b. A soldier who violates environmental law or allows others to do so can be prosecuted by
military authorities under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) or in Federal District Court.
If convicted of environmental violations, individuals can receive fines up to ,000 per day of
violations and imprisonment up to two years.
c. There are two ways to violate environmental laws and regulations: through negligence and
through purposeful acts. Violations can subject military installations to fines and civil suits.
Personnel should consult the local JAG office for the latest changes in or interpretations of laws and
regulations. Violations of environmental laws, whether intentional or not, are treated the same by
regulators and inspectors. Unintentional violations due to negligence can be prevented through
training and education. Purposeful violations must be prevented by the chain of command and
individuals' moral sense.
(1) Negligence. Negligent actions are careless, delinquent actions, and commanders, leaders,
or supervisors must know about them. Supervisors are responsible for ensuring that soldiers perform
their duties correctly. Therefore, if a soldier is negligent or careless, the supervisor is guilty of
negligence even if the supervisor is unaware of the act. For example, assume the chain of command
failed to ensure that all concertina or communications wire was collected and stored following a field
exercise. The chain of command is responsible for damage or injury to personnel or wildlife that
becomes entangled in or injured by the wire. Another example of negligence is failing to ensure that
hazardous materials, such as solvents, are stored and accounted for properly. The chain of command
is responsible for those containers when they leak and contaminate soil, groundwater, or nearby
(2) Purposeful Acts. These environmentally damaging actions are deliberately directed or
performed by a commander, leader, or supervisor who has full knowledge of the action's illegality. If
someone deliberately performs or directs an action knowing that it is illegal, that individual is
culpable or guilty. For example, if a supervisor directs a soldier to dispose of used parts in a pond
located in a secluded part of the post, the supervisor has deliberately broken the law. Claiming
ignorance is no excuse. The POL and the corrosion from the parts will contaminate the pond and
eliminate its value as a source of drinking water, habitat, and recreation. Common sense dictates that
this action was improper and reflected poor judgment on the part of the supervisor. The chain of
command should prevent intentional violations to every extent possible.
d. Procedural and substantive requirements. Environmental legislation may contain procedural
or substantive requirements, or both.
(1) Procedural requirements describe a procedure or method that must be followed to achieve
a specified goal or policy. The NEPA, for instance, specifically requires that federal decision makers
follow certain procedures to document their consideration of environmental effects of actions. If a
procedural requirement is violated, the penalty may be an order to halt the proposed action or project
until the prescribed procedure has been followed to the satisfaction of the court. There is no direct
fine or prison term imposed; however, there may be an indirect monetary cost associated with delays
to the project and efforts to quickly comply with the procedural requirement.
(2) Substantive requirements define rights and restrictions. A typical substantive
requirement would be limiting allowable discharges of air or water pollutants under the terms of a
permit. For example, the permit required under the CWA for discharging pollutants into surface
waters limits the quantities of various pollutants in water on a daily, monthly, or annual basis.