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Navigating Environmental Enforcement in the Biden Administration

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While the texts of environmental laws do not change without an act of Congress, executive branch agencies that enforce those laws have a great deal of discretion in what kinds of violations to prioritize for investigation and enforcement and how aggressive to be in applying them to new or ambiguous fact patterns. Because the consequences of contesting a government enforcement case can be so onerous – financially, operationally, reputationally and otherwise – how the agencies exercise this enforcement discretion can often determine, for all practical purposes, how laws actually direct business conduct.

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V&E Environmental & Natural Resources lawyers discussed key issues to watch in 2021 and beyond. Discussion topics include:

  • Overview of environmental enforcement priorities, including the relationship between DOJ/EPA and how priorities are set at each
  • Update on EPA’s most recent enforcement results
  • Process and timeline for changing federal environmental enforcement priorities and predicted changes

This presentation was recorded and current as of March 10, 2021. Content viewed after this date may no longer be current.

This information is provided by Vinson & Elkins LLP for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended, nor should it be construed, as legal advice.