Environmental Compliance – What You Don’t Know CAN Hurt You!
Environmental compliance is a major responsibility for many organizations since the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was created in 1970. EPA is an important agency for almost everyone who generates, transports, treats, stores, or disposes of hazardous waste, emits contaminants to the air, or discharges pollutants to the water. Many businesses claim that environmental rules are complex and difficult to understand. As many large and small companies have found out, ignorance is not bliss. What you don’t know can hurt you. For example:
- A major auto company spent $94 million in fines and environmental projects for defective emissions controls.
- The manager of a small company that processes airplane wing de-icers went to jail for wastewater violations, even though he claimed he did not know that he was breaking the law.
What makes environmental compliance even more difficult is that many states have adopted compliance rules that are stricter or more comprehensive than federal rules. Most states impose stricter requirements for chemical reporting, facility siting, asbestos abatement, air and water discharge limits, and more. Careful review of state compliance requirements, as well as federal requirements, is clearly warranted.
Why Is Compliance Important?
Just about everyone recognizes the value of protecting our natural resources and the general public from harm. Businesses must also recognize that every environmental law provides some form of civil, and in many cases, criminal, penalties. With penalties of up to $37,500 per day per violation, civil penalties can reach into the millions of dollars. And every 4 years, EPA adjusts civil penalties for inflation. While civil penalties are a concern for facility owners and operators, criminal penalties are even more severe.
Being in compliance with environmental regulations saves money and time. At a recent industry course on environmental compliance, industry and compliance professionals expressed the need for continued and consistent support from guidance documents, reference manuals, as well as environmental and legal specialists to effectively comply with the complicated and ever-changing regulations.
EPA Compliance Examples and Other Tools to Help YOU!
Enviro.BLR.com provides comprehensive state and federal environmental compliance analysis. It also offers an extensive compliance “Tools” section that provides more than 7,000 guidance documents, sample plans, forms, and checklists for all of the major compliance topics, including:
- SPCC (spill prevention control and countermeasures) under the Clean Water Act (CWA) and Oil Pollution Act
- MSDS under Hazard Communication
- RCRA (Resource Conservation and Recovery Act) solid waste management
- Hazardous waste management
- Universal waste management
- TSCA (Toxic Substances Control Act)
- SWPPP (stormwater)
- Emerging topics including global warming and mold
Some of the most-used environmental compliance tools available from BLR include:
- Environmental training PowerPoints®
- Sample compliance plans
- Reporting and inspection forms
- Compliance checklists
If you need an EPA compliance solution, BLR has it!
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