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Environmental Auditing and Self-Reporting

Complying with ever-changing federal, state, and local regulatory requirements is a daunting challenge. Despite best efforts, individuals/companies can sometimes find themselves out of compliance and facing potential regulatory enforcement actions. At Davis Wright Tremaine (Davis Wright), we understand the regulatory policies that drive potential penalties and have the expertise to anticipate and optimize the legal process.

We excel in devising strategies to resolve enforcement matters when that is the best course of action or to assert the most effective legal defenses when settlement is not the best strategy.

We help clients avoid gravity-based penalties through systematic environmental audits. We have directed, and in some instances conducted, small audits, involving a single facility and/or regulatory program, and large national audits, involving hundreds of facilities in states all across the country. By appropriately taking advantage of federal and state audit policies, we have helped our clients identify violations, self-report, and settle with federal and state agencies for pennies on the dollar.

Directed national compliance audits involving the Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act (EPCRA), Clean Water Act, Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) and related laws in states all across the country. Based on the specific facts in each state, federal and state audit policies were used as appropriate to reduce penalties. Audits done under federal and state audit policies resolved violations without payment of gravity-based penalties, saving the clients millions of dollars.

Pricing Philosophy
As an alternative to the traditional hourly billing model, DWT offers this service at a flat fee.

Practice Highlights

  • Developed a strategy to minimize the potential for state and local enforcement in response to the release of hazardous substances into a local stormwater system.
  • Defended various clients, including a pulp and paper company, in regulatory, judicial civil penalty proceedings and criminal proceedings involving RCRA and state hazardous waste laws. In one instance we helped the client avoid liability by proving that the mishandled material was not, in fact, regulated as hazardous.
  • Settled, for minor penalties, environmental and public health enforcement actions related to inadvertent contamination of workers’ drinking water supply. Measures included substitution of the water supply, medical screening for employees, and cooperation with agencies.
  • Assisted client in avoiding penalties upon the discovery that incorrect NPDES reports had been filed.
  • Conducted nationwide audit, including local Clean Air Act and Fire Code compliance, of facilities using emergency generators and batteries.