The Environmental Protection Unit’s focus is on protecting the public from companies that violate environmental laws - violations that can threaten the natural environment or endanger public health.
The unit investigates and prosecutes matters involving unlawful treatment, transportation, storage and disposal of hazardous materials and wastes, underground storage tank violations and streambed alterations, among other environmental crimes. The unit also reviews industrial accidents referred by Cal OSHA. These cases involve violations of safety regulations resulting in death, serious disability or serious hazard exposures to employees.
In addition to criminal charges filed against an entity or individual, civil complaints may be initiated to prevent on-going violations and to seek monetary penalties for violations when appropriate.
Regulatory agencies, private citizens, and private action groups all refer environmental issues for possible investigation and prosecution. District Attorney investigators often serve as the primary investigators on the matters.
To increase the efficiency of investigation and prosecution efforts, the District Attorney’s Office hosts the Riverside County Environmental Strike Force meeting on a bi-monthly basis. The Strike Force aims to coordinate efforts to combat environmental crimes. The following agencies are members of the Strike Force:
- Riverside County Department of Environmental Health
- United States Environmental Protection Agency
- California Environmental Protection Agency (Department of Toxic Substance Control)
- California Department of Fish and Game
- Riverside County Transportation and Land Management Agency
- California Occupational Safety and Health Administration
- City of Corona
- City of Riverside
- South Coast Air Quality Management District
- California Highway Patrol
- Santa Ana Regional Water Quality Control Board
- Riverside County Code Enforcement
- City of Palm Springs
- Riverside County Waste Management
- Riverside County Sheriff’s Office
To report a suspected environmental violation, call the Riverside County Department of Environmental Health at (888) 722-4234, or visit their website at www.rivcoeh.org
To report a suspected workplace safety violation, visit the Cal OSHA website at www.dir.ca.gov