Environmental laws are intended to protect and preserve natural resources, from the air we breathe to the water we drink. Small business owners will likely encounter business laws and environmental laws that will affect their operations. For instance, if a business uses a vendor to dispose of chemicals, solvents, or lubricants used in its operations, the disposal is an environmental law issue. In this case, the waste must be disposed of in a certain way, and it is the business owner’s responsibility to ensure that it complies with the law. Otherwise, they can face environmental disasters and serious fines and legal consequences.
Rushing & Guice has extensive experience guiding business clients through the jungle of laws and regulations aimed at protecting the environment. Our experienced lawyers work with business owners to set up internal procedures to comply with environmental laws, guide them through new ventures that may impact the environment, and protect them from penalties for violations. We look forward to helping you and your company balance your commercial interests with protecting the environment in Mississippi.
Environmental Laws For Small Businesses
Violations of environmental laws may occur if a company is unaware of environmental laws or not up to date on new regulations. In such cases, they can irrevocably damage the environment and incur high penalties for violations.
Complying with environmental laws for small businesses is especially important when companies’ operations affect the local community and neighboring areas. Toxic waste, noise, and air or water pollution can cause serious injury to nearby inhabitants, such as long-standing health issues and life-threatening diseases. Environmental contamination can also impact the public perception of the at-fault company and negatively affect business in terms of sales, clientele, or profits.
Therefore, it is important that business owners are aware of and maintain safe conditions to protect their company and the environment simultaneously.
Laws Protecting the Air and Water
The Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act are two major environmental laws that were passed by Congress in the 1970s. As their names suggest, they are the primary federal laws governing air and water pollution.
The Clean Air Act requires states to regulate air emissions and contaminants from companies by setting and monitoring pollutant standards. The law requires pollution to remain low to avoid harm to local populations, such as lung and respiratory issues. The Clean Air Act also aims to prevent the emission of toxins into our atmosphere. These dangerous toxins can cause acid rain and deplete the ozone layer, causing harm to our environment. Mississippi has more than 500 facilities regulated under the Clean Air Act and is legally required to implement plans to reduce air pollution.
The Clean Water Act regulates discharging pollutants into water sources by setting water quality criteria. The law also requires companies to obtain permits before discharging any pollutant into navigable waters. Water pollution can be hazardous to the local population if the pollutants enter public drinkable water sources. Contaminated water can cause numerous diseases, such as gastrointestinal illness and other serious health repercussions, like the nervous system or reproductive effects.
Polluting the air and water is prohibited. When violations occur, the Environmental Protection Agency can get involved and give penalties or fines to at-fault companies. Violations can also lead to civil litigation if one or several people sustain injuries from the pollution.
Involving an environmental lawyer early on to ensure that the business complies with environmental laws and standards can prevent violations from happening in the first place. With the help of experienced lawyers, environmental law compliance can be integrated into the company’s commercial activity with minimum cost and effort.
The National Environmental Policy Act
Governmental agencies are required under the National Environmental Policy Act to assess the environmental effects of their proposed actions. The Act was one of the first laws written to protect the environment and ensure that government branches consider environmental impacts before taking action. These actions can include anything from highway construction to deforestation to issuing building permits to companies. If the assessments flag impacts that may seriously damage the environment, the agency or agencies involved may need to rethink their construction plans.
Contact Our Skilled and Knowledgeable Environmental Attorneys at Rushing & Guice
At Rushing & Guice, our experienced environmental lawyers have decades of experience representing private and public clients in all matters that implicate the laws and regulations governing the environment, from land use and water contamination to pollution. If you are a small business owner, we can guide you through the maze of environmental laws to ensure that your company is compliant. Call us at (228) 374-2313 or fill out our online form to arrange a consultation.