Environmental Enforcement & Penalties
Defending You Against Allegations and Fines
When the TCEQ, RRC, EPA, or USACE (US Army Corps of Engineers) believes someone has violated environmental laws within their jurisdiction, they begin an administrative enforcement process. Essentially, they require the responsible party to bring their operations or property into compliance with environmental laws.
To handle this enforcement, you may have several options available, and some will cost less than others. The agency is not required to help you find the least expensive alternative. McPherson Law Firm PLLC, on the other hand, can work with you to develop and implement practical solutions that balance costs and benefits.
If you are facing an enforcement action or penalty, contact our environmental law attorney in Dallas as soon as possible.
Common Violations of Environmental Laws
While violations vary depending on the jurisdiction, the enforcement agency, and your specific business or property type, maintaining awareness of the most common violations will help you protect yourself from future allegations. From training employees to implementing preventative measures, the tasks you may be obligated to fulfill can become overwhelming without legal support.
Here are some of the most frequent environmental violations:
- Improper disposal of hazardous waste
- Uncontrolled releases of contaminants
- Open containers of hazardous waste
- Inadequate training of personnel
- Improper/missing documentation
- Improper removal of asbestos
- Failing to comply with underground storage tank regulations
- Insufficient emergency procedures and countermeasures
- Improper classification or management of a waste system
- Failure to have or follow a Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan (SW3P)
- Using state water without a permit
- Failure to obtain a required air permit
- Failure to have or update a Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure (SPCC) Plan
- Affecting Waters of the United States (WOTUS) without a permit
- Incorrect/missing labeling of hazardous materials
Environmental Fines and Penalties
If a local, state, or federal agency discovers that you or your business entity has violated environmental laws, it may assess penalties in addition to corrective actions.
Some of the consequences of an environmental violation include:
- Fines by the government (which have drastically increased in recent years)
- Injunctions (i.e. temporarily freezing certain aspects of your business operations)
- Orders to clean up a site
- Private Civil Lawsuits
- Restitution to the government or affected communities
If you are accused of any of these violations, you have the right to challenge the allegations, the amount of the proposed penalty, or both. But you have a limited time to exercise these rights, and the enforcement case will not go away if you ignore it. Because you must respond to the accusations, it is important to seek qualified help immediately. Every communication between you and the enforcing agency is critical to obtaining the best possible outcome.
Attorney Mark McPherson has more than 30 years’ experience helping Texas facilities and operators:
- Defend against enforcement actions and penalties;
- Negotiate and complete agreed orders; and
- Come into and maintain compliance with applicable rules.
With a background in real estate transactions and environmental law, our attorney understands how to balance your needs and goals with the costs of environmental compliance. It may feel as though these laws prevent you from seeing the success you deserve, but we know how to manage restrictions in a way that minimizes penalties and protects the profits of your investment.
Contact Us for Immediate Support
We help clients all over Texas handle enforcement cases and challenge penalties. Our primary goal is to help you or your business thrive in a legally sound manner. Environmental laws are becoming more restrictive, and penalties are becoming more severe. As such, we are equipped with the knowledge and resources needed to help you manage these restraints and avoid harmful allegations.
Time is critical, so don’t delay. Contact McPherson Law Firm PLLC at (214) 722-7096 to protect your rights as soon as possible.