There are a handful of ways that whistleblowers can not only help the environment but potentially recover a monetary award as well. One, of course, is the False Claims Act. For example, if a government contractor agrees to abide by certain environmental regulations as part of its contract with the government, violations of those rules can form the basis of a qui tam action.
Other examples can include underpayments of royalties by companies extracting national resources, misrepresenting compliance with environmental regulations or standards to avoid paying fines or to obtain tax credits, and false claims related to contractors specifically employed for environmental purposes, such as cleanup projects.
There are also some other qui tam statutes designed specifically to reward environmental whistleblowers, such as the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships, Lacey Act, Endangered Species Act, Fish and Wildlife Improvement Act, and numerous species-specific federal protections that offer rewards for whistleblowers who report unlawful trafficking of protected animals and plants.
The False Claims Act and Foreign Corrupt Practices Act also provide paths to reporting the unlawful trafficking of “trophies” of endangered species from foreign countries.
There are also retaliation protections for whistleblowers under the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, Safe Drinking Water Act, Atomic Energy Act, Toxic Substances Act, Solid Waste Act, and Superfund Act.