The Yates Memo: A Paradigm Shift in Environmental Enforcement?

February 16, 2016 11:00 am — 12:30 pm
Washington, DC (and webinar)

An ELI Member Seminar

In the Yates Memo, released on September 9, 2015, the U.S. Department of Justice issued new guidance on “individual accountability for corporate wrongdoing.” The memo was accompanied by a major policy address by Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates and signals groundbreaking changes to the DOJ’s policy on the prosecution of individuals in civil and criminal enforcement with important ramifications for environmental cases.

While the DOJ has been at the forefront of resolving corporate criminal cases involving violations of federal environmental statutes for decades, it has spent fewer resources prosecuting individuals responsible for the underlying wrongdoing.

The Memo outlines six key principles to serve as a detailed framework for federal prosecutors to assess whether and what charges to bring against individuals in corporate criminal cases. Although some of its major components expand upon existing practices, other aspects of the memo introduce new challenges for corporate internal investigations. For environmental enforcement matters, the components could have significant implications.

Our panel of experts discussed the implications of the Yates Memo. Speakers reviewed the Memo, analyzed and discussed its implications, and fielded questions from the audience.

Justin A. Savage, Partner, Hogan Lovells (facilitator)
Doug Parker, Director, Criminal Investigation Division, U.S. EPA
Joseph Poux, Deputy-Chief, Environmental Crimes Section, U.S. DOJ
Sambhav Sankar, Senior Executive & Director of EHS Operations, GE
Eric Schaeffer, Executive Director, Environmental Integrity Project

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