCED TO 17-YEARS
IN PRISON FOR FALSIFYING A SAFETY PLAN AND COMMITING NUMEROUS HAZARDOUS WASTE VIOLATIONS
THAT RESULTED IN SCOTT’S PERMANENT, LIFE-CHANGING INJURIES. Jackie Hamp: I think it probably wouldn’t
have went too far without the Idaho State Police and the EPA coming in. [MUSIC] JULIE: IN FEBRUARY 2009, THE TOONES HAD THEIR
PROPERTY TREATED FOR RODENTS BY BUGMAN PEST AND LAWN. WHEN THE PROBLEM PERSISTED, BUGMAN
SENT THE SAME TECHNICIAN OUT TO THE HOME AGAIN.
Brenda Toone/ Victims’ Mother: It didn’t turn out the way that we were hoping because
instead of just simply treating the rodents, the poison seeped into our home and led to
the death of our two youngest children. JULIE: FOR VIOLATING THE INSTRUCTIONS ON THE
PESTICIDE SAFETY LABEL, TECHNICIAN COLEMAN NOCKS WAS SENTENCED TO THREE YEARS PROBATION.
THE COMPANY AND OWNER RAY WILSON, SR., WAS FINED $3000 AND PLACED ON A THREE YEAR PROBATION. Brenda Toone: Just a few months following
the deaths of our daughters the EPA made some changes in the rules that govern the application
of the toxin that killed our daughters. JULIE: EVERYDAY, AMERICA’S ENVIRONMENTAL
CRIME FIGHTERS WORK AROUND THE COUNTRY TO PREVENT TRAGEDIES SUCH AS THESE. CRIMINAL
ENFORCEMENT IS THE STRONGEST LEVERAGE EPA HAS TO MAKE SURE PEOPLE AND COMPANIES PLAY
BY THE RULES. JEFF: WITH A CONVICTION RATE OF ABOUT 90-PERCENT,
INDIVIDUALS AND CORPORATIONS SHOULD THINK TWICE BEFORE CUTTING CORNERS, PUTTING PEOPLE
AT RISK, AND COMMITTING ENVIRONMENTAL CRIMES. IF YOU SUSPECT AN ENVIRONMENTAL VIOLATION
IS HAPPENING IN YOUR COMMUNITY, SEND US YOUR LEADS AT EPA.GOV/TIPS. [MUSIC]

15 comments

  1. Virginia Abrams was suppose to investigate the crimes at the Devon site next to my house and I have great evidence and collected documents and witnesses and more and she refused to investigate due to corruption of the politic in Philadelphia. So now I don't have a home and I'm sick. EPA obstructed justice and colluded with many crimes. see website
    greenuptoxicphiladelphia for the tip of the iceberg. I have much more evidence.

  2. Do you know why your food has become so expensive? A: EPA.  Do you know why your heating bills are so high? : EPA.  Do you know why it costs so much to fill your gas tank anymore? A: EPA.  Do you want to be poor and hungry for the rest of your lives?  Then keep applauding this totalitarianism, after all, they're really looking out for your health and well being….NOT!!!!

  3. WHAT IS THE EPA DOING ABOUT THE CHEMTRAILING GOING ON RELEASING ALUMINUM/STRONTIUM/BARIUM & ALL THAT OTHER STUFF ?????

  4. EPA like criminal enforcement is need of the hour in every country. Good work in the US . Such things are really needed because otherwise people take environmental issues very lightly around the globe.

  5. IF YOUD STOP TAKING MONEY ( being lobbied ) FROM THESE CORPORATIONS maybe you'd be allowed to stop them , BUT INSTEAD YOU COME AFTER US THE CITISENS MONEY ! We've got your NUMBER !

  6. The world would be a better place without the EPA in it. They waste huge amounts of money on administration costs and they never fix or solve any issues, because if they actually solved anything, their job would be irrelevant.

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