FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
THURSDAY, MARCH 20, 2003
TDD (202) 514-1888
THE JUSTICE DEPARTMENT, EPA AND STATE ATTORNEYS GENERAL
RELEASE GUIDELINES FOR JOINT ENVIRONMENTAL ENFORCEMENT
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Department of Justice's Environment and Natural Resources Division (ENRD), in cooperation with the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance (OECA), today announced the release of their "Guidelines for Joint State/Federal Civil Environmental Enforcement Litigation," intended to assist states and the federal government in the conduct of joint civil environment enforcement litigation. The Guidelines were unveiled today during the NAAG annual conference being held in Washington, D.C.
The Guidelines were developed over the course of the last year by a work group of trial attorneys from the Justice Department, Environmental Protection Agency, NAAG and several State Attorneys General offices. It is the hope of the parties involved that the Guidelines become a useful and valuable tool in future joint enforcement efforts.
Additionally, these guidelines advance the Justice Department's priorities, announced earlier this month by Attorney General Ashcroft, for promoting cooperation in environmental enforcement cases and cracking down on polluters. The Department's Enforcement Division secured more than $7.9 billion toward cleanup and compliance in FY 2001 and 2002.
"Our attorneys have engaged in joint environmental civil litigation over the last several years with nearly every state in the Union," said Assistant Attorney General for the Department's Environment and Natural Resource Division Tom Sansonetti. "These cooperative and collaborative efforts have achieved extraordinary results in environmental protection, and have demonstrated the importance and value of the federal and state governments working together toward the shared goal of a cleaner and safer environment for all citizens."
"Cooperation in civil environmental enforcement brings together the keen legal minds and the collective experiences of seasoned environmental lawyers in a shared effort to enforce our environmental laws," noted Drew Edmondson, NAAG President and Attorney General of Oklahoma. "This type of cooperation can result in more effective and comprehensive settlement agreements with violators."
The Guidelines will be distributed to attorneys within the Justice Department's Environment and Natural Resources Division, to all United States Attorneys, EPA Headquarters and Regional offices, and to the offices of the States Attorneys General.