Minnesota is one of the most beautiful states in the country, with its lush forests, breathtaking waterfalls and pristine lakes. There are few regions you can visit without finding something to make you pause and marvel. You likely agree that those natural wonders are worth protecting, and you make sure your business does its part to avoid causing harm with waste and pollution.
The state and federal governments also make sure you do your part by establishing certain standards you must meet for protecting the land, air and waterways your business affects. In fact, depending on the type of work your company does and the industry with which you are associated, it might seem like you have countless rules and regulations to comply with, with more added each year. At times, you might feel as if those regulations are unfair or unevenly enforced against you.
Holding your business accountable
Most government agencies that oversee environmental causes have a noble purpose: to maintain the health of the environment and the people, flora and fauna that depend on it. To that end, they develop regulations that place limits on the type and amounts of waste a business may produce and systems of enforcement that hold those businesses accountable. Your business likely applied for numerous permits for using or treating water, disposing of waste, or emitting pollutants into the air.
Not only do agents from the various government entities regulate these areas of environmental concern, but they also impose penalties on businesses that fail to comply with the regulations, such as taking the following steps:
- Formal warnings
- Field citations requiring corrective actions or monetary reimbursement
- Sanctions, such as the suspension of your license or permits
- Administrative penalty orders, that include corrective action, fines or both
- Consent decrees, which are quite costly and often involve the oversight of the courts
In fact, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency has imposed nearly $1 million in fines to businesses across the state, including several for hundreds of thousands of dollars. These businesses also face increasing public scrutiny because of the agency’s policy to publicize, in the name of transparency, any violations and enforcement actions they take against a business. Perhaps you see this as overreaching, or maybe you feel the regulations your business faces violate your rights. You may have cause to dispute the penalties or even challenge the legality of the regulation.