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Criminal Law

Energy Transfer Equity, LP v. Greenpeace International

A district court dismissed a lawsuit alleging that protesters disrupted the construction of and damaged a crude oil pipeline, known as the Dakota Access pipeline, that runs from North Dakota to Illinois. The pipeline company argued that...

Illegal Water Use, Marijuana, and California’s Environment.

The illicit and illegal use of water to grow marijuana is an environmental problem that has plagued the recently legalized crop for decades. Because growing marijuana has consistently been a more visible crime than theft and diversion...

State v. Klapstein

A Minnesota appeals court upheld a lower court decision allowing protestors who face felony charges for shutting down a petroleum pipeline to assert the "necessity" defense. The protestors claimed their actions were necessary to prevent...

Prosecutorial Discretion and Environmental Crime

The environmental laws create a complex regulatory system affecting a wide range of economic activity in the United States. Given the wide range of potential environmental violations, it might have been preferable for Congress to...

"Touby" or Not "Touby": The Constitutional Question When Congress Authorizes State and Local Governments to Legislate the Contours of Federal Criminal Law

Congress allows state and local governments to legislate federal criminal law. Violating some local ordinances, for example, constitutes a federal felony under the CWA. The U.S. Supreme Court has not yet decided how to review this type...

United States v. CITGO Petroleum Corp.

A district court denied the U.S. government's motion to empanel a sentencing jury to determine an oil company's gross pecuniary gain stemming from CAA and Migratory Bird Treaty Act violations. After the company was convicted under both...

United States v. Agosto-Vega

A district court held that a research institute must turn over documents relating to its methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) study to one of the plaintiffs in a consolidated multi-district case against several gasoline companies for...

Evolution of Criminal Environmental Enforcement

Since federal and state governments first began prosecuting environmental crimes more than 25 years ago, the nature of the cases they have investigated and prosecuted has changed dramatically. In the early years of criminal enforcement...

United States v. Holden

The Sixth Circuit upheld individuals' conviction for impeding a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency investigation at a water treatment facility in Mount Pleasant, Tennessee. The district court did not abuse its discretion by excluding...

United States v. Warr

The Ninth Circuit affirmed an individual's 10-year sentence for starting nine wildland fires on National Forest Service land. The lower court did not err in calculating the advisory sentencing guidelines range when it included fire...

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