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What Is Regulatory Environmental Compliance?

Compliance monitoring ensures companies adhere to environmental regulations that reduce businesses’ impact on the environment and preserve natural resources. Green movements have received more attention in recent years, creating more pressure on companies to address environmental concerns. However, this often comes with a price, as green measures can be expensive to implement.

No matter what field your business occupies, you need to stay abreast of environmental regulations and engage in reporting to remain in compliance. The penalties for breaching the law can be steep. Plus, many companies consider environmental regulatory compliance part of their business ethic.. Socially conscious companies appreciate the guidance of these laws.

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What Is Regulatory Environmental Compliance?

Regulatory compliance refers to staying within the bounds of laws, guidelines and standards that govern the business operation. Environmental regulatory compliance includes guidelines related to the environment. The number and scope of environmental regulations has grown in recent years. All the rules are designed to safeguard the environment.

Companies are responsible for performing their due diligence concerning environmental policies and regulations. Because of the complexity of the regulatory atmosphere, it helps to have consultants who understand guidelines and can assist you with navigating how they affect your company to ensure you comply with all necessary regulations.

Regulation also ensures greater safety for those working within an industry. It also puts all businesses on the same page, to avoid confusion over expectations or miscommunication about standards. Regulatory compliance requirements are published publicly for reference, allowing companies to consult them as needed.

The Significance of Compliance in Development Projects

Everyone is responsible for taking care of the earth, and as a business, you have a greater responsibility than most. As you represent the interests of dozens, hundreds or even thousands of individuals, they expect you to do what’s right, and that includes following the ethics of environmental compliance. You also hold more financial power than most individuals, allowing you to contribute more to the future we hope for.

When you fail to do this, you also face more consequences than the average person. For example, from the moment you establish your company, you’re required to adhere to environmental regulatory compliance measures set forth by local and federal governing agencies. If you’re caught operating outside of those guidelines, you can face fines and other penalties. Plus, if your customers find out, you risk losing them as sources of income, as they may choose to give their business to another brand that more closely aligns with their beliefs.

What Agencies Are Responsible?

There are a few agencies involved in making sure your business is within environmental regulatory compliance. Most notably, these organizations are responsible for businesses throughout the United States:

  • Environmental Protection Agency: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) develops environmental regulations and sets compliance monitoring and enforcement guidelines. These regulations are intended to protect human health and the environment. The EPA offers auditing and performance standards to encourage regulatory compliance and completes compliance reviews to give you site-specific recommendations.
  • The Department of the Interior: Responsible for the management of land and natural resources, the U.S. Department of the Interior is devoted to making sure any natural resources are used properly and replaced where possible.

What Agencies Are Responsible?

Depending on where you live, there are also likely state and local agencies with environmental compliance regulations related to your area’s particular needs and resources.

What Sectors Are Regulated?

Nearly every sector faces environmental regulatory compliance requirements. No business is exempt from these regulations, and the larger the industry, the more detailed the compliance factors. Below are just a few sectors that are regulated:

  • Health care
  • Manufacturing
  • Public administration
  • Government
  • Automotive
  • Mining
  • Water and sewage
  • Dry cleaning
  • Forestry and logging
  • Educational services

Environmental Impact Assessments: Navigating the Process for Infrastructure Projects

Regardless of your industry, your impact assessment will likely involve:

  • Screening: This step helps industries determine whether they need a full environmental assessment, and if they do, at what level.
  • Preliminary assessment: This first assessment is shorter and more informal than the full version. It allows the assessment team to take inventory of any environmental concerns they see and determine if a full study is necessary.
  • Full study: If necessary, the assessment team will complete a full study that includes a comprehensive and detailed analysis of various environmental impacts.

How Is Environmental Compliance Enforced?

The EPA provides regular monitoring of environmental compliance, which can take many forms, including:

  • Performing on-site inspections and credentialing
  • Monitoring off-site compliance, such as data collection and program coordination
  • Monitoring on-site compliance, such as routine investigation and compliance inspections

Mitigating Risks Through Effective Environmental Compliance Auditing

Environmental compliance audits are critical in identifying and remedying non-compliance issues. To ensure they’re as effective as possible in finding and fixing these concerns, employ these strategies as you prepare for your next audit:

  • Have a detailed environmental management plan: Long-term environmental compliance requires some form of management plan to stay successful. As your audit approaches, you can use this plan to update your goals and show the auditor where you excel and where they may need to pay close attention to ensure compliance.
  • Keep and collect detailed action reports: Having a plan is excellent, but it doesn’t mean anything if your staff isn’t following it. By creating a reporting system that requires staff to detail compliance with your management plan, you can more closely monitor your progress and make adjustments in real time, allowing you to put your best foot forward with every audit.
  • Appoint people to monitor compliance: When something is everyone’s responsibility, it’s more than likely no one’s. In general, you should have a person or team in charge of monitoring compliance and reporting issues to people who can fix them, but this role becomes especially important in the time leading up to an audit.
  • Encourage reporting with rewards: In most cases, instances of noncompliance are no one’s fault. Still, they need to be reported and addressed prior to an audit to prevent delays in workflow. Many employees will avoid reporting noncompliance issues in fear of retaliation or simply because they may have to do more work if they report it, resulting in more penalties for your business down the line. You may be able to change this thought process by offering bonuses or using an anonymous reporting system to encourage staff to go one step further.

See TRC’s Regulatory Environmental Compliance Services

The best way to maintain environmental compliance is to have experts on your side. The professional team at TRC Companies has in-field experience and has assisted many businesses like yours. Contact us today to get a quote on our regulatory environmental compliance services.

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