U.S. Attorney Nick Brown names both Civil and Criminal Division attorneys to focus on Environmental Justice

Thursday, October 13, 2022

Seattle – U.S. Attorney Nick Brown has named two veteran Assistant United States Attorneys to lead the Western District of Washington Environmental Justice Initiative. 

Criminal AUSA Seth Wilkinson and Civil AUSA Kayla Stahman will lead the district efforts on environmental prosecutions and civil enforcement.

“Both these attorneys have deep experience not only with investigating and prosecuting environmental crimes, but with the Affirmative Civil Enforcement the Justice Department uses to hold companies accountable for their conduct,” said U.S. Attorney Nick Brown. 
“As we look at issues surrounding Environmental Justice in disadvantaged communities, it will take all our tools, civil and criminal, to make positive change and protect our fragile Northwest environment.”

For example, AUSA Wilkinson previously prosecuted the CEOs of Total Reclaim, the Northwest’s largest electronics recycler, for secretly exporting mercury-laden electronics to Hong Kong, potentially exposing local workers and residents to toxic material. 

AUSA Wilkinson is currently prosecuting the owners of a Washington company for removing federally-required emissions control devices from diesel vehicles in violation of the Clean Air Act.

AUSA Stahman has handled a variety of affirmative civil litigation from protecting the elderly from financial scams to holding medical labs accountable for overbilling government programs and accepting kickbacks.

AUSAs Wilkinson and Stahman recently coordinated the civil and criminal prosecution related to steel that did not meet military requirements being sold to the Navy. Coordinating the civil settlement as well as the criminal case required the close coordination that will now be brought to the environmental justice work of the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

The district’s Environmental Justice Coordinators will lead efforts to enforce environmental laws, including the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, and hazardous waste laws. 

An intentional decision to violate these laws may be a federal crime. For example, intentionally discharging pollutants into a river without a permit, or bypassing a required pollution control device, is a criminal act that carries the possibility of incarceration and monetary fines.

The district’s Environmental Justice Coordinators also will lead efforts to remedy environmental violations and contaminations by pursuing actions under the civil rights laws, worker safety and consumer protection statutes, and the False Claims Act. 

For example, a federal contractor who violates a contractual provision mandating the proper disposal of hazardous waste may be subject to liability under the False Claims Act; a landlord who leases a home without disclosing known information about lead-based paint may violate federal lead disclosure rules.

Other examples of civil or criminal environmental misconduct include:
  • Air emissions of toxic pollutants resulting from inadequate or nonexistent pollution control
  • Illegal asbestos removals that expose and create health risks for workers and the public
  • Illegal discharges into waters or sewer systems that threaten public safety and cause damage to our water infrastructure
  • Illegal handling, transportation, and disposal of hazardous wastes and pesticides
  • Oil spills or other incidents that compromise the fishing rights or practices of indigenous or disadvantaged communities
  • False statements to the EPA or other regulatory agencies that threaten the integrity of environmental protection programs
More information about the environmental justice initiative is on the Department of Justice website


Post a Comment

We encourage the thoughtful sharing of information and ideas. We expect comments to be civil and respectful, with no personal attacks or offensive language. We reserve the right to delete any comment.

Facebook: Shoreline Area News
Twitter: @ShorelineArea
Daily Email edition (don't forget to respond to the Follow.it email)

  © Blogger template The Professional Template II by Ourblogtemplates.com 2009

Back to TOP