Rushing & Guice, P.L.L.C: Mississippi and Gulf Coast Environmental Law Attorneys
Rushing & Guice has extensive experience counseling clients through the maze of complex laws and regulations governing environmental preservation. Most environmental law is intended to preserve natural resources—air, water, land, and wildlife—and protect these resources and residents from toxic activities. Our lawyers can help our clients set up the internal procedures needed to comply with environmental laws, guide their expansion when the environment might be impacted, and defend them and their companies against charges of environmental violations. We will take our clients and their companies to where they need to be to balance commerce with the protection of the air, water, land, and wildlife of our great state of Mississippi.
Federal Environmental Laws
In the 1970s, three major environmental laws were passed by Congress: the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, and the Toxic Substances Control Act. Since then, these laws have been amended and, in some instances, extended by administrative regulations. Essentially, these laws have identified types of environmentally harmful activities; imposed specific conditions and standards on that activity; and prohibited some forms of activity that adversely affect the quality of air, water, land, and wildlife. Accurate recordkeeping is an important aspect of doing business that conforms to the requirements of these federal laws. Specific processes are required in anticipation of any activity that has an impact on the environment through construction, development, agriculture, and commercial activity. Our lawyers know how to help our clients conform to the mandates of environmental law and incorporate these measures seamlessly into their operations.
Mississippi Environmental Laws
Mississippi businesses and governmental entities are also regulated by the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality. Businesses using, manufacturing, treating, transporting, or releasing toxic chemicals, more than 650 of which have been identified by the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality, must report the locations and quantities of chemicals stored on-site. The reports are submitted to the Environmental Protection Administration and to the State of Mississippi. To improve enforcement and containment, the EPA compiles this data in an online publication, a publicly accessible national computerized database. Mississippi’s Department of Environmental Quality, along with the EPA, is serious in its enforcement of these laws to protect the residents of Mississippi and the nation. In 2021, over $59.5 million in penalties were imposed for environmental violations within Mississippi.
Compliance with Environmental Laws
Environmental law remains in flux with a need for evolving business methods secured by sound legal judgment to fully understand how these laws impact business operations in Mississippi. Permitting, compliance, recycling, e-waste, and pollution prevention are all necessary aspects of doing business in Mississippi. We can help make them an integral part of our client’s business plans.
These environmental laws do work. A recent study by Louisiana State University examined the impact of the Clean Water and Clean Air Acts on the quality of the Mississippi River, especially downstream. Midwestern farming had gravely threatened the water and wildlife in the Mississippi River as fertilizers and other nutrients bled into the river during spring rains. Human and animal waste was also contaminating the ground and water. However, in the sixty years since these federal laws were enacted, the bacteria, lead, and sulfate content in the river has vastly decreased while beneficial oxygen and Ph have risen. The bacteria content of the river is 1% of what it was in the 1980s. This improvement is mostly derived from the increase in sewage treatment plants along the waterway. Although runoff from agriculture and urban streets still remains a hazard to the quality of water in the Mississippi River, toxic chemicals from factories and plants have been greatly curtailed. These are signs of a healthier Mississippi River.
We have represented buyers and sellers of real estate, landlords and tenants, lenders and borrowers, and real estate development firms faced with a broad range of environmental issues, including:
Air pollution and Clean Air Act matters
Clean Water Act issues
Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA)
Contract negotiations and indemnifications
Defense of environmental lawsuits and environmental crimes
Environmental hazard mitigation and clean up
Fiduciary liability protection
Hazardous materials and waste
Lender liability protection
Private citizens’ lawsuits
Real estate development issues
Wetlands regulation, mitigation, and restoration
With the help of experienced counsel, environmental law compliance can be integrated into your business’s commercial activity with a minimum of cost and effort.
Defending Against Environmental Violations
Both federal and state agencies have the enforcement authority to prosecute violations of environmental laws. The best defenses against these claims are adequate, particularized insurance policies, and knowledgeable environmental defense lawyers.
Any business that manufactures products or provides services that might be subject to environmental regulations at the federal or state level could be open to an environmental claim. Business property owners might be responsible for environmental cleanup and restoration even for pollution that occurred before purchase of their current property. Experienced counsel at Rushing & Guice can guide our clients through transactions to minimize their exposure to environmental claims.
Properly insuring a business requires research and consideration of the risks of doing business. General business liability insurance policies often contain limitations on environmental defense. Therefore, it is necessary to consider other forms of insurance, depending on the particular business and environmental risk:
Pollution Legal Liability (PLL) Insurance – Coverage for cleanup or protection against claims relating to pollution events at a site.
Cost Cap Insurance – Protection against cost overruns in contamination cleanup projects.
Contractor’s Pollution Liability Insurance – Coverage for pollution liability associated with contractor’s operations.
Errors and Omissions Insurance – Protection for environmental consultants and other service providers.
Underground Storage Tank (UST) Policies – Protection against unforeseen cleanup and costs relating to USTs.
The second line of defense against environmental claims is competent and experienced counsel who knows how to navigate the maze of environmental laws and administrative regulations. That’s what we do at Rushing & Guice.
Rushing & Guice, P.L.L.C: Knowledgeable and Trusted Counsel on All Matters of the Environmental Laws
At Rushing & Guice, our experienced environmental law attorneys stand ready to provide knowledgeable and trusted counsel on all matters that implicate the laws and regulations governing land use and environmental preservation and reclamation. Call us at (228) 374-2313 or fill out our online form to arrange for a limited initial consultation. We look forward to hearing from you and look forward to the opportunity to serve as your attorneys.