Atty. Gen. Dick Thornburgh said Monday the Justice Department will organize a “SWAT team” of government lawyers to help states prosecute pollution cases.
In the opening address for the Oceans ’88 marine conference, Thornburgh said his agency is committed to vigorously prosecuting polluters of the nation’s waters.
To do that, he said, he has directed the department’s land and natural resources division to create an intergovernmental task force to review ocean dumping and marine debris cases.
List of Lawyers
The Justice Department also will develop a list of government lawyers--from the Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Interior and the Coast Guard--to provide legal advice to local governments in addition to their regular duties, he said.
“It’s a SWAT team that’s ready for requests for assistance,” Thornburgh said. “This group will be available on a moment’s notice.”
Thornburgh, who said he had no specific budget or number of lawyers proposed for the team, said the lawyers would travel to affected areas to advise local governments if needed.
Suspected federal violations will be prosecuted by the Justice Department, he said.
Thornburgh said new federal legislation curbing ocean dumping and regulating medical waste disposal will give prosecutors additional clout in imposing legal sanctions against violators.