Category: Environmental Law

  • Mediation in Environmental Claims

    If you believe you need to bring an environmental claim against another party or if you are facing an environmental claim, it is important to have Tacoma environmental law lawyers handling your case who will explore different alternative dispute resolution1 options whenever possible. One option that can save you time, money and energy is mediation. The following are only some of the many benefits of mediation in an environmental case. Mutually beneficial solutions – In a trial, generally one party “wins” and the other party “loses.” However, in mediation, the parties can agree to a solution that is acceptable for both of them. Mediation sessions can result in more complex resolutions that involve compromise and are not simply in favor of on

  • Legal Claims for Hazardous Waste Disposal

    Many companies produce waste as part of their operations and much of this waste is potentially hazardous to your health. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reports1 that companies produce an estimated 40 million tons of hazardous waste in the United States on an annual basis. This waste can cause illness, birth defects, and other serious medical issues if it gets into the water supply or seeps onto your land. For this reason, the EPA has strict hazardous waste disposal requirements2 to protect the health of those in the area. Unfortunately, not every company complies with the regulations regarding waste disposal because proper waste disposal methods may be more costly than unlawful methods. These companies not only violate the law but often caus

  • Environmental Nuisance Claims

    If you own a company, it is always important to comply with any applicable environmental laws involving clean air, clean water, waste disposal, and more. However, you may still be surprised to find your operation facing a legal action for environmental wrongs. These claims are often based on allegations of environmental nuisance and the claims can be valid even if you are in compliance with the relevant Washington state laws1 and federal environmental laws.2 What is an environmental nuisance? Every property owner has the legal right to use and enjoy their property in a reasonable manner. This also means that an owner may not use their property in a way that interferes with another's use or enjoyment of their own property. Nuisances can commonly includ

  • EPA Directed to Consider Expense of Regulation of New Pollution Sources

    The U.S. Supreme Court stepped in earlier this year after the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) established national caps on the release of mercury and other toxic emissions from power plants. In establishing the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS), the agency weighed the health benefits of the new standards and concluded that the rule would prevent 170,000 asthma attacks, 4,700 heart attacks, and 11,000 early deaths annually. However, the U.S. Supreme Court reversed lower court rulings upholding the rule because the agency failed to consider the economic costs associated with the new standards. An array of parties that include 23 states challenged the new clean air emissions standards based on the failure of the agency to evaluate and consider

  • Environmental Disasters in the U.S.

    Many environmental disasters—such as hurricanes, tornadoes, or earthquakes—are beyond human control. Therefore, outside of insurance coverage, it can be difficult to recover for losses suffered in these disasters. However, some environmental disasters are the result of human action by corporations or other parties. If this is the case, such parties may be held liable for negligence or intentional acts that caused or contributed to the disaster. The following are some of the worst environmental disasters to take place in the United States. Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill – After the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oilrig explosion in the Gulf of Mexico, off the coast of Louisiana, about 210 gallons of oil flowed freely into the water for 87 days before it wa

  • Water Shortage in Washington State

    Water is one of the most valuable and important resources to many businesses and property owners throughout the state of Washington. Recently, water has become even more valuable considering Governor Jay Inslee officially declared a statewide drought emergency1 back in May 2015. Streams and rivers have reached historically low levels and the large majority of the state is being affected by the lack of snowpack, high temperatures, and wildfires. As a result, people and wildlife alike are suffering from the water shortage. To help conserve water, the Tacoma government—along with Seattle and Everett—has advised residents and businesses of ways to reduce water usage, including: Limiting time in the shower Not washing partial loads of clothes

  • The Role of the EPA in Environmental Law

    The Environmental Protection Agency,1 often referred to as the EPA, is a federal agency that is tasked with protecting the environment and human health by writing and enforcing regulations that are promulgated pursuant to federal law. The agency is divided into 10 regional offices, with the Pacific Northwest and Alaska falling under the purview of EPA Region 10. While environmental law comes from a variety of sources and is enforced by multiple agencies, the EPA plays a significant role in the administration of environmental law throughout the United States. Below is some information about the role the EPA plays in U.S. environmental law. For more information or for legal advice regarding a specific situation, call the Dickson Frohlich Phillips Burgess

  • New Clean Water Act Rule Can Affect Washington Farmers

    Streams and drainage systems are imperative to farmland not only to keep fields properly irrigated but also to prevent flooding, especially in times of excess rain. However, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)1 along with the Army Corps recently issued a new rule under the Clean Water Act2 that may add costs and complications to a farmer's management of the stream on the land. Previously, the Clean Water Act and its many requirements only applied to navigable waterways. However, the new rule extends the definition of “waters of the United States” to include many streams, small tributaries, and wetlands. Federal officials justified the expansion of control by stating that even these smaller waterways can have a significant impact on the en

  • What Is an Environmental Impact Statement?

    Many construction and developmental projects may have a significant impact on the surrounding environment. In order to minimize environmental costs, the government often requires that a business or other entity submit a report called an environmental impact statement (EIS)1 to the local government planning board2 for consideration when deciding whether to grant the necessary licenses or permits to begin the project. You always want to ensure that your EIS is skillfully drafted in order to maximize your chances of success with your project. Preparing an environmental impact statement is often one of the first steps in pursuing a project. You want to ensure that you will receive the applicable permits and licenses before you start any major stages of d

  • What Laws Are Issue in a Tacoma Environmental Law Case?

    Legislators in the state of Washington take environmental concerns very seriously and make it a priority to ensure that all residents have a clean, healthy, and safe place to live and work. In order to do so, lawmakers and the Washington Department of Ecology pass and enforce numerous laws and rules that must be followed in regard to a variety of environmental issues. With so many new environmental regulations being created, people may not even be aware that certain environmental law provisions exist but this does not excuse violations of such laws. If you believe that a law has been violated but are unsure, an experienced Tacoma environmental law attorney can help assess your situation. Environmental laws in Washington address guidelines for the fol