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2008 Election Alert: No Matter Who Wins, Environmental Enforcement Activity Will Increase Sharply. Are You Prepared?

September 24, 2008

As a change of Administration approaches, most observers believe that the presidential candidates of both parties will be committed to more aggressive environmental policies and more vigorous enforcement activity.  Based on their positions on environmental policy and on the record of their principal environmental advisers, either Barack Obama or John McCain can be expected to endeavor to expand key environmental programs and increase the frequency and intensity of enforcement activity.  Regulated industry – from oil & gas exploration and production to power generation to refining to cement to chemicals manufacturing – will almost certainly face stricter scrutiny in the near future.  Significant potential compliance, enforcement, and liability risks can be sharply reduced by performing well-designed environmental compliance audits before you find yourself in the crosshairs of federal, state, and local regulators or environmentalist groups on these issues.  Bracewell & Giuliani is helping numerous clients to develop and implement effective  environmental compliance audits to better ensure that their house is in order prior to the next inspection, notice of violation, or civil claim and to obtain early, favorable resolutions of their potential compliance-related exposures.
As EPA prepares to transition to a new administration and regulated industry seems likely to face heightened environmental compliance and enforcement challenges under a new president, Bracewell & Giuliani has found carefully constructed environmental compliance audits to be an important tool for many of our clients.  A properly designed audit can help:

  • Determine what potential compliance concerns may exist and allow a company to proactively address the problems before litigation or enforcement occurs
  • Identify compliance concerns that, if properly managed and disclosed, may be eligible for a substantial reduction of or even immunity from potential federal or state penalties
  • Carefully self-evaluate compliance without creating a discoverable documentary road map of your proactive efforts for enforcers, environmentalists, or plaintiffs lawyers by taking advantage of available legal privileges

Bracewell & Giuliani is nationally recognized for its work on environmental audits and audit privilege and immunity issues.  Every day we work with our clients' management and environmental personnel and with top independent environmental consulting firms to design and implement audit programs that can best help companies achieve and maintain compliance, appropriately manage and correct identified concerns, and protect their legal interests with respect to privilege, enforcement, and liability.   We believe that a coming era of increased attention to environmental concerns warrants careful consideration of well-designed compliance audits as a tool to help your company get ahead of these issues and to become confidently prepared for increasing scrutiny that appears likely, if not inevitable.