When one or more companies here in Georgia or elsewhere are accused of violating environmental regulations, it may not be necessary to simply give in to the first demands of a federal, state or local government agency. It may be possible to negotiate a deal on which everyone can agree. No matter how long the negotiations may take, the ultimate goal is to clean up the water pollution, which -- in many cases -- did not intentionally occur.
For instance, the Environmental Protection Agency has been in negotiations with several companies on the West Coast. State and local officials, along with tribal leaders in the area are encouraged by the course of the negotiations, but still wary of the process. This is because it is believed that the companies are actually driving the formulation of a cleanup plan instead of the EPA.
Whether that is true remains to be seen. In the beginning, the EPA was pushing for a study that may have resulted in an inadequate cleanup plan in Oregon, where these negotiations are taking place. As they progress, the EPA no longer pushed as hard for the study, which also encourages others following the talks.
Water pollution continues to be a topic of discussion for many companies across the country, including many here in Georgia. In dealing with compliance and violation issues, it would benefit these companies to discuss their issues with an environmental attorney. Whether working to remain in compliance or to deal with violations, understanding the rights and responsibilities a company has could help avoid costly and time-consuming mistakes that could ultimately jeopardize its future success.
Source: opb.org, "Polluters In Driver's Seat For Portland Harbor Superfund Cleanup Plan", Steve Law, Nov. 8, 2017