Reducing Environmental Risk

What if someone accuses you of an environmental breach?

On Behalf of | Jun 6, 2024 | ENVIRONMENTAL LAW - Compliance

As a business owner, you must stay vigilant for threats to your business. One that could have a massive negative effect is if someone alleges you have breached environmental laws. 

You cannot afford to dismiss them as moaners or neighborhood busybodies. If they believe their claim has a foundation they may take it to the authorities. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will be the most likely authority you’ll have to deal with if they go that route. That could result in either a civil lawsuit or a criminal one.

Was the violation intentional?

If the agency believes you did breach an environmental law they will seek to clarify how much you knew about it. If they suspect you understood what you were doing was illegal but went ahead anyway, they’ll likely pursue criminal proceedings.

If they believe the breach was unintentional, or you honestly thought you were complying with the law, they are more likely to take the civil route.

They might still go the criminal route anyway in certain cases such as if they believe the deal of negligence involved was considerable and inexcusable.

How you counter the claims will depend on the action taken

You cannot afford to assume an accusation will come to nothing. Even if the person does not take their complaint to the EPA they could still stir up a lot of bad press and ill feelings that could harm your business. With appropriate guidance, you can learn more about the next steps to take.



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