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Is there a defense for EPA violations caused by malfunctions?

The level of detail involved in running a business can be mind boggling. Employers have many regulations to follow involving such issues as employee rights and workplace safety. And even if a company does its level best to adhere to all relevant local, state and federal regulations, it could still find itself faced with allegations of wrongdoing.

If you operate a business that uses equipment that emits gases into the environment, you are likely aware you are required to follow all applicable federal regulations as outlined by the Environmental Protection Agency.

But let's say that, through the course of operations, some of your equipment malfunctions, releasing an emissions level that is in violation of current standards. Do you have any defense should you be assessed penalties for the violation?

The short answer is yes, it is possible to mount a defense. But you will bear the burden of proof in demonstrating the violation occurred due to an unexpected malfunction. You must also be able to show that the occurrence was not avoidable or preventable. Additionally, you need to prove the malfunction was not indicative of a pattern of similar events caused by failures of operation, design or maintenance of the equipment.

This only is a portion of what is required to form a defense for an emissions violation occurring during a malfunction. Defending yourself against such charges could be a complex process. But your company's reputation and financial future may be at stake if you accept paying steep penalties for violations that could not have been prevented.

If you are ever accused of emissions standards violations, you may benefit from the knowledge and representation of a Louisiana attorney familiar with environmental laws.

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