Citizens Guide to Environmental Investigation and Private Prosecution


The time between launching an environmental investigation and making a formal complaint and/or bringing a criminal case before the courts can be a long – sometimes exciting, sometimes frustrating – period. When investigating an environmental crime, you need more than knowledge of environmental issues and law. You require objectivity, determination, and a great deal of patience. You must determine the pollution’s source and content, whether regulatory agencies have condoned it, the time frame in which the offence occurred, if the polluter has made any remediation attempts, and what legislation might apply. You will need to obtain documentary and physical evidence that will prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the polluter is guilty of committing an environmental crime. Help is available from a number of sources, but obtaining the information you seek may require aggressive networking and following many leads, some of which may prove fruitless. Your case will be different from any other, but we hope that the techniques and tips presented in this guide will assist you in gathering the evidence you will need to ensure that environmental laws are enforced.

With the right to a clean environment comes certain responsibilities. You can make a difference in protecting the natural resources that belong to all of us, for now and the future.

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