Caufield & James, L.L.P Caufield & James, L.L.P

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Compliance Archives

Worried about environmental compliance? An attorney can help

When your business is growing or expanding into new areas, you face a number of hurdles. Whether you're investing in real estate or producing physical products, you need to consider a lot of different factors. Environmental regulations are one area that can easily get overlooked. Unfortunately, doing so could cost your company money and cause major setbacks to growth. If you are non-compliant with either state or federal environmental standards, you could get fined. You could also be forced to invest in cleanup efforts or finance major renovations to your facility to avoid future issues.

Environmental compliance may trigger civil or criminal penalties

Environmental compliance can be costly. Take the recent example of Volkswagen and its related entities. The car maker has announced several initiatives as part of a settlement agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the State of California.

Benefits of environmental counsel and risk assessment

Those in California who enter real estate transactions or other business arrangements often face challenges regarding various laws and governing regulations. To prevent problems, it is often best to learn as much as possible ahead of time in order to familiarize oneself with potential risks. Environmental counsel and risk assessment guidance often proves helpful in such situations.

How do you define a "win" in an environmental enforcement matter?

People across California and elsewhere who watch cop shows and crime dramas that regularly feature courtroom processes and procedures might sometimes be led to believe that stridently aggressive and "scorched-earth" attorneys always win the day for their clients.

Understanding Clean Water Act Violation Claims

Clients frequently receive a "Notice of Violation" from a regulatory agency and/or sometimes from private law firms alleging violation of the Clean Water Act ("CWA"). With the most recent changes in the CWA regulations, various facilities and operations that were previously in compliance with the CWA and had appropriate storm water plans in place may not find themselves no longer in compliance with the regulations. Accordingly, it is important for various facilities to take steps to make sure that they are in compliance with the newest regulations. Additionally, when receiving a "Notice of Violation" the client needs to promptly take action and respond. Ignoring the "Notice of Violation" is unlikely going to lead to a good result and most likely lead to a lawsuit and potential increase in liability. The key component in the response to receiving the "Notice of Violation" is to understand and careful examine whether an actual "violation" has occurred. As we've found with multiple clients that have received such notices, in many instances many of the alleged "violations" are not in fact a "violation" and thus no penalty should be assessed. In some instances, we have been successful in having claims of violations in excess of several hundred thousand dollars to be dropped entirely and/or reduced to an amount that is more reasonable for the client. As a result, a successful defense of such claims is predicated on a thorough understanding of the evidence and actual facts.

An unremitting California focus: aquifers and water

Relatively new legislation -- described as "historic" in one media account -- targets water levels and use across California. It has prompted many parties to act, but not in ways deemed salutary by environmental groups and some state legislators. Their actions have prompted a further and restrictive would-be law aimed at protecting aquifers deemed to be in "critical overdraft" status.

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Caufield & James, L.L.P

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