WELCOME TO THE SIXTH ENVIRONMENTAL CONFERENCE presented by Michigan Law’s Environmental Law and Policy Program, co-sponsored by the Environmental Law Society and the Michigan Journal of Environmental and Administrative Law. Our focus is environmental criminal enforcement, a field that can be traced to remarks by Attorney General Benjamin Civiletti when he served as the Michigan Law Senior Day speaker in May 1980. During his remarks, Attorney General Civiletti announced that “I intend to increase the pace of both civil and criminal enforcement” of the environmental laws that were enacted during the 1970s.
In 1982, just two years after Attorney General Civiletti spoke at the law school, the Justice Department formed a five-attorney environmental crimes unit in its pollution control section. Five years later, in 1987, the Justice Department created the environmental crimes section with 13 attorneys. Today, there are more than 40 prosecutors in the environmental crimes section, and environmental crime is now the largest category of corporate criminal prosecution.
We are delighted to commemorate the 30-year history of the environmental crimes section by hosting for our keynote session a panel discussion with the chiefs of the environmental crimes section from 1987-2017. Their discussion will provide an overview of criminal enforcement under the environmental laws–from the Exxon Valdez, Colonial Pipeline, and Koch Petroleum to the Gulf oil spill, Volkswagen, and Lumber Liquidators–and discuss how the field has evolved over the last three decades.
We will begin on Friday morning with a panel discussion about the role of criminal enforcement in environmental and worker safety disasters, with a focus on the Gulf oil spill and the Upper Big Branch mine tragedy. Environmental prosecutors often prioritize cases where the harm is greatest but those cases raise questions about whether criminal prosecution is appropriate for industrial accidents. Our second panel of the morning will focus on fraud and concealment, using the recent prosecution of Volkswagen as a case study about the use of Title 18 charges.
During lunch we will have a presentation on prosecutorial discretion and environmental crime, featuring the latest findings of the Environmental Crimes Project, which includes data compiled and analyzed by 200 Michigan Law students regarding criminal cases prosecuted from 2005-14. After lunch we will feature breakout discussions in two special areas of environmental criminal enforcement: pipeline safety and international violations.
Our conference will conclude with a panel discussion about the criminal prosecution of state and local officials for the Flint drinking water crisis. We will explore the extent to which residents of Flint, Michigan were betrayed by their state and municipal governments–as well as the difficult question of when government officials should face criminal charges.
Thank you for joining us and helping to make our conference–and the first decade of Michigan Law’s Environmental Law and Policy Program–such a success. In these difficult times for environmental protection efforts in the United States, we are especially grateful for your support.
David M. Uhlmann
Jeffrey F. Liss Professor from Practice
Director, Environmental Law and Policy Program
THURSDAY, MARCH 30
McDowell Room, South Hall 1225
4:15 P.M. Welcoming Remarks and Introduction
David Uhlmann, Jeffrey F. Liss Professor from Practice; Director, Environmental Law and Policy Program, University of Michigan Law School
- Judson Starr (1987-1989), Retired Chair, Environmental Practice Group, Venable LLP
- Joseph Block (1989-1991), Retired Partner, Venable LLP
- Neil Cartusciello (1991-1994), Principal, Cartusciello & Kozachek LLC
- Ronald Sarachan, ’81 (1994-1997), Co-chair, White Collar Defense and Corporate Investigations Team, Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP
- Steven Solow (1997-2000), Co-head of Environmental and Workplace Safety Practice and White Collar, Investigations, and Compliance Practice, Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP
- David Uhlmann (2000-2007), Jeffrey F. Liss Professor from Practice; Director, Environmental Law and Policy Program, University of Michigan Law School
- Stacey Mitchell (2007-2014), Former Deputy General Counsel, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
- Deborah Harris (2014-present), Chief of Environmental Crimes Section, U.S. Department of Justice
5:45 P.M. Reception
Jeffries Lounge, South Hall Room 1220
FRIDAY, MARCH 31
McDowell Room, South Hall Room 1225, unless otherwise noted.
8:30 A.M. Outside of South Hall 1225
- Nina Mendelson, Joseph L. Sax Collegiate Professor of Law, University of Michigan Law School
- Shaun Clarke, Partner, Smyser Kaplan & Veselka LLP
- Susan Mandiberg, Lewis & Clark Distinguished Professor of Law, Lewis & Clark Law School
- Judson Starr, Retired Chair, Environmental Practice Group, Venable LLP
- William Taylor III, Founding Partner, Zuckerman Spaeder LLP
10:45 A.M. – 12:15 P.M.
