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Responding to Environmental Inspections

By Margaret M. Witherup, Gordon Feinblatt LLC |

One of the most unsettling experiences in a company’s existence may be the surprise regulatory inspection by a representative of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) or a State Environmental Agency. What if you refuse to let them in? What are your rights? How can you best ensure that the inspection goes smoothly? This article briefly summarizes the government’s environmental inspection authority and provides some practical tips on how to prepare for and survive an environmental inspection. Preparing for an environmental inspection should be viewed as any other necessary business activity. A company’s best chance of successfully surviving an environmental inspection is to be prepared for it before the inspector is knocking at the door. This involves both reviewing the company’s compliance with applicable regulations as well as having a plan in place for handling an inspection when it occurs.   Governmental authority Most environmental regulatory agencies have broad inspection authority to determine a company’s compliance with the environmental laws and regulations that the agencies enforce. In many cases, this includes the authority to inspect processes and monitoring equipment, to copy…
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