The US Environmental Protection Agency, also known as EPA, and other state agencies set the regulations according to Congress enactments. This guide by Ellery Shane Gordon, an experienced Law Clerk at the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, who completed his education in Arizona with a ranking in the top 20% of his class, covers all the specifications required when running an environmentally friendly business.
- Environmental Permits:
Some industries, generally manufacturing industries, are required to get environmental permits. This is to ensure that you dispose your waste properly. Permits are also used to protect lands with endangered species, wetlands, etc. Generally environment protection agencies are required to get such permits.
- Common permits required by industries:
- Clean Air Act permits: This is to ensure that industries process the hazardous smoke before releasing it into the atmosphere. This Act has reduced air pollution dramatically and prevented hundreds of serious health ailments caused by air pollution.
- Endangered Species: This Act prohibits activities that can harm endangered species. Such activities might include clearing of forests areas for agriculture, setting up industries near the habitats of such species, etc. You are required to get a permit if any of your business activities include the above.
- Wetlands: You are required to get a permit if any of your activities are close to a wetland. Wetlands are home to hundreds of amphibiotic species and hence state and central law require you to make sure that your activities do not endanger these species.
- RCRA permits: This is to ensure the safe treatment, storage, and disposal of hazardous wastes. They are issued by EPA regional offices.
It is not sufficient if you just obtain these permits. Regular monitoring of the environmental impact of your business is very essential to make sure that there are no issues with the regulatory board. For this, you can establish an EMS (Environmental Management System) in your organization. The targets of your EMS should depend upon the type of business and production activities performed by your organization. They should also depend on the location of the industry.
- The basic functions of an EMS should be as follows:
i) Reviewing the environmental goals
ii)Analyzing environmental impacts
iii) Keeping track of legal requirements
iv) Establishing programs to reach its targets
vi)Ensuring environmental awareness among employees
vii)Ensuring EMS targets are reached and making new plans
- The EMS standards should be according to the ISO 14001 framework.
- Benefits of having an EMS:
1. Prevention of pollution
2. Conservation of resources
3. Less impact on the environment
4. Increased power efficiency
5. Lesser production costs
6. Better public image
7. Increased morale
8. Increased employee awareness
9. New customers
- The five stages of an EMS, as described by the ISO 14001 standard are as follows:
1. Commitment and Policy
This guide covers most of the information required for taking the first step to set up an environmentally friendly business. Wish you the best for success!