- Daniel Hurley, ’91, Assistant United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan, U.S. Department of Justice, Lecturer, University of Michigan Law School
- Warren Hamel, Partner and Chair, Investigations and White Collar Defense Practic Group, Venable LLP
- Deborah Harris, Chief of the Environmental Crimes Section, U.S. Department of Justice
- Jeremy Peterson, Associate, Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP
- Rena Steinzor, Edward M. Robertson Professor of Law, University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law
- David Uhlmann, Jeffrey F. Liss Professor from Practice; Director, Environmental Law and Policy Program, University of Michigan Law School
- Seth Buchsbaum, ’16, Supervisor, University of Michigan Law School Environmental Crimes Project
- Caitlin Dean, 2L, Supervisor, University of Michigan Law School Environmental Crimes Project
- Emily Van Dam, 1L, Supervisor, University of Michigan Law School Environmental Crimes Project
- Joseph Block, Retired Partner, Venable LLP
- Neil Cartusciello, Principal, Cartusciello & Kozachek LLC
- Nancy Wang, ’00, Clinical Assistant Professor of Law, Environmental Law Clinic, University of Michigan Law School
- Eileen Sobeck, Former Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Former Director, National Marine Fisheries Service
- David Gehl, Eurasia Program Coordinator, Forest Campaigns, Environmental Investigation Agency
- Patrick Hanes, Partner, Williams Mullen
SESSION 2: To Criminalize or Not to Criminalize: Pipeline Accidents and Enforcement Choices
- Neil Kagan, Adjunct Clinical Assistant Professor of Law, Environmental Law Clinic, University of Michigan Law School
- Stacey Geis, Managing Attorney, Earthjustice
- William Hassler, Partner, Steptoe & Johnson LLP
- Steven Solow, Partner and Co-Head, Environmental and Workplace Safety Practice, Co-Head, White Collar, Investigations and Compliance Practice, Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP
- Michael Steinberg, Legal Director, ACLU of Michigan, Public Interest/Public Service Faculty Fellow, University of Michigan Law School
- Peter Anderson, Principal, Beveridge & Diamond PC
- Peter Henning, Professor of Law, Wayne State University
- Paul Novak, Managing Attorney, Weitz & Luxenberg PC
- Allen Overton, Pastor, Second Missionary Baptist Church
- Ronald Sarachan, ’81, Co-chair, White Collare Defense and Corporate Investigations Team, Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP
David Uhlmann, Jeffrey F. Liss Professor from Practice; Director, Environmental Law and Policy Program, University of Michigan Law School
Peter Anderson is a principal of Beveridge & Diamond PC. He uses his experience as a former federal prosecutor to defend corporations and individuals against government investigations and prosecutions, primarily involving environmental and regulatory crimes. In addition to defense services, he provides corporate compliance counseling. He helps lead the firm’s white collar and environmental crimes practice group.
Joseph Block retired from Venable LLP in May 2012, but has continued to serve on the Trade and Environment Policy Advisory Committee, advising the U.S. Trade Representative, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the Department of Interior as its chairperson until December 2016. In addition, he is a member of the Shakespeare Theater Mock Trial Committee, which organizes the very successful, semi-annual Mock Trial event at the Shakespeare Theater, which includes Supreme Court Justices and top flight advocates. He continues to be a senior member of the Edward Bennett Williams Inn of Court. He is a former chief of the environmental crimes section at the U.S. Department of Justice (1989-1991).
Neil Cartusciello is cofounder of Cartusciello & Kozachek LLC. He handles complex business litigation, corporate investigations and compliance, regulatory enforcement defense (especially involving securities and environmental regulations) and white collar criminal defense. His experience extends more than 30 years and includes roles as a former assistant U.S. attorney, former first deputy chief of the Criminal Division of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, and former chief of the environmental crimes section of the U.S. Department of Justice (1991-1994). During his years of private practice, he has represented corporate and individual clients in securities, environmental, antitrust and other complex litigation matters.
Shaun Clarke is a partner at Smyser Kaplan & Veselka LLP. He has successfully tried cases in areas ranging from corporate taxation to civil rights, and from personal injury to complex criminal frauds. He is admitted to the Bars of Texas and Louisiana and regularly speaks before their members on issues related to white collar and environmental crime and corporate investigations. He honed his trial skills as a San Francisco deputy city attorney and later as an assistant U.S. attorney in New Orleans. He also clerked for Judge D. Lowell Jensen on the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. In 1996, he entered private practice.
