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A collection of Federal and State environmental protection laws require landowners and companies to take proper steps to prevent contamination and pollution. It is the responsibility of every party to understand their obligations under these laws and to take proper steps to ensure compliance.

However, instances of oversight may result in Federal or State investigations into allegations of negligence or criminal wrongdoing. A negative result in these investigations can lead to the issuance of fines, the rescission of permits, and even an order to cease operations altogether.

A Raleigh environmental litigation lawyer may be able to help individuals and companies who are facing potential lawsuits. An experienced attorney could work to explain the relevant laws and to build defenses against allegations of violations of the environmental protection laws.

Examples of Laws that Require Protection of the Environment

The Federal government has broad powers to investigate alleged violations of environmental laws and to compel polluters to participate in the cleanup processes. One prime example of this dynamic is The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act, also known as the Superfund.

In short, this Act empowers the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to investigate apparent violations of pollution laws and to require parties to participate in the cleanup. If the alleged polluter fails to cooperate, the EPA can ask a federal court to issue orders requiring participation and the payment of fines. 42 United States Code §9609 states that the President can issue fines of up to $25,000 for each violation of the Act. These fines can compile over time for each day that the problem goes without correction. A Raleigh environmental litigation attorney could help to defend individuals and companies that are facing EPA investigations.

Civil Litigation that May Result from an EPA Investigation

There is no doubt that the EPA has broad powers under the CERCLA to investigate and punish polluters. However, situations may arise where a landowner must bear the costs of cleanup on their property when their own property was not the source of this pollution.

For example, if a party’s land includes a creek that contains an unsafe level of sulfur, the EPA may order that party to cooperate and pay for a cleanup effort. However, the sulfur may only be present on that land because of a mining operation upstream. That landowner may then sue the mine’s owner under the theory of contribution to pay for their share of the cleanup. A Raleigh environmental litigation attorney could take the lead in pursuing these lawsuits in local courtrooms.

It is also possible to pursue environmental litigation directly against a polluter. State laws contain strict regulations for the storage and disposal of pollutants, and a violation may give rise to a private cause of action. For instance, 15 NCAC 13A.0109(r)(2)(D) states that the storage of liquid hazardous waste cannot take place in the recharge area of an aquifer that is a sole drinking water source. The owner of this aquifer may pursue litigation against the owner of the storage facility.

Reach Out to a Raleigh Environmental Litigation Attorney Immediately

The State and Federal laws that control the proper disposal and storage of pollutants are strict. A failure to adhere to these laws could lead to serious legal troubles that could require you to pay fines, forfeit permits, and even cease operations.

Of course, not every allegation of violations is true. In addition, parties may have the right to demand that a third party provide compensation for the costs of a required cleanup effort. However, defending your rights in court and demanding this compensation may be complicated.

A Raleigh environmental litigation lawyer is here to help you. They can work to explain the complex environmental protection laws and your duties to follow them. In cases that involve alleged violations, they can work to protect your reputation and finances in and out of court. This can also include filing lawsuits that demand contribution from third parties. To get started on your case, be sure to schedule a consultation today.