Calling All Whistleblowers: Department of Justice Launches Office of Environmental Justice

Could 10, 2022. Final week, the US Lawyer Normal introduced the creation of the Office of Environmental Justice (OEJ) inside the Department of Justice. The OEJ will handle DOJ’s environmental justice tasks and “serve as the central hub for our efforts to advance our comprehensive environmental justice enforcement strategy” and handle the “harm caused by environmental crime, pollution, and climate change.”

In his speech, Lawyer Normal Merrick B. Garland remarked that OEJ will “prioritize the cases that will have the greatest impact on the communities most overburdened by environmental harm” in partnership with the Civil Rights Division, Office for Entry to Justice, Office of Tribal Justice, and United States Attorneys’ Places of work.
Whistleblowers take notice: violations of environmental legal guidelines (Clear Air Act, Clear Water Act) could be a foundation for a False Claims Act case.

In 2019, the DOJ settled a case towards a domestic producer of Omega-3 fish oil dietary supplements, fishmeal, and fish solubles for livestock and aquaculture feed. The producer allegedly falsely licensed compliance with federal environmental legal guidelines on a mortgage software. Beneath the phrases of the settlement, the fish oil producer paid $1 million. A former worker blew the whistle on their employer’s fishy enterprise and was rewarded $200,000 as half of a qui tam lawsuit.

False certification of environmental regulation compliance harms taxpayers, employees, residents, and the surroundings for generations. The Assistant Lawyer Normal of the DOJ’s Civil Division stated concerning the case, “Companies will face appropriate consequences if they misrepresent their eligibility to participate in federal programs and divert resources from those who should receive federal support.” It’s as much as staff of producers, contractors, development corporations, energy crops, and others who obtain authorities funds to report environmentally hazardous misconduct, in order that, because the U.S. Lawyer stated, “Businessmen and companies that lie to get their hands on taxpayer money will be held accountable for their actions.”

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