David Gehl is with Environmental Investigation Agency, where he is responsible for developing and implementing strategies to halt illegal logging and associated trade in the Eurasia region (China, Japan, Russia, and Romania) and collaborating with civil society partners to document illegal logging and forest conversion. His work includes conducting analyses of forest, land and agricultural policy and designing policy reform strategies with civil society organizations in the region to address these issues. Since joining Environmental Investigation Agency in 2011, he has coordinated investigative work around the world on illegal logging and HFCs, gathering, analyzing, and processing evidence and drafting and presenting policy recommendations.
Stacey Geis is the managing attorney of Earthjustice’s California regional office. She joined Earthjustice in 2014 after having spent more than 10 years prosecuting environmental crimes at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in San Francisco. While there, she criminally prosecuted pollution, fisheries, and wildlife cases. Before that, she was the senior prosecutor for the California Circuit Prosecutor Project and prosecuted more than 100 criminal and civil environmental enforcement cases around the state.
Warren Hamel is the chair of Venable LLP’s investigations and white collar defense practice group. He represents clients in white collar criminal defense and environmental criminal defense and civil enforcement matters, conducting internal investigations, general civil litigation, and commercial and contract disputes. From 1990-2002, he served as an assistant U.S. attorney in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Maryland, and from 1997-2001, was chief of its environmental crimes and enforcement unit. He was responsible for investigation and prosecution of a broad variety of criminal cases and litigation of civil enforcement and defense cases during his tenure.
Patrick Hanes is a partner of Williams Mullen. He focuses his practice on handling all manner of disputes that arise from business competition and regulation. He is a member of the Litigation Section and serves as co-chair of the white collar and investigations team. His practice has included a broad base of civil and criminal litigation at both the trial and appellate levels. In addition, he has substantial experience conducting investigations both in the U.S. and overseas. He has represented businesses and individuals in government and corporate investigations in matters involving securities and banking regulation, antitrust, conspiracy, wire fraud, tax disputes, environmental laws and the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
Deborah Harris is the chief of the U.S. Department of Justice’s environmental crimes section (2014-present). She coordinates national legislative, policy, and training efforts in the criminal enforcement program. She co-chairs the Department’s Environmental Crimes Policy Committee, which is comprised of senior attorneys from the environmental crimes section, experienced assistant U.S. attorneys, and representatives of federal investigative agencies. She previously served as a trial attorney, senior trial attorney, and assistant chief in that office. Prior to joining the environmental crimes section, she was a staff attorney for the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia.
William Hassler is a partner in Steptoe & Johnson LLP, where his practice has encompassed a broad range of criminal and civil cases. Prior to joining the firm, he served as a prosecutor for the Office of Independent Counsel investigating the Iran/Contra affair, and in the cnvironmental crimes section of the U.S. Department of Justice. He is a former special assistant to the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Peter Henning joined the Wayne State University faculty in 1994 as an associate professor and became a professor of law in 2002. He teaches courses in corporations, white collar crime, professional responsibility and the legal profession, criminal law, criminal procedure, criminal pretrial advocacy and securities litigation. He taught previously at the high school and university undergraduate levels. In 2013, he was a Fulbright Scholar teaching at the University of Zagreb in Croatia. Prior to becoming a law professor, he was a prosecutor in the criminal division of the U.S. Department of Justice.
Daniel Hurley, ’91, is a lecturer at Michigan Law and an assistant U.S. attorney in Detroit. He joined that office in 1992 after clerking for a federal court of appeals judge. He has an extensive litigation background, having handled civil, criminal, and appellate matters. He has prosecuted numerous civil rights cases, including cases involving police brutality and hate crimes. In 2008, he won a national award for his prosecution of a conspiracy to drive an African American family from their neighborhood by burning down their house.
Neil Kagan is an adjunct clinical assistant professor in the Environmental Law Clinic at Michigan. He is senior counsel for the National Wildlife Federation (NWF), working to protect water quality nationally and in the Great Lakes. Before joining NWF, he practiced environmental and land-use law in Oregon, both as a solo practitioner and as a staff attorney and lobbyist for 1000 Friends of Oregon, a land-use watchdog group. He has served as the sole or lead attorney in many public interest environmental cases seeking protection of forests, wetlands, rivers, lakes, and other natural resources.
