Service Divisions
About the AGO > Service Divisions > Environmental Enforcement

Environmental Enforcement

The Environmental Enforcement Section is comprised of attorneys, paralegals, BCI special agents, environmental background investigators, and support staff who represent nine State agency clients and commissions:  the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, the Ohio Department of Agriculture’s Division of Livestock Environmental Permitting and Division of Soil and Water Conservation, the State Fire Marshal’s Bureau of Underground Storage Tank Regulation, the Ohio Power Siting Board, the State Emergency Response Commission, the Ohio Lake Erie Commission, and the Ohio Soil and Water Conservation Commission.

The Section’s litigation includes enforcement of regulatory requirements, defending various administrative actions of agency clients, defense of rulemaking actions, appeals of federal rulemaking and defense of litigation filed against the agencies and their personnel.  In addition to litigation, the Section provides general counsel advice as needed, conducts contract reviews and helps draft rules for its client agencies.  The Attorney General does not have independent environmental investigative or enforcement authority; rather, he works at the request of the listed State agencies, local boards of health and local prosecutors.

Environmental offenses can be enforced through civil litigation that requires the company and/or persons committing the offenses to remedy the violations and pay civil penalties, or some violations may be prosecuted criminally and violators would face traditional criminal sanctions such as fines and incarceration.  All cases are resolved by final court orders, whether they are orders by consent or judgments by the trial court.  See examples of typical Consent Orders from environmental litigation.

Environmental criminal cases are investigated and prosecuted in collaborative efforts among federal, state and local law enforcement personnel.  Attorneys and BCI Special Agents from the Section participate in regional Task Forces that will investigate any and all potential environmental crimes throughout the State.  If you have information or see activity that you believe is a potential or immediate environmental problem please call the Ohio EPA 24-hour Hot Line at  800-282-9378 or the U.S. EPA Emergency Number at 800-424-8802.  If you are a law enforcement professional, contact the AG Environmental Enforcement Unit at 800-348-3248 or go to Environmental Enforcement Unit for more information.

Persons who own or operate solid, infectious or hazardous waste facilities in Ohio must undergo a background investigation conducted in accordance with Ohio Revised Code Sections 3734.41—3734.47.  An explanation of that process and the forms necessary to start the background investigation process are available for download.