Environmental Litigation Defense
- The Environmental Protection Agency is an independent federal agency responsible for protecting human and environmental health from various hazards.
- The Agency is vested with the authority to issue regulations to implement environmental laws and monitor company compliance with those regulations.
- Companies in various sectors are subject to the provisions of environmental laws and regulations, including the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, Superfund legislation, National Environmental Policy Act, Noise Control Act, and the Safe Drinking Water Act.
- The EPA has augmented its compliance tools through its Next Generation Compliance method, which uses advanced technology to monitor company compliance.
- The EPA’s criminal enforcement program focuses on conduct that threatens the health of people and the environment. The EPA regularly shares information about companies suspected of violating environmental laws with the Department of Justice, other federal agencies, and state prosecutors.
- Consider hiring an attorney with an experienced and dedicated environmental law team to handle the legal, regulatory, and compliance issues.
About Our Environmental Litigation Defense Law Firm
If you need advice regarding environmental compliance or investigations, do not hesitate to contact our environmental law team today.
A violation of environmental regulations can result in civil sanctions and criminal penalties as well as irreparable damage to your reputation.
At Oberheiden, P.C., our attorneys are recognized leaders in defending against administrative and civil or criminal enforcement actions alleging violations of environmental regulations.
Our attorneys regularly advise companies on issues regarding environmental litigation including contamination and waste allegations, environmental tort claims, contractual disputes, asbestos, air quality, environmental insurance coverage, climate change, and issues regarding legislation such as the Clean Air Act or Clean Water Act.
We are competent to provide defense strategies in response to both civil and criminal charges.
Put Oberheiden, P.C. on your side today to fight for your liberty and reputation.
The Role of the Environmental Protection Agency
The Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) is the federal regulatory agency empowered to issue regulations to implement environmental laws. The EPA provides compliance assistance to sectors that are subject to environmental laws and regulations.
Because the EPA does not handle all environmental concerns by itself, it shares or delegates the responsibility to manage environmental compliance with other authorities such as Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”), the Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”), the Consumer Product Safety Commission (“CPSC”), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”).
Environmental Laws and Regulations
Below are the most common laws and regulations governing environmental issues:
- Atomic Energy Act (AEA): This Act established the Atomic Energy Commission (“AEC”) to promote the use of atomic energy for peaceful purposes consistent with the defense and security and the health and safety of the public.
- Clean Air Act (CAA): This Act regulates air emissions from stationary and mobile sources and authorizes the EPA to establish National Ambient Air Quality Standards (“NAAQS”) to protect public health and regulate emissions of hazardous air pollutants.
- Clean Water Act (CWA): This Act establishes the basic structure for regulating discharges of pollutants into U.S. waters and quality standards for surface waters.
- Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA, or Superfund legislation): This Act provides a Federal “Superfund” to clean up hazardous-waste sites and other emergency releases of pollutants into the environment.
- Endangered Species Act (ESA): This Act provides a program for the conservation of threatened and endangered plants and animals and their habitats.
- Energy Policy Act: This Act addresses energy production in the United States, including energy efficiency, renewable energy, oil and gas, and coal, as some examples.
- Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA): This Act authorizes the EPA to set tolerances, or maximum residue limits, for pesticide residues on foods.
- Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA): This Act provides for federal regulation of pesticide distribution, sale, and use and requires that all pesticides distributed or sold in the United States be registered and licensed by the EPA.
- Food Quality Protection Act (FQPA): This Act amended FIFRA and FFDCA and requires, among other things, that EPA make safety findings, use new safety standards to reassess pesticide tolerances, and consider the susceptibility of children to pesticides.
- Marine Protection, Research, and Sanctuaries Act (MPRSA or the Ocean Dumping Act): This Act generally prohibits the transportation of material from the United States for the purpose of ocean dumping—which also applies to U.S. agencies or U.S.-flagged vessels—and dumping into the U.S. territorial sea.
- National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA): This Act assures that all branches of the government consider the environment prior to undertaking any major federal action that affects the environment.
- Noise Control Act: This Act establishes a national policy to promote an environment free from noise that jeopardizes health.
- Nuclear Waste Policy Act (NWPA): This Act supports using deep geologic repositories for the safe storage and/or disposal of radioactive waste.
- Occupational Safety and Health (OSHA): This Act ensures worker and workplace safety and has the goal of making sure that employers provide their workers with a place of employment free from hazards to safety and health.
- Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA): This Act gives the EPA the authority to control hazardous waste from transportation, treatment, storage, and disposal.
- Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA): This Act protects the quality of drinking water in the United States and authorizes the EPA to establish minimum standards to protect tap water.
- Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA): This Act gives the EPA the authority to require reporting, record-keeping, testing, and other restrictions regarding chemical substances and/or mixtures.
Monitoring Compliance with Environmental Laws
Compliance is a significant part of the EPA’s process of determining whether companies and the community are compliant with environmental laws and regulations.
The traditional inspection process has recently been enhanced by advanced technologies. Next Generation Compliance (“NextGen”) is a method used to increase compliance with environmental regulations by using advances in pollutant monitoring and information technology designed to reduce pollution. NextGen tools reduce costs and saves time in monitoring and reporting information.
Some of the tools the EPA uses to ensure that companies are complying with environmental laws and regulations include inspections, Clean Air Act evaluations, record reviews, information requests, civil investigations, and audits.
The EPA also uses compliance incentives to encourage companies to find, disclose, and report environmental violations.
The Agency may also receive notice of violations from the public through tips and complaints.
Criminal Enforcement of Environmental Law Violations
The EPA regularly coordinates with the Department of Justice, other federal agencies, and state prosecutors regarding criminal investigations. Its goal is to pursue individuals and companies who are suspected of committing environmental crimes.
The criminal enforcement program of the EPA focuses on environmental crimes that threaten the health of people and the environment.
The agency enforces laws by investigating companies, collecting evidence, conducting various analyses of the evidence, and prosecuting violating companies.
Environmental Matters We Handle
Our firm handles a broad range of environmental issues such as the following:
- researching carbon markets
- defending against criminal investigations for environmental law violations
- defending against public complaints of company environmental law violations
- advising clients on climate change policies
- coordinating defense strategies with federal, state, and local authorities to the benefit of our clients
- researching legislative matters and EPA rulemaking
- advising on public policy, risk management, and company compliance programs regarding environmental regulation
The above list is solely representative of some of the vast topics our firm is competent to undertake. If you are facing an investigation or have a concern regarding environmental compliance or legislation, contact our law firm today.
Request a Free Initial Consultation at Oberheiden P.C.
The laws governing industry sectors that are subject to environmental regulations can be complex and are always evolving.
An investigation into your company’s practices for environmental law violations could result in significant civil fines, criminal penalties, jail time, injunctive relief, site investigations, loss of business relationships, and reputational harm.
Our attorneys can guide your company through the environmental compliance process and mitigate or eliminate various stages of civil and criminal investigations.
Oberheiden, P.C. has the expertise needed to defend our clients against unsubstantiated allegations of environmental law violations arising under federal legislation.
Call us today or contact our office for a free consultation and protect your reputation.