[Podcast] Managing Environmental Compliance in the Trump Era

May 28, 2019 Emma Swan

Keeping up with the everchanging regulatory landscape can be challenging – particularly when it comes to maintaining environmental compliance. At the federal level, the Trump administration has and continues to pursue a largely deregulatory agenda, while emphasizing compliance assistance over enforcement. Meanwhile, individual states are beginning to introduce stricter regulations which arguably results in a complex environment for EHS professionals.

To help shed some light on the evolving regulatory environment, Cority’s Ian Cohen was recently a guest on the EHS on Tap podcast, where he outlined what EHS managers can do to keep on top of regulations and deregulations:

 

Rollbacks and Enforcement

While rollbacks have taken place around many regulations, we have also seen enforcement at the federal level drop significantly – both in terms of criminal convictions and civil penalties. With this much uncertainty, the question remains: what’s the level of risk for noncompliance enforcement?

Although the risk of EPA enforcement actions is currently low, no organization should ever cut corners when it comes to complying with environmental regulations as the consequence can be high, both in terms of reputational costs and financial losses. Not all publicity is good publicity and no business wants to be known as a polluter or seen as not sustainable or a socially responsible company.

To make things even more complex,  with the rollbacks happening at the federal level, it appears as though many states are picking up the slack and pushing forward new state-level regulatory trends which directly effect businesses both inside and outside those regions. These trends vary widely depending on the state, and many forward-thinking states are pushing toward regulations around climate change and fuel efficiency. Businesses should be cautious of what is to come, especially those operating multiple facilities in multiple states.

Moving Beyond Compliance

Staying on top of all these regulatory and legislative changes and understanding what to do to comply with regulations is tough to say the least. Many organizations are now implementing technology solutions to centralize and standardize regulatory content and information so they have a holistic view of regulatory requirements, can audit against those requirements, identify which reports they need to submit to an agency, and ultimately know for sure how to stay in compliance.

Plus, by leveraging technology, organizations can begin to move beyond compliance and further demonstrate their value across the organization. EHS professionals have always collected a lot of data, but now they can use that data to track and trend processes and program performance and identify areas for improvement or determine if there are more environmentally or socially responsible ways to produce their products or generate energy.

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