Special to IFN

CHARLOTTE – The U.S. Attorney’s Office on Wednesday convened a meeting of the Western District’s Environmental Justice & Environmental Crimes Working Group, reaffirming its commitment to advancing environmental justice.

The federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies represented in the meeting were the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of the Inspector General and Criminal Investigation Division, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Department of Defense Criminal Investigative Service, the U.S. Department of Transportation, the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission, the N.C. Department of Transportation, the N.C. Department of Insurance, and the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department.

June marked the two-year anniversary of the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Environmental Justice Initiative (EJI) and the appointment of an Environmental Justice coordinator, following an announcement by Attorney General Merrick Garland on key efforts by the Department of Justice to advance environmental justice.

In her welcome remarks, U.S. Attorney Dena J. King thanked the partner agencies for their participation and expressed the Office’s commitment to environmental justice in communities across the Western District.

King also highlighted prosecutors’ efforts to hold accountable violators of federal environmental statutes and noted that federal laws are in place to protect natural resources and prevent harmful pollutants from posing health risks for communities.

“The collaboration between my office and our partner agencies is crucial in protecting communities from environmental harm,” she said. “Our dedication to environmental justice is unwavering, and together, we can ensure that our efforts are effective and impactful.”

The meeting focused on federal prosecutors’ criminal and civil enforcement efforts, collaboration with partner agencies to develop goals and strategies, including identifying areas qualifying under the EJI, as well as next steps and action items in support of potential leads and investigations. In addition, participants discussed efforts to increase education and public awareness and develop action items related to environmental statute violations.

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For more information about the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Environmental Justice Initiative, visit https://www.justice.gov/usao-wdnc/civil-rights-program#EJC

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