June 12 - June 18, 2016

A pipeline company was recently indicted on criminal charges for knowingly discharging a pollutant into state waters and wildlife charges; one employee faces up to three years in prison if convicted. Are criminal charges appropriate in such a case?

Answers Votes
Yes, companies and their staff need to know there are severe consequences for not taking adequate steps to protect the environment. 71%
Maybe; financial penalties would be appropriate but not jail time. 26%
No, there was no loss of human life. 3%

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Tagged categories: Asia Pacific; Criminal acts; EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa); Ethics; Latin America; Laws and litigation; Lawsuits; North America

Comment from M. Halliwell, (6/13/2016, 1:09 PM)

Willful is willful. Splitting hairs about what chemical, how much, whether it will cause death / disease in humans, animals or plants...just circumstances for the judge to use in deciding what the punishment is upon conviction. If you knowingly let someone go 100 ft in the air without fall protection and they have a fatal fall, it's willful and chances are you'll get charged. Why should it be less if you knowingly release a chemical into a river that could make thousands sick and/or kill people. Jail time and fines are necessary tools to encourage compliance and punish those who knowingly do this sort of thing.

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