Environmental Crimes Unit

The Environmental Crimes Unit (ECU) is a division of the Office of Special Prosecutions. The ECU has statewide responsibility and jurisdiction for the investigation and prosecution of environmental crimes. Typical cases involve violations of state laws regulating hazardous waste disposal, oil spills, air and water pollution, mining, forestry and water use, and seafood processing and other health related issues. Convictions for environmental crimes can result in jail sentences and large fines. The ECU, when appropriate, also investigates and prosecutes federal environmental crimes in cooperation with the U.S. Attorney's Office and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Criminal Investigation Division. Significant federal penalties are often available and the EPA can suspend or debar corporations implicated in environmental crimes from further operations that damage the environment.

The ECU is partially funded by the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) through a reimbursable services agreement. The unit consists of an Assistant Attorney General cross-designated as a Special Assistant U.S. Attorney and DEC investigators commissioned as State peace officers. The unit also receives investigation support from other state, federal and municipal law enforcement agencies.

Environmental crimes prosecution is a specialized field. The applicable laws often rely on complex state, federal and local environmental regulations. In addition, environmental crimes, like white collar crimes, can involve large volumes of business related evidence and computer documents. As such it is necessary and beneficial for the state to devote a specialized prosecutor to this field.

You can reach the ECU at 907.269.6250 or by email at carole.holley@alaska.gov.