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Steven Solow Comments on Justice Memo's Impact on Environmental Projects

Firm News | June 7, 2017

Environmental and Workplace Safety practice co-head and partner, Steve Solow was quoted in a Bloomberg BNA Daily Environment Report on the potential impact that the June 7 Justice Department policy memo could have on supplemental environmental projects (SEPs) in civil settlements, and similar agreements as part of plea agreements in criminal cases. For many years, companies resolving civil and environmental claims have agreed to fund a wide variety of environmentally beneficial projects or payments to benefit the local community where the alleged violation occurred. Under DOJ's new policy, almost all such payments may be prohibited, and instead any payments would be paid as fines directly to the United States Treasury. Steve stated, "The very reason why SEPs came into being was that if someone violated their permit and put too many pollutants into a river, it was basically impossible to quantify the exact harm. Instead, the thought was that as long as it relates to that kind of harm, then that was acceptable." Under the new policy, such payments may be prohibited. ("Justice Memo Leaves Environmental Settlement Projects In Peril," June 7, 2017)

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