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Environmental compliance for small business owners

Small business owners face a number of challenges to keep up with bigger corporate competitors. Trying to meet these high expectations can feel daunting, but the success of your business is worth the added effort.

Environmental compliance comprises one set of expectations your business needs to meet. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency monitors and regulates potential violations in order to maintain natural resources.

Small businesses are subject to EPA regulations the same way as their bigger competitors, but the agency has long-standing policies in place to attempt to lessen the burden of meeting regulatory standards. The regulators have recognized the impact of regulations on business owners and devised solutions to mitigate the necessary burden of compliance.

Self-disclosure as the ideal model

The agency announced in May that it's refocusing on voluntary disclosure as a means of collaborating with small businesses in their regulatory scheme. Voluntary disclosures allow business owners to confront a potential violation on their own terms before the EPA begins an audit.

Self-disclosure comes with added benefits for business owners as an incentive to work with the agency to resolve potential violations. The chance to disclose a potential violation before an EPA audit allows business owners to avoid financial and timeline-based penalties in the correction process.

How to disclose a potential violation

The agency streamlined the process of disclosing a potential violation with its eDisclosure system. EPA reports self-disclosures of potential regulatory violations nearly doubled since its eDisclosure program launched in 2016.

In addition to the federal agency, Pennsylvania business owners can consult the Environmental Management Assistance Program through the state Department of Environmental Protection to understand the regulatory process in-state.

You can contact the state agencies to confidentially discuss any compliance questions you may have.

Your business should not be in jeopardy because of a potential environmental violation. The regulatory system is not in place to hurt small businesses, but to foster safe standards for natural resources.

You shouldn't need to worry about losing your business because of non-compliance. Know your rights and responsibilities as a business owner and don't be wary of reaching out to additional resources to clear up any concerns you may have.

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Law Firm of William E. Otto
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