Susan Mandiberg is the Lewis & Clark Distinguished Professor of Law at Lewis & Clark Law School. Before joining the Lewis & Clark Law School faculty, she was an associate with a Portland law firm as well as a trial and appellate attorney with the public defenders’ offices for Multnomah County and the federal courts. She is coauthor of a treatise on the subject of environmental crimes and has written a number of articles on the same topic. She has taught law in Spanish both as a Fulbright professor of law in Venezuela and as a guest lecturer at the University of the Basque Country in San Sebastian (Donostia), Spain. She also recently taught and lectured at national law schools in India.
Nina Mendelson is the Joseph L. Sax Collegiate Professor of Law at Michigan. She teaches and conducts research in the areas of administrative law, environmental law, statutory interpretation, and the legislative process. She is a senior fellow of the Administrative Conference of the United States. She currently serves as one of three U.S. special legal advisers to the NAFTA Commission on Environmental Cooperation and is a member scholar at the Center for Progressive Reform. Prior to joining the Michigan Law faculty in 1999, she served for several years as an attorney with the U.S. Department of Justice’s environment and natural resources division. She also participated extensively in federal legislative negotiations. She has worked for the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works and also practiced law with Heller, Ehrman, White & McAuliffe of Seattle.
Stacey Mitchell is currently taking a sabbatical before joining a law firm in mid-April. From March 2014 until the end of the Obama Administration, Ms. Mitchell served as Deputy General Counsel at the Environmental Protection Agency and was involved in significant legal and policy issues confronting the Agency in the areas of water, wastes and toxics, among others. Previously, she served as Chief of the United States Department of Justice’s environmental crimes section (2007-2014). Additionally, she coordinated relevant national legislative, policy, and training efforts and co-chaired the Department’s Environmental Crimes Policy Committee. Prior to her tenure as Chief, she served in the section for over a decade in various roles, including as a trial attorney, senior trial attorney, and assistant section chief. During her tenure with the Justice Department, she prosecuted environmental crimes cases across the United States. She handled the nation’s first federal prosecution of a violation of the Clean Air Act Title V permitting scheme.
Paul Novak is a managing attorney at Weitz & Luxenberg PC. He has a distinguished career of prosecuting complex civil cases against corporate wrongdoers. He has served as an assistant attorney general, is a former division head of the special litigation division of the Michigan Attorney General’s office, and served as the city attorney of Lansing. He has also been appointed as lead counsel by several state and federal courts for plaintiffs in class action cases. He has tried numerous antitrust and environmental cases to judgment.
Allen Overton is the pastor at Second Missionary Baptist Church in Monroe, Michigan. He was born in Flint and graduated from Northwestern High School in Flint before serving in the U.S. Army. He attended Mott Community College, Birmingham Bible Institute, Ashland Theological Seminary, and Andersonville Theological Seminary. He also serves as a mentor and community leader and is part of the group Concerned Pastors for Social Action.
Jeremy Peterson is an associate at Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer where he helps clients respond to enforcement actions, carry out internal investigations, and achieve regulatory compliance. He assists clients with crisis response and in sensitive matters involving potential self-disclosure. Prior to joining the firm, he was an honors trial attorney for the U.S. Department of Justice’s environmental crimes section. In 2007 and 2008, he served as special assistant U.S. attorney in the District of Columbia U.S. Attorney’s Office, where he obtained Washington, D.C.’s first conviction for solicitation of murder. Prior to law school, he served as director of operations and management planning for the New York City Parks Department.
Ronald Sarachan, ’81, represents clients in white collar litigation, regulatory enforcement and complex civil litigation. He is co-chair of Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP’s white collar defense and corporate investigations team. He is a former chief of the environmental crimes section of the U.S. Department of Justice (1994-1997). In criminal litigation, he has successfully defended corporate clients ranging from Fortune 500 multinational corporations to closely held companies, as well as individual owners, directors, managers, and other employees. He has conducted internal investigations for securities and financial institutions and for clients in energy, petroleum, chemical, manufacturing and a variety of other fields.
