Fort Lauderdale Environmental Crime and HAZMAT Violations Attorney
Environmental crimes include the illegal use of pesticides, dumping waste materials in waterways, and illegally shipping hazardous materials. Hazardous materials and items (HAZMAT) are chemicals and substances that are classified as dangerous to humans and the environment, and special precautions must be taken when handling or disposing these materials. Congress’ 1990 Hazardous Materials Transportation Uniform Safety Act helps outline state, local, and federal hazardous materials shipping processes, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. For all dangerous or hazardous materials, companies and individuals must abide by the strict guidelines maintained by the federal and local government. When those guidelines are not met and precautions are not taken, either by negligent or a willful, intentful actions, serious environmental charges will be brought upon that party. Abandoned buildings and lots, railways, roadside pull offs, and other areas that have few watchful eyes or security are common places that hazardous materials and other waste is illegally disposed of. By doing so, these locations and their surrounding area become polluted, and can cause serious repercussions for those that live nearby and the wildlife in the area as well. Inevitably, those toxic waste chemicals will end up in a waterway, which can render an entire town’s drinking source a waste. As such, the punishments for such criminal actions are harsh. While a company or individual may initially believe they only face minor fines for such offenses, these cases can turn into criminal charges. These illegal actions can be charged in state or federal court, and prison time is possible in addition to incredibly large fines, depending on what the charges are filed. Environmental crime and HAZMAT violations include the following:
- Illegal dumping of waste materials;
- Illegal shipping of hazardous materials;
- Illegal fishing;
- Illegal logging;
- Causing an oil spill or other chemical spill; and
- Wildlife trafficking.
Call Fort Lauderdale Environmental Crime and HAZMAT Violations Attorney Deric Zacca at 954-450-4848 today for a consultation in Fort Lauderdale.
Examples of Large Environmental Criminal Case in Recent Years
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is responsible for investigating environmental and HAZMAT crimes, while the U.S. Department is responsible for prosecution, on a federal level. According to the EPA, Tonawanda Coke Corporation violated the Clean Air Act and Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. The corporation had been releasing coke oven gas contaminated with benzene, a deadly gas, into the air. The valve that the gas was released through was unreported and Mark Kamholz, the corporation’s environmental control manager, told another employee to hide the information about the valve. The company was also operating with a device called a baffle, which mitigated the air pollution of the coke-quenching tower, another violation. Because of these infractions, Tonawanda Coke Corporation was found guilty on 14 total counts of environmental violations and was ordered to pay $12.5 million in penalties and $12.2 million in community service payments. Additionally, Mark Kamholz was sentenced to one year in prison, a $20,000 fine, and 100 hours of community service, getting off relatively easy compared to the damages he was partially responsible for.
Fort Lauderdale Environmental Crime and HAZMAT Crime Defense Attorney
If you have been charged with violating an environmental law, whether you did so with intent or not, the penalties that await you could be devastating to you and your family. It is time to contact an experienced Fort Lauderdale Environmental Crime and HAZMAT Violations Attorney today. Call Deric Zacca, P.A. at 954-450-4848 to discuss your options.