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Gunster enviromental law and government affairs attorney Greg Munson identifies what you should know if an environmental agency, such as the federal EPA or Florida Department of Environmental Protection, sends your business a notice of violation.

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Video produced by Charles Belvin Productions

Environmental compliance: What to do if the EPA or Florida DEP sends you a notice of violation

There are several things you should know if an environmental agency, such as the federal EPA or Florida Department of Environmental Protection, sends your business a notice of violation or something similar.

First, promptly meet with or call the person who sent it – plan to listen, without arguing or conceding, and express your willingness to cooperate. You may be able to learn a lot.

Then, begin gathering helpful data – such as water or soil samples – and plan to continue gathering it for the entire process. Credible information is your best ally.

If you don’t have a defense, develop a plan to come into compliance. Be proactive in your plan; you’ll want the agency to adopt your approach. Regarding penalties, use the agencies’ own guidelines on enforcement to help make your case.

If you’ve got a defense, then present it. Remember that a friendly demeanor goes a long way.

Finally, the best way to deal with it is to avoid it altogether; an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Make sure your business has a robust internal environmental compliance program. That way, you can reduce the likelihood of receiving a notice of violation in the first place.


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