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Consequences of Not Complying with Environmental Laws and Regulations

November 30, 2013      

Most consequences in life don’t seem possible until they actually happen. Whether it is going that extra five miles over the speed limit or not getting your inspection sticker on time, it can be easy to overlook potential repercussions. The same holds true for environmental related laws and regulations. It seems easy to construct that well location without contacting a consulting firm to conduct a wetland determination, threatened and endangered species evaluation, or cultural resource assessment. It would be cheaper if a company did not have to install that emission-reducing equipment or mitigate for the stream that was re-routed. Noncompliance could lead to delays in project completion, enforcement fees, or criminal penalties that are not worth it. Below are a few examples of companies that paid the price for noncompliance – literally.

National Cases

  • July 2013 – Pennsylvania case fined exploration company $100,000 for Clean Water Act violations and mandated practices that will cost approximately $20 million upon implementation
  • August 2013 – Utah based refinery fined $175,000 due to Clean Air Act violations along with an estimated $18 million in mandated facility upgrades
  • September 2013 – Texas refinery fined $8.75 million for repeated Clean Air Act violations

Regional Cases

  • June 2011 – Exploration and production company fined $177,500 for discharging fill material in wetlands without a permit
  • September 2011 – Exploration and production company fined $500,000 for threatened and endangered species violations in Arkansas
  • September 2012 – Oil storage facility in Southeast Texas fined $16,600 for failing to develop a Facility Response Plan as mandated by the Clean Water Act for oil storage facilities with a storage capacity of over one-million gallons

The list goes on and on, but the message is the same: noncompliance with laws and regulations can be costly and time consuming. Just like habitual speeders, it’s not a matter if you will get caught, but when. Fortunately, RS&H can assist you with compliance of environmental laws no matter what your issue or experience level. Overwhelmed by the myriad of laws and regulations? We can support you by conducting audits and training to ensure your company is headed in the right direction, keeping you in compliance with environmental laws.

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