News and Press Releases

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

THURSDAY - January 28, 2010

EASTERN DISTRICT OF NORTH CAROLINA

ENVIRONMENTAL CRIMES INITIATIVE

RALEIGH - The Honorable Ignacia S. Moreno, Assistant Attorney General for the Environment and Natural Resources Division, Department of Justice; the Honorable George E.B. Holding, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina; Stacey H. Mitchell, Chief of the Environmental Crimes Section for the Environment and Natural Resources Division; and Banumathi Rangarajan, Assistant United States Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina, along with representatives of 16 different federal and state law enforcement agencies, met in Raleigh, North Carolina, today to commence work on a district-wide environmental crimes initiative. The goal of this working group is to improve cooperation and coordination among law enforcement agencies at the federal, state, and local levels working environmental crimes, thereby enhancing the effectiveness of the criminal justice system.

Assistant Attorney General Moreno, who was confirmed to the position by the United States Senate on November 5, 2009, and has over 19 years in the field of environmental and natural resources law, addressed the group lending her support and demonstrating the commitment of the Department of Justice to act to protect our natural treasures.

"This task force will allow federal, state and local law enforcement in North Carolina to achieve even greater protection of the treasured environment of North Carolina through the joint investigation and prosecution of environmental crimes," said Ignacia S. Moreno, Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division. "I commend the U.S. Attorney’s Office for spearheading this effort and we at the Justice Department look forward to working with the task force on future environmental crime prosecutions."

Reflecting upon the diverse and vast natural resources of Eastern North Carolina, United States Attorney Holding commented, “We are fortunate in our District to have an abundance of valuable natural resources including the national seashore and several state parks. The prosecution of environmental crimes affecting these natural resources insures the health and welfare of our State's citizens.”

For the past 12 years, the Eastern District of North Carolina and its law enforcement partners have prosecuted violations of the Clean Water Act, the Rivers and Harbors Act, the Clean Air Act, and the Act to Prevent Pollution for Ships as well as violations of the various federal wildlife laws. Mr. Holding continued, “It is our hope that by bringing those law enforcement partners together -- to share resources and expertise -- that we can continue to protect both the citizens and natural resources of North Carolina.”

“The formation of the EDNC Task Force is a textbook example of how EPA works with its federal, state and local law enforcement partners to protect the public and the environment," said Maureen O' Mara, Special Agent-in-Charge of EPA's criminal enforcement program in Atlanta. "It sends a clear message to potential violators that environmental crimes in this district will be investigated and prosecuted."

News releases are available on the U. S. Attorney’s web page at www.usdoj.gov/usao/nce within 48 hours of release.

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