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Frequently Asked Questions

I need a lawyer. Can the Environment and Natural Resources Division represent me?

The Department of Justice is part of the Executive Branch of the Government and is charged with representing the United States, its agencies and personnel of the Executive Branch in legal matters. The Department is prevented by law from offering legal advice to private citizens. However, your local chapter of the Bar Association or Legal Aid Society may be able to assist you in locating a lawyer. Many bar associations can also provide references for free legal assistance.

Someone has been polluting in my neighborhood. Who can investigate this for me?

You have many choices. The most efficient route is generally to contact the Environmental Protection Agency office for your region which may be able to investigate directly. ENRD does not typically investigate alleged violations of federal environmental laws until a federal agency, like the Environmental Protection Agency, refers a matter to it.

If you suspect that a violation of a pollution-control law is occurring and presents an emergency situation, you may contact the Environmental Enforcement Section (one of the sections within ENRD). You may also wish to contact your local fire or health department.

If you have direct evidence of criminal activity, you should contact your local United States Attorneys Office, or the Environmental Crimes Section of ENRD.

I suspect that a federal wildlife or marine law has been broken. What should I do?

If you suspect that a violation of a wildlife law is occurring, you should contact the Fish and Wildlife Service office for your region. The National Marine Fisheries Service office for your region should be contacted regarding marine violations. You may also wish to contact your State Attorney General or your State fish and game department.

My neighbor has been filling wetlands, and I think he's breaking the law. Who should I contact?

If you suspect that a wetlands violation has occurred, you should contact the United States Army Corps of Engineers district for your region and the Environmental Protection Agency office for your region.

I think a state law has been violated. What should I do?

You may wish to contact your State Attorney General's office in this situation.

Updated June 22, 2023