Environmental Compliance – The Engine that Drives Quality of Life
Environmental compliance regulations are applied to air, soil, and water, as well as underground storage tanks. There are two major entities that monitor commercial, residential and industrial compliance in the US: the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and state agencies or commissions of regulatory compliance. Each state in the US assigns the duties of EPA compliance monitoring to their state regulatory commission or environmental agency.
Air, Water and Soil Regulatory Compliance
All industries are required to submit annual air, water, and soil permits as applicable to their business. For industrial facilities with potential sources of contamination, there are annual Community Right-to-Know Survey (CRTK) submittals to the state, federal, local, fire, emergency and county agencies. The CRTK is available to the public for review when there is a question of potential hazardous waste or chemical contamination to air, water or soil. In addition, the EPA requires a Toxic Chemical Release Inventory Reporting Form (TRI) to be submitted to provide regular monitoring of industrial inventory that is comprised of potentially hazardous materials. For water protection and monitoring, the EPA requires a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) as regulated by the Clean Water Act (CWA). Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) applies mainly to toxic waste management and handling.
What Constitutes Environmental Litigation?
In most cases, whenever the EPA receives commercial and industrial regulatory reports and reviews them, these reports are subjected to the scrutiny of the citations in the EPA’s federal register. A facility owner may receive a response after an EPA review of their annual reports, when or if an EPA code violation is suspected. For example, a minor change in a chemical production process may signal an inquiry by the EPA or state agency. If the change is valid, it will require the assistance of an environmental law firm to insure the change is accurately presented and validated. Often, if the EPA chooses to require a full investigation, it is necessary for legal representation the Basset Law Firm can help by using their experience. Environmental litigation may involve requests for environmental experts who will testify before the investigatory committee. Environmental litigation is usually the result of a misunderstanding between the actual facility or business operation and related compliance regulations. If the EPA determines there are continued violations to air, water or soil regulations, massive environmental fines may result.
For example, all licensed laboratories in the US are required to keep and maintain up-to-date Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) according to EPA and state agency regulations. Whenever a laboratory omits to test according to the SOP, the EPA will issue a first warning. With the second warning, there may be an unannounced audit by the EPA of the laboratory. This audit may result in an EPA fact-finding report and an advisory of a potential environmental non-compliance fine. The issuance of a fine is may be accompanied by the third EPA warning. Clearly, this shows the need for legal assistance to avoid costly fines. Basset Law firm in Fayetteville, Arkansas, is a leader in resolving environmental issues.
Federal Environmental Regulations
In order to insure that your project is truly environmentally compliant, our firm will help you align with the two major entities that monitor commercial, residential and industrial environmental compliance in the United States. The first, and most notable, is the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Violations of EPA regulations could lead to expensive fines, restitution, and if criminal charges are brought – imprisonment.
State Agencies & Commissions
In addition to complying with EPA regulations, we can leverage our knowledge of state laws (Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Missouri) as well as our relationships with local communities and environmental experts to make sure you have done due diligence to align with regulations at the state level. Each state in the US assigns the duties of EPA compliance monitoring to their state regulatory commission or environmental agency.
Contact an Environmental Compliance Attorney
To discuss your environmental compliance questions call the Bassett Law Firm, LLP, at 479.521.9996 or fill out the brief contact form to schedule a free initial consultation. The firm is located in Fayetteville, Arkansas and has experienced attorneys with the knowledge to meet your needs in Oklahoma, Missouri, and Arkansas.