Edward Hanousek worked for Pacific and Arctic Railway and Navigation Company (P&A) as a roadmaster of the White Pass & Yukon Railroad in Alaska. Hanousek was responsible “for every detail of the safe and efficient maintenance and construction of track, structures and marine facilities of the entire railroad,” including special projects. One project was a rock quarry, known as “6-mile,” above the Skagway River. Next to the quarry, and just beneath the surface, ran a high-pressure oil pipeline owned by Pacific and Arctic Pipeline, Inc. P&A’s sister company. When the quarry’s backhoe operator punctured the pipeline, an estimated 1,000-5,000 gallons of oil were discharged into the river. Hanousek was charged with negligently discharging a harmful quantity of oil into a navigable water of the United States in violation of the criminal provisions of the Clean Water Act (CWA). Using the information presented in the chapter, answer the following questions.
- Did Hanousek have the required mental state (mens rea) to be convicted of a crime? Why or why not?
- Which theory discussed in the chapter would enable a court to hold Hanousek criminally liable for violating the statute regardless of whether he participated in, directed, or even knew about the specific violation?
- Could the backhoe operator who punctured the pipeline also be charged with a crime in this situation? Explain.
- Suppose that at trial, Hanousek argued that he should not be convicted because he was not aware of the requirements of the SWA. Would this defense be successful? Why or why not?