ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE AND ENFORCEMENT
What is environmental justice?
The United States Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Michigan enforces federal laws to protect environmental quality and human health in all communities within the district. In coordination with components of the U.S. Department of Justice, this Office will hold violators accountable for their actions and seek effective remedies for environmental harms to the health of historically underserved, overburdened, and marginalized communities.
The Office has designated an Environmental Justice Coordinator to uphold the Department’s commitment to protecting communities from environmental hazards and to enforce environmental laws, including the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, and hazardous waste laws, as well as civil rights laws and other statutes that ensure equal justice under the law.
Examples of civil or criminal environmental misconduct that may impact these communities include:
- Illegal handling, transportation, and disposal of hazardous wastes and pesticides, or disparate monitoring and enforcement of laws relating to illegal dumping of these materials.
- Disregarding public health provisions in federal grants or contracts.
- Targeting low-income consumers with unsafe and ineffective products.
- Discriminatory handling of wastewater disposal and infectious disease programs by entities that receive federal funding.
- Emissions of pollutants resulting from inadequate or nonexistent pollution control at facilities in disadvantaged locations.
- Illegal asbestos removals that create health risks for workers and the public.
- Illegal discharges into waters or sewer systems that threaten public safety and cause damage to our water infrastructure.
- Oil spills or other incidents that compromise the fishing rights or practices of indigenous or disadvantaged communities.
- False statements to the EPA or other regulatory agencies that threaten the integrity of environmental protection programs.
How to file an environmental justice complaint?
You can file an environmental justice complaint with the United States Attorney’s Office by mail, phone, or email using the contact information below. The Office will carefully consider the information provided to determine whether a violation of the federal environmental laws, civil rights laws, or other statutes may have occurred. Further, the Office will determine whether it has enforcement authority with respect to such a violation and is able to open an investigation. If the Office determines that your complaint raises a potential violation of federal laws and the Office has power to investigate and/or that further information is necessary, the Office will contact you.
United States Attorney’s Office Western District of Michigan
Attn: Environmental Justice Coordinator
330 Ionia Avenue, N.W.
Grand Rapids, MI 49503
What is the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Michigan doing to address environmental justice concerns?
In May 2022, the U.S. Department of Justice announced a series of actions to enhance the Department’s efforts to secure environmental justice for all Americans, and to strengthen the Department’s commitment to ensuring equal justice under the law by advancing the cause of environmental justice. Specifically, the Justice Department launched its Comprehensive Environmental Justice Enforcement Strategy, which provides a roadmap for using federal civil and criminal enforcement authorities to advance environmental justice through the enforcement of federal laws, with a special emphasis on seeking remedies for environmental violations and contaminations in underserved communities, including low-income communities, communities of color, and Tribal and Indigenous communities.
The Environmental Justice Coordinator for the United States Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Michigan was designated to lead this effort and coordinate with others in the Department to address environmental violations and related potential civil rights violations in the District.
In addition to litigating cases, the Environmental Justice Coordinator will engage communities on environmental concerns.
Call to action
Deployment of the Justice Department’s Environmental Justice Enforcement Strategy relies on meaningful engagement and transparency with impacted communities regarding environmental justice issues, efforts, and results. The United States Attorney’s Office encourages the public to report suspected environmental justice violations within the district. Reports may be submitted to the Environmental Protection Agency, or to the United States Attorney’s Office, by mail, phone, or email by using the contact information provided on this page.
In addition to the U.S. Attorney’s Office Environmental Justice and Enforcement Initiative, the following websites for related federal agencies provide other helpful online resources and information:
Reporting Potential Violations
If the violation concerns air quality, climate change, health, water, chemicals and toxins (including lead paint), or land, waste, and cleanup, contact the Environmental Protection Agency at https://echo.epa.gov/report-environmental-violations.
If the violation concerns an oil or chemical spill, contact the National Response Center at 1-800-424-88022.
If the violation concerns a marine environment, contact the Coast Guard at https://www.p3tips.com/tipform.aspx?ID=878.
If the violation concerns pesticides harming wildlife, contact the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at (734) 995-0387, www.fws.gov/wildlife-crime-tips, or 1-800-344-9453.
If the violation concerns the destruction of wetlands, contact your local district branch of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Office at 1-800-832-7828.
If the violation concerns workplace conditions, such as chemicals or noxious fumes contact, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) at 1-800-321-6742.
If the violation concerns housing conditions, contact the Department of Housing & Urban Development – Office of Inspector General (HUD-OIG) at 1-800-347-3735.
If the violation concerns transportation of hazardous materials or a pipeline, contact the Department of Transportation – Office of Inspector General (DOT-OIG) at 1-800-424-9071 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
If the violation concerns medications, cosmetics, biological products, and other products for human consumption, contact the FDA at 1-888-463-6332.
If the violation concerns discriminatory environmental and health impacts caused by recipients of federal funds, contact our office at email@example.com or 616-808-2039, or DOJ Civil Rights at 1-888-TITLE-06 (1-888-848-5306).
If the violation involves public corruption, contact the Federal Bureau of Investigation at https://tips.fbi.gov/.