130A-26.1. Criminal violation of Article 9.

(a) The definition of "person" set out in G.S. 130A-290 shall apply to this section. In addition, for purposes of this section, the term "person" shall also include any responsible corporate or public officer or employee.

(b) No proceeding shall be brought or continued under this section for or on account of a violation by any person who has previously been convicted of a federal violation based upon the same set of facts.

(c) In proving the defendant's possession of actual knowledge, circumstantial evidence may be used, including evidence that the defendant took affirmative steps to shield himself from relevant information. Consistent with the principles of common law, the subjective mental state of defendants may be inferred from their conduct.

(d) For the purposes of the felony provisions of this section, a person's state of mind shall not be found "knowingly and willfully" or "knowingly" if the conduct that is the subject of the prosecution is the result of any of the following occurrences or circumstances:

(1) A natural disaster or other act of God which could not have been prevented or avoided by the exercise of due care or foresight.

(2) An act of third parties other than agents, employees, contractors, or subcontractors of the defendant.

(3) An act done in reliance on the written advice or emergency on-site direction of an employee of the Department of Environmental Quality. In emergencies, oral advice may be relied upon if written confirmation is delivered to the employee as soon as practicable after receiving and relying on the advice.

(4) An act causing no significant harm to the environment or risk to the public health, safety, or welfare and done in compliance with other conflicting environmental requirements or other constraints imposed in writing by environmental agencies or officials after written notice is delivered to all relevant agencies that the conflict exists and will cause a violation of the identified standard.

(5) Violations of permit limitations causing no significant harm to the environment or risk to the public health, safety, or welfare for which no enforcement action or civil penalty could have been imposed under any written civil enforcement guidelines in use by the Department of Environmental Quality at the time, including but not limited to, guidelines for the pretreatment permit civil penalties. This subdivision shall not be construed to require the Department of Environmental Quality to develop or use written civil enforcement guidelines.

(e) All general defenses, affirmative defenses, and bars to prosecution that may apply with respect to other criminal offenses under State criminal offenses may apply to prosecutions brought under this section or other criminal statutes that refer to this section and shall be determined by the courts of this State according to the principles of common law as they may be applied in the light of reason and experience. Concepts of justification and excuse applicable under this section may be developed in the light of reason and experience.

(f) Any person who knowingly and willfully does any of the following shall be guilty of a Class I felony, which may include a fine not to exceed one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000) per day of violation, provided that this fine shall not exceed a cumulative total of five hundred thousand dollars ($500,000) for each period of 30 days during which a violation continues:

(1) Transports or causes to be transported any hazardous waste identified or listed under G.S. 130A-294(c) to a facility which does not have a permit or interim status under G.S. 130A-294(c) or 42 U.S.C. 6921, et seq.

(2) Transports or causes to be transported such hazardous waste with the intent of delivery to a facility without a permit.

(3) Treats, stores, or disposes of such hazardous waste without a permit or interim status under G.S. 130A-294(c) or 42 U.S.C. 6921, et seq., or in knowing violation of any material condition or requirement or such permit or applicable interim status rules.

(g) Any person who knowingly and willfully does any of the following shall be guilty of a Class I felony, which may include a fine not to exceed one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000) per day of violation, provided that the fine shall not exceed a cumulative total of five hundred thousand dollars ($500,000) for each period of 30 days during which a violation continues:

(1) Transports or causes to be transported hazardous waste without a manifest as required under G.S. 130A-294(c).

(2) Transports hazardous waste without a United States Environmental Protection Agency identification number as required by rules promulgated under G.S. 130A-294(c).

(3) Omits material information or makes any false material statement or representation in any application, label, manifest, record, report, permit, or other document filed, maintained, or used for purposes of compliance with rules promulgated under G.S. 130A-294(c).

(4) Generates, stores, treats, transports, disposes of, exports, or otherwise handles any hazardous waste or any used oil burned for energy recovery and who knowingly destroys, alters, conceals, or fails to file any record, application, manifest, report, or other document required to be maintained or filed for purposes of compliance with rules promulgated under G.S. 130A-294(c).

(5) Provides false information or fails to provide information relevant to a decision by the Department as to whether or not to enter into a brownfields agreement under Part 5 of Article 9 of this Chapter.

(6) Provides false information or fails to provide information required by a brownfields agreement under Part 5 of Article 9 of this Chapter.

(7) Provides false information relevant to a decision by the Department pursuant to:

a. G.S. 130A-308(b).

b. G.S. 130A-310.7(c).

c. G.S. 143-215.3(f).

d. G.S. 143-215.84(e).

(h) For the purposes of subsections (f) and (g) of this section, the phrase "knowingly and willfully" shall mean intentionally and consciously as the courts of this State, according to the principles of common law interpret the phrase in the light of reason and experience.

(i) (1) Any person who knowingly transports, treats, stores, disposes of, or exports any hazardous waste or used oil regulated under G.S. 130A-294(c) in violation of subsection (f) or (g) of this section, who knows at the time that he thereby places another person in imminent danger of death or personal bodily injury shall be guilty of a Class C felony which may include a fine not to exceed two hundred fifty thousand dollars ($250,000) per day of violation, provided that this fine shall not exceed a cumulative total of one million dollars ($1,000,000) for each period of 30 days during which a violation continues.

(2) For the purposes of this subsection, a person's state of mind is knowing with respect to:

a. His conduct, if he is aware of the nature of his conduct;

b. An existing circumstance, if he is aware or believes that the circumstance exists; or

c. A result of his conduct, if he is aware or believes that his conduct is substantially certain to cause danger of death or serious bodily injury.

(3) Under this subsection, in determining whether a defendant who is a natural person knew that his conduct placed another person in imminent danger of death or serious bodily injury:

a. The person is responsible only for actual awareness or actual belief that he possessed; and

b. Knowledge possessed by a person other than the defendant but not by the defendant himself may not be attributed to the defendant.

(4) It is an affirmative defense to a prosecution under this subsection that the conduct charged was conduct consented to by the person endangered and that the danger and conduct charged were reasonably foreseeable hazards of an occupation, a business, or a profession; or of medical treatment or medical or scientific experimentation conducted by professionally approved methods and such other person had been made aware of the risks involved prior to giving consent. The defendant may establish an affirmative defense under this subdivision by a preponderance of the evidence.

(j) Any person convicted of an offense under subsection (f), (g), or (h) of this section following a previous conviction under this section shall be subject to a fine, or imprisonment, or both, not exceeding twice the amount of the fine, or twice the term of imprisonment provided in the subsection under which the second or subsequent conviction occurs. (1989 (Reg. Sess., 1990), c. 1045, s. 9; 1993, c. 539, ss. 1303-1305; 1994, Ex. Sess., c. 24, s. 14(c); 1997-357, s. 3; 1997-443, s. 11A.67; 2015-241, s. 14.30(u).)