The key is assembling your team to ensure that environmental audits are conducted on a regular basis.
Chicago, Illinois (PRWEB) December 30, 2011
"Business owners and managers should plan ahead to take advantage of environmental audit policies, which provide major incentives for businesses to self-report potential violations and come into compliance with federal and state environmental laws and regulations, says Dave Scriven-Young, a Chicago environmental attorney at Peckar & Abramson, P.C. (http://www.pecklaw.com/) and author of the Illinois Environmental Law Blog (http://illinoisenvironmentallaw.com/).
Scriven-Young presented his seminar, "How Businesses Can Take Advantage of U.S. EPA’s Audit Policy", at a meeting of the Chicago Bar Association's YLS Environmental Law Committee. Under the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's audit policy, a business receives 100% reduction of gravity-based penalties if nine conditions are met. Several states, including Illinois, have environmental audit policies or statutes that provide similar incentives.
His top three recommendations for businesses that want to use environmental audit policies to their advantage are:
1. Have regular, systematic, and objective audits of your facility. "Often, businesses have difficulty satisfying the first condition of U.S. EPA's audit policy, which requires systematic discovery of the violation through an environmental audit or a compliance management system. The key is assembling your environmental team to ensure that audits are conducted on a regular basis," states Scriven-Young. Common members of a company's environmental team include plant managers, environmental health and safety managers, outside environmental consultants, and attorneys.
2. Report the violation to the environmental agency by the deadline. Scriven-Young teaches that business owners and managers must have their eyes on the calendar when a potential violation is discovered. "Under U.S. EPA's audit policy, companies must disclose violations in writing within 21 calendar days after discovery." He also advises owners and managers to be aware of additional pitfalls, including requirements of some states that advance notice be provided to the environmental agency before the audit takes place.
3. Be aware of the exclusions. Certain repeat violations as well as violations that resulted in serious actual harm are not eligible for penalty reductions under environmental audit policies. According to Scriven-Young, the company's environmental team must carefully investigate the facts and circumstances of the potential violation and analyze the audit policy to determine if the exclusions apply. This will help limit the company's liability for that potential violation.
Scriven-Young will distribute the audio and slides from his seminar through his monthly newsletter. To sign up, go to http://illinoisenvironmentallaw.com/subscribe/. He is next scheduled to give a presentation on January 24th entitled "Environmental Hot Topics for 2012". For more information, go to http://illinoisenvironmentallaw.com/cal-events/event/environmental-hot-topics-for-2012/.
About Attorney Dave Scriven-Young
Dave Scriven-Young is a Chicago environmental attorney at Peckar & Abramson, P.C. He advises manufacturers and other businesses on environmental matters, including litigation, corporate transactions, compliance, auditing, and permitting. He also authors the Illinois Environmental Law Blog, an award-winning blog that provides analysis of new laws, regulations, and cases involving environmental issues in Illinois.