American environmental law is nuanced, complex and extensive. Although an attorney experienced in environmental law can help to explain regulations, policies and legal initiatives that may affect you and your company, it can be beneficial to have a basic, personal understanding of major environmental policies. This basic understanding can aid you in formulating questions for your attorney concerning compliance, litigation and other legal matters which may impact your business.
For example, understanding the basics of how Superfund works can help you to better understand how your business may be impacted by certain environmental cleanup efforts. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, Superfund is the program which allows the Environmental Protection Agency to clean up hazardous waste sites. This program also allows the EPA to compel responsible entities to either reimburse the government for its cleanup efforts or to perform site cleanups.
Offices within the Environmental Protection Agency are responsible for overseeing and managing the program. If you receive communications from the Office of Emergency Management or the Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response in regards to a Superfund cleanup site, please be advised that these are communications from the EPA.
It is also worth noting that the EPA employs the services of ten regional offices for the purposes of Superfund implementation. California is part of Region Nine, along with Nevada, Hawaii and Arizona. According to the EPA, these regional offices are “the front line in responding to releases of hazardous substances and other emergencies.” It is important to take communications from this regional office seriously and to speak with an attorney about any questions you may have in regards to these communications.