Environmental and Safety Compliance and Investigations

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Investigations involving environmental and safety issues can take many forms: civil investigations by state or federal regulators, internal investigations triggered by whistleblowers, compliance audit results, or a threatened private party citizen suit, criminal investigations by government enforcement authorities, and a combination of all three in response to an industrial facility incident. Environmental and safety compliance requires constant diligence and a robust compliance program and culture; the handling of an investigation must have similar rigor. While most day-to-day compliance can be handled effectively by trained environmental, health, and safety personnel, an investigation requires the additional layer of experienced legal counsel to navigate the complex elements of conducting a thorough investigation, communicating with government enforcement (including timing and substance of disclosures), and developing appropriate corrective actions.

Crowell & Moring’s Environment and Natural Resources Group, ranked by Chambers USA both nationally and in Washington, D.C. as a top environmental practice, has deep experience with the myriad investigation scenarios that spring both from day-to-day business and from industrial facility incidents. Our team includes former civil and criminal government officials who know how to most effectively engage with government enforcement, along with practitioners with decades of experience in representing the private sector in investigations triggered not just by government but also private citizen activists and internal whistleblowers. Our work also includes crafting strategies with clients to prepare for investigations, enforcement, and incident response, as having a thorough and proactive plan can be a helpful and productive element in demonstrating a strong compliance culture to government investigators. Our team incorporates all of these elements in assisting clients navigate challenging and complex investigation and enforcement matters.

Safety Investigations – MSHA

  • Fatality Investigations. We regularly counsel our mining clients through the emotionally draining process of MSHA fatality investigations, which frequently also require coordinating responses to related state and local law enforcement investigations, and coordinating with tort counsel in anticipation of civil suits.
  • Retaliation Investigations (Mine Act 105(c)). When our mining clients are accused of taking adverse employment actions against employees for exercising their rights under the Mine Act, we lead our clients through the MSHA investigation, interview, and document-production process, and defend them in civil litigation if the charge is prosecuted by either MSHA or the individual.
  • Individual Supervisor Investigations (Mine Act 110(c)). A charge of individual culpability for violations of federal mine safety and health laws can take an personal toll on the individual charged; we counsel our clients through the MSHA investigation to safeguard their interests and minimize their legal exposure to both civil and criminal liability.

View More

"Déjà Vu: The Lessons of Solyndra & What Energy Companies Can Expect Under the 118th Congress," Environment & Natural Resources Law Alert (January 27, 2023). Contacts: Tyler A. O'Connor, Byron R. Brown, James G. Flood, Rukiya Mohamed
Client Alert/Newsletter
"Appliance Manufacturers and Importers Should Prepare for Increased DOE Enforcement Activity in 2023," Environment & Natural Resources Law Alert (January 26, 2023). Contacts: Matthew B. Welling, Tyler A. O'Connor, Felicia L. Isaac, Lynn Phan
Client Alert/Newsletter
"Recent EPA Guidance Boosts Consideration of Environmental Justice and Cumulative Impacts of Pollution," Environment & Natural Resources Law Alert (January 18, 2023). Contacts: Elizabeth B. Dawson, Byron R. Brown, Eryn Howington
Client Alert/Newsletter
"Cyber and Physical Attacks on the Electric Grid Should Prompt New Year’s Resolutions for the Energy Industry," Environment & Natural Resources Law Alert (January 13, 2023). Contacts: Tyler A. O'Connor, Evan D. Wolff, Matthew B. Welling, Maida Oringher Lerner, Deborah A. Carpentier, Michael G. Gruden, CIPP/G
Client Alert/Newsletter
"IRS Issues New Guidance on Sustainable Aviation Fuel Credit," Tax Alert (January 13, 2023). Contacts: Irina Pisareva, Christopher B. Younger
Client Alert/Newsletter
"IRS Issues Guidance on the Inflation Reduction Act’s Clean Vehicle Provisions and Treasury Releases White Paper on Forthcoming Critical Minerals and Battery Guidance," Tax Alert (January 10, 2023). Contacts: Irina Pisareva, Tyler A. O'Connor, Byron R. Brown
Client Alert/Newsletter
"EPA Seeks Comment on IRA Clean Ports Program," Environment & Natural Resources Law Alert (January 3, 2023). Contacts: Tyler A. O'Connor, Felicia L. Isaac
Client Alert/Newsletter
"FTC Seeks Public Comments on the Green Guides," Advertising & State AG Alert (December 15, 2022). Contacts: Preetha Chakrabarti, Roy A. Abernathy
Client Alert/Newsletter
"Roundtable Discussion on the Midterm Election," Crowell & Moring Webinar, 2022 (December 14, 2022). Speakers: Jim Flood, Stacie Heller, Byron Brown, Kate Beale, W. Scott Douglas, and Tim Shadyac.
"Divided Electorate, Divided Congress: What it Means for Healthcare and Energy Policy in the Lame Duck and the 118th Congress," (November 23, 2022). Contacts: James G. Flood, Stacie Heller, Byron R. Brown, Kate Beale, W. Scott Douglas, Tim Shadyac
Client Alert/Newsletter

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Crowell & Moring LLP is an international law firm with offices in the United States, Europe, MENA, and Asia that represents clients in litigation and arbitration, regulatory and policy, and transactional and corporate matters. The firm is internationally recognized for its representation of Fortune 500 companies in high-stakes litigation and government-facing matters, as well as its ongoing commitment to pro bono service and diversity, equity, and inclusion.

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