Green Business: 3 Recent Environmental Laws Your Company Must Comply With

Regulators have the power to levy fines and order your company to perform cleanup measures.

The world, and the businesses within it, are increasingly becoming more environmentally conscious, although this can still be a challenge. Not only is it difficult to keep track of all of the environmental laws and regulations that have been enacted in recent years, it is nearly impossible for anyone without a legal degree to understand how many regulatory laws impact your business.

The EPA, or U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, is charged with the responsibility of regulating the impact that business has on wildlife and the environment on which they depend to live. Through implementing federal and state regulations, enacted by Congress as well as state legislatures, and with the help of state regulatory agencies, the EPA coordinates efforts to maintain environmental health and safety standards for all of us.

Today, running a green business is non-negotiable. The best way to ensure that you are in compliance with the environmental regulations that impact your industry is to educate yourself about the Federal and State environmental laws that are mandatory. Below, you will find important information about three of the most important recent environmental laws that may impact your company’s operations.

  • The Clean Air Act 

    If you are running any kind of manufacturing or industrial operations as part of your business, you will need to comply with standards set forth in the Clean Air Act and its most recent amendments. Since the science on climate change has revealed an acceleration of environmental damage due to greenhouse gas emissions, regulatory agencies have been revising carbon emissions standards for all industries as well as for automobiles, trucks and construction vehicles. Failure to comply with Clean Air Act regulations can lead to fines and other legal actions levied by both state and federal agencies.

  • The Clean Water Act 

    The Clean Water Act does not just regulate the dumping of waste products into rivers and bodies of water, but also the impact that a business may have on wetlands. This may impact the zoning permits for your business. Wetlands are extremely sensitive ecosystems that are full of protected and sometimes endangered species. Failure to comply with sections 402 and 404 of the Clean Water Act impacting wetlands will not only lead to potential fines, but could possible lead to the revocation of your business permits and even closure of your business.

  • The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) 

    RCRA regulations are designed to ensure that businesses are dealing with the treatment, storage and disposal of hazardous (or potentially hazardous) waste products in a responsible manner. We generally associate these laws with companies that dump hazardous waste products into lakes and rivers, but it is much more complicated than that and impacts just about every type of business imaginable.

Failure to comply with environmental regulations, such as failure to obtain the proper federal and state permits to do business legally in your state, can lead to fines, clean-up costs and serious legal problems. The EPA and state environmental regulators have the power to levy fines and order your company to perform any expensive cleanup measures that need to be performed. The best way to ensure that you are in compliance with all federal, state and local environmental laws and regulations is to consult a lawyer, like those at Carter West, who is familiar with corporate compliance.

Emma Sturgis, the author of this post, is a freelance writer from Boston, MA.

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