An Environmental Law Institute, National Whistleblower, and International Network for Environmental Compliance and Enforcement Co-Sponsored Seminar
Whistleblower protections in the United States have the potential to play a large role in strengthening global environmental law enforcement. Unfortunately, the applicability of U.S. whistleblower laws to combating environmental crimes and corruption has largely been discounted or ignored in U.S. and international discourse. In particular, there is a common misconception that nothing can be done in the U.S. to address crimes that occur outside of the borders of our domestic legal system. On the contrary, the transnational application of these U.S. laws to protect the environment could have a transformative impact on the ways in which such crime is combatted.
A 2018 report published by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that wildlife trafficking is among the top-ranked illicit trades, valued at approximately $23 billion a year. The use of whistleblower rewards by the U.S. government has stimulated an unprecedented detection of crimes. These laws have resulted in a radical increase of credible reports in the fields for which they have been implemented, and large rewards have been paid to foreign citizens for crimes that originated outside the U.S.
This seminar reviewed whistleblower provisions in U.S. laws and discuss their transnational application. Currently, none of the U.S. agencies with jurisdiction over these laws have publicized their potential application for combating wildlife trafficking, and consequently they have been radically underutilized by NGOs, U.S. government agencies and potential citizen whistleblowers.
ELI, INECE, and the National Whistleblower Center cosponsored this seminar featuring leading expert, Stephen M. Kohn. Stephen serves pro bono as the Executive Director of the National Whistleblower Center. He has represented whistleblowers for over 30 years, successfully setting numerous precedents that have helped define modern whistleblower law and obtained the largest reward ever paid to an individual whistleblower ($104 million for exposing illegal offshore bank accounts), and has published numerous books on whistleblower law, including The New Whistleblower’s Handbook, the seminal guide to all things whistleblower today.
Carl Bruch, Director, International Programs, ELI, Moderator
Stephen M. Kohn, Executive Director, National Whistleblower Center
ELI members will have access to a recording of this session (usually posted w/in 48 hours). If you are not an ELI member but would like to have access to archived sessions like this one, go HERE to see the many benefits of membership and how to join.