148 DAVID M. UHLMANN
environmental laws. For example, Congress included language in the Clean Water
Act (CWA), the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), and the Clean
Air Act (CAA) making it a crime to knowingly make false statements in
documents required under the relevant law and any implementing regulations.21
Congress included similar language that prohibited tampering with or rendering
inaccurate required monitoring methods under the environmental laws.22
Congress also made clear that failure to obtain permits for the disposal of
hazardous waste, the discharge of pollutants into waters of the United States, and
the construction of new stationary sources of air pollution could give rise to
criminal liability, as could violations of permits issued pursuant to the
environmental laws.23 Congress provided enhanced penalties for environmental
violations that placed others in imminent danger of death or serious bodily
injury.24 In each of these ways, Congress took meaningful steps to define which
violations of the environmental laws are criminal.
In other ways, however, Congress did not distinguish criminal violations of
the environmental laws from violations warranting only civil or administrative
enforcement.25 Congress allowed all permit violations to satisfy the act
requirement for criminal prosecution.26 As a result, Congress criminalized both
substantive permit violations, such as discharging in excess of permit limits, and
more technical permit infractions, such as failing to maintain documents for a
specified period of time. Congress used similarly expansive language in the
criminal provisions that apply to notification, recordkeeping, and filing
21 33 U.S.C. § 1319(c)(4) (2012) (“knowingly make any false material statement, representation, or
certification in any application, record, report, plan, or other document filed or required to be
maintained [under the CWA] . . . .”); 42 U.S.C. § 6928(d)(3) (2012) (“knowingly omits material
information or makes any false material statement or representation in any application, label,
manifest, record, report, permit, or other document filed, maintained, or used for purposes of
compliance [with RCRA] . . . .”); 42 U.S.C. § 7413(c)(2)(A) (2012) (“knowingly makes any false materi al
statement, representation, or certification in, or omits material information from, or knowingly alters,
conceals, or fails to file or maintain any notice, application, record, report, plan, or other document
required [by the CWA] . . . .”).
22 33 U.S.C. § 1319(c)(4) (“knowingly falsifies, tampers with, or renders inaccurate any
monitoring device or method required to be maintained under [the CWA]. . . .”); 42 U.S.C. §
7413(c)(2)(C) (“knowingly . . . falsifies, tampers with, renders inaccurate, or fails to install any
monitoring device or method required to be maintained or followed under [the CWA]. . . .”).
23 42 U.S.C. §§ 6928(d)(1)–(2), (7) (disposal of hazardous waste); 33 U.S.C. §§ 1319(c)(1)–(2)
(discharge of pollutants into waters of the United States); 42 U.S.C. §§ 7413(c)(1), (5) (preconstruction
24 42 U.S.C. § 6928(e); 42 U.S.C. § 7413(c)(5); 33 U.S.C. § 1319(c)(3).
25 Uhlmann, Environmental Crime Comes of Age, supra note 19, at 1242.
26 E.g., 33 U.S.C. §§ 1319(c)(1)–(2) (criminalizing the negligent or knowing violation of “any
permit condition or limitation” under the CWA).