There is a long checklist of tasks that you must complete when starting a business. You should choose a business entity form and address, register it with the government, and apply for a tax identification number with the IRS. All these steps and registration should be done at the local, state, and federal levels.
After completing your registrations, you’ll need to identify the tax obligations and environmental regulations that you should adhere to. While your tax obligations can be relayed to you by the IRS, environmental regulations can be determined through the licenses and permits you need to acquire. Plus, licenses and permits depending on the nature of your business.
Environmental regulations are implemented mainly to protect the environment and the health of your customers, staff, and the public. In fact, according to the IZA Institute of Labor Economics, although
environmental regulations can cost businesses, providing more benefits that society can take advantage of.
This is more true today, considering the issues surrounding climate change. Businesses today aim for sustainability, which is a good objective.
However, from regulated chemicals to proper disposal of industrial and commercial wastes, it’s overwhelming for any business to keep up with all the myriad regulations. You should know the basics and the ones that are required for the type of business you have. The process is required, but can be time-
consuming and tedious. To help lessen your worries about these regulations, this article will explain the basic and most common regulations that businesses should adhere to.
Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA)
The TSCA allows the government to test, screen, and regulate all chemicals produced or imported by US companies before they can be used in products or sold to customers. This law also enables the government to track all chemicals used by companies to ensure that such substances pose no health or hazardous threat to humans or the environment. It also ensures proper cleanup of toxic chemical contamination is implemented.
Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA)
The SDWA ensures that drinking water in the country is safe and high-quality, free from impurities. It is applied to water sources both underground and above ground that are later sent to households and businesses for human consumption.
CERCLA and RCRA
The CERCLA (Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act) and RCRA (Resource Conservation and Recovery Act) contain provisions for the management, generation, treatment, transportation, storage, and disposal of non-hazardous and hazardous waste.
RCRA focuses on current facilities, those that are yet to be built, and those that are being built. CERCLA, on the other hand, focuses on historical and abandoned sites and situations that require an emergency response, such as spills.
Pollution Prevention Act
The Pollution Prevention Act focuses on preventing pollution. To do so, it implements improvisations and modifications on how private companies and government agencies produce, operate, and use raw materials. It also pushes the recycling and reuse of materials. However, this law doesn’t contain provisions on how to address pollution when it’s already in the environment.
National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES)
The NPDES regulates stormwater from industrial and construction activities and municipal storm sewer systems. This emphasizes the need for and importance of municipal street highway sweeping. It prevents polluted stormwater from entering local surface waters.
Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA)
The EPCRA contains provisions that help protect the environment and the public from chemical hazards. In general, it enables the public to be informed about chemical hazards in the environment where they live and the emergency procedures they should follow in case of a hazardous emergency.
Clean Water Act
The Clean Water Act ensures persons, establishments, and organizations that discharge pollutants in US waters are made legally responsible for their acts. It monitors toxic pollutants, funds sewage treatment plants, and authorizes private individuals to file lawsuits against guilty parties.
Clean Air Act
The Clean Air Act ensures air emissions from both private and public organizations are safe to breathe. It covers mobile and stationary sources and addresses air toxins, ozone depletion, and acid rain.
The EPA Can Help You
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is the federal agency that oversees the implementation of environmental regulations you’ve learned here. They may be your foe at times, preventing you from continuing to run your business like you always do. However, they can also help you follow the same regulations that they implement, especially if you have a small business.
The Office of the Small Business Ombudsman under the EPA can provide you with information about pollution prevention and environmental compliance. Thankfully, even before you contact them for help, you are aware of some of the most basic environmental laws that you should follow.