(3) If a military installation is found guilty of violating a substantive requirement, it may be
fined or issued a directive from the regulatory agency to halt the polluting action immediately. If a
knowing and willful violation of any criminal prohibition within the law can be proven, larger fines
and permanent shutdown can be imposed. If an individual commits such a criminal violation, a
personal fine and/or prison sentence can be imposed just as with any other type of criminal case.
(4) Several military installations have received fines or stop-action directives for substantive
violations, primarily from state authorities. Such directives were levied, by name, to the individual
who signed the permit, usually the installation commander. Fines were normally paid from the
installation's operating budget. An installation can sometimes negotiate for reduced fines based on
corrective actions taken or scheduled after the regulator first proposes them.
(5) Military and civilian employees of the Army have had adverse career actions taken by
their employers for causing violations against the installation. Some federal employees have received
criminal indictments for violating environmental laws. The Army cannot defend the employee
against federal charges.
(6) Regulatory agencies are becoming more aware of their authority and more familiar with
how to use the laws and courts to enforce environmental laws. Most will not hesitate to use their
authority regarding military installations. If they are convinced that the installation is making a good
faith effort, most regulators will allow an installation a reasonable amount of time to comply with
substantive requirements. Similarly, command emphasis is necessary to ensure that such a good faith
effort actually occurs.
e. Lawsuits against the Military. The legal doctrine of sovereign immunity states that the
government can only be sued with its own consent. This doctrine has its foundation in the English
common-law idea, which states that a king cannot break a law, since he is the lawmaker in the first
(1) Recent court decisions have noted significant exceptions to this doctrine. Environmental
suits may be brought against a government official alleging that he or she has acted as an individual
and not in an official capacity or alleging that the official has exceeded statutory authority. Congress
probably intended that the Administrative Procedures Act, as well as a number of other statutes,
subject some actions of government officials to judicial review.
(2) Most environmental laws have clauses that specifically waive certain sovereign immunity
privileges. Generally, federal organizations are subject to the agency that has the permit management
and enforcement authority for a particular environmental law in that organization's geographical area.
For instance, under the CWA, individual states are allowed to issue and monitor permits for the
discharge of pollutants into surface waters. The EPA has relinquished this authority to the state. A
military installation must obtain the necessary permits from the state, submit reports to the state, and
comply with all state-imposed effluent limitations.
(3) States may impose sanctions, such as fines, against federal polluters only to the extent
that Congress allows. States can fine federal agencies for air permit and HW violations.
f. Citizen Suits. Traditionally, if a citizen wanted to sue the government or one of its officers, a
case or controversy had to exist, and that person had to have a personal stake in the outcome. This
situation usually arises when the individual was injured or could show economic damages. However,
the courts have recently said that a person's interest or stake in the outcome could be aesthetic,
conservational, or recreational. Most environmental laws authorize citizens to sue the US or any