Eileen Sobeck was appointed director of the National Marine Fisheries Service and assistant administrator for fisheries at NOAA in 2014 and served in that capacity until the end of the Obama administration. In 1984, she joined the U.S. Department of Justice’s environment and natural resources division as a trial attorney. In 1989, she became assistant chief of the wildlife and marine resources division. In 1995, she headed the division, and was made deputy assistant attorney general for the environment and natural resources division in 1999, a position she held for 10 years. She moved to the U.S. Department of Interior in 2009 as deputy assistant secretary for fish and wildlife and parks, and served as co-chair of the U.S. Coral Reef Task Force. In 2012, she was named acting assistant secretary of the Office of Insular Affairs. She held that post until taking over the fisheries service.
Steven Solow is co-head of Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP’s environmental and workplace safety practice and co-head of the white collar, investigations and compliance practice. He also is a member of Katten’s board of directors and the executive committee. He focuses his practice on business crimes, internal investigations, corporate compliance and security programs and environmental civil and criminal litigation. He represents and counsels corporations and business associations regarding their legal and regulatory obligations, develops integrated compliance programs that address corporate and government expectations and represents both corporate and individual clients in white collar cases. He served as assistant chief of the environmental crimes section at the U.S. Department of Justice from 1994 until 1997 and as chief of that section from 1997 until 2000.
Judson Starr is the retired chair of Venable LLP’s environmental practice group. Prior to joining Venable, he spent 10 years as a senior official with the U.S. Department of Justice, dealing with C-level decision-making, corporate governance, and compliance initiatives. He interceded with federal and state agencies ranging from the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Chemical Safety Board to the Coast Guard and Securities Exchange Commission. At the U.S. Department of Justice, he created, developed, and directed the first federal effort to enforce criminal violations of environmental laws (1982-1987) and served as the first chief of the environmental crimes section (1987-1989).
Michael Steinberg has served as the legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan since 1997, and oversees all ACLU litigation in the state. He also is a Public Interest/Public Service Faculty Fellow at Michigan. He has litigated dozens of high-impact, high-profile cases on a wide range of civil liberties issues including: freedom of speech and expression, racial justice, LGBT rights, post 9/11 issues, police misconduct, women’s rights, reproductive freedom, voting rights, religious freedom, right to counsel, prisoner rights, and the rights of the poor. He is the founding director of the Civil Rights and Civil Liberties Clinic at Wayne State University Law School.
Rena Steinzor is the Edward M. Robertson Professor of Law at the University of Maryland School of Law. She teaches administrative law, food safety law, and advanced courses on the regulatory system, as well as legal analysis and writing/contracts. She has written in the areas of criminal culpability for recklessness that threatens public health, worker and consumer safety, and the environment. She has testified before Congress on several occasions, most recently regarding the impact of health, safety, and environmental regulations on the economy. She is a founder, former president, and member scholar of the Center for Progressive Reform.
William Taylor III is a founding partner of Zuckerman Spaeder LLP. Over the course of his 40-year career, he has litigated numerous high-profile civil and criminal matters, often under intense media scrutiny. He practices in federal and state courts nationwide. While an experienced trial lawyer, he also is well known for his creative motions practice and is often successful in obtaining dismissal of charges against his clients before trial. He is equally at home in complex commercial litigations and straightforward credibility contests.
David Uhlmann is the Jeffrey F. Liss Professor from Practice, the director of the Environmental Law and Policy Program, and a Distinguished Faculty Fellow in Sustainability at Michigan. His research and advocacy interests include corporate crime, criminal and civil enforcement of environmental laws, and climate change and sustainability. He also leads the efforts of more than 200 Michigan Law students participating in the Environmental Crimes Project, the first comprehensive empirical study of criminal enforcement under U.S. pollution laws. Prior to joining the Michigan faculty in 2007, he served for 17 years at the U.S. Department of Justice, the last seven as chief of the environmental crimes section (2000-2007). He also served as vice chair of the annual American Bar Association’s Environmental Law Conference and was on the planning committee for the ALI-ABA Criminal Enforcement of Environmental Laws Seminar.
Nancy Wang, ’00, is a clinical assistant professor of law in the Environmental Law Clinic at Michigan. She has practiced in the public, academic, and private spheres and brings in-depth experience with air, water, energy, and hazardous waste issues. Before joining the faculty at Michigan Law, she served as an assistant counsel at the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, the public agency responsible for regulating all stationary sources of air pollution in the San Francisco Bay area. She previously had a joint appointment at Harvard Law School and the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, and supervised law students int he Environmental Law and Policy Clinic. She started her career practicing environmental law and complex civil litigation at Bingham McCutchen LLP in San Francisco.