2021 came to a close with additional regulatory changes and progress towards environmental goals.

In December, we saw:

In recent news, remarks from the Department of Justice indicate that companies should expect more robust investigations and enhanced enforcement policies moving into 2022 and beyond.

As 2022 begins, we highlight the following in this month’s Compliance News:

Ask an Expert: Management systems

Join BC’s Management Systems Specialty Leader Nicole Cass-Hausler as she shares insight into the proactive steps you can take toward building business value, managing risk, and creating long-term sustainability. Read “Ask an Expert”

WOTUS definition remains fluid

The EPA and Department of the Army Corps of Engineers posted proposed updates to the “waters of the United States” (WOTUS) definition.

Streamlined CWA permitting rule

The Army Corps of Engineers issued a final rule for reissuance and modification of nationwide permits under the Clean Water Act (CWA) for projects involving discharges of dredge or fill material to jurisdictional waters.

Ask an Expert: How a proactive management system can help reduce EHS risk and achieve compliance

In this month’s feature, BC’s Nicole Cass-Hausler talks about the environmental, health, safety, and compliance benefits of management systems.

Question: Our facility is looking to reduce our environmental, health, and safety (EHS) risk while also achieving compliance. What kind of approach do you recommend to review our current EHS practices while also identifying areas for potential improvement?

Answer: Nicole Cass-HauslerWhile every facility or company has specific needs and challenges, investing time, energy, and budget into a management system (MS) is a proactive step towards building business value, effectively managing risk, and creating long-term sustainability.

An MS is a systematic, documented process that empowers organizations to identify and manage environmental compliance risks, streamline operations, measure performance, control EHS or energy related costs, and minimize pollution and incidents — all with the goal of documenting superior performance that meets expectations of customers, shareholders, employees, regulators, and other stakeholders.

MS programs focus on forward thinking and action, improving performance by using a single system across all functions of your organization where possible. MS benefits include:

Regulatory compliance

  • Raises compliance assurance while lowering risk levels
  • Provides the structure, control, and communication mechanisms that reduce noncompliance
  • Demonstrates accountability, building credibility among stakeholders and regulators

Improved operations

  • Enhances understanding of how and where environmental impacts, health and safety risks, and energy use affect operations, leading to more reliable and predictable performance
  • Facilitates communication of goals, procedures, hazards and risks, impacts, and solutions among various facilities

Cost control

  • Reduces EHS incidents and the associated expense of corrective actions
  • Improves employee health and safety, resulting in greater productivity and reduced insurable risk

Social benefits

  • Creates a common language and approach to EHS and energy issues
  • Builds social capital and brand value within the public domain
  • Increases positive public perception and relations

Because management systems focus on continual improvement, negative effects of operation are minimized, and compliance with laws, regulations, and other EHS or energy commitments are improved.

About the experts

Meghan Krishnayya, Indianapolis, is the Compliance & Permitting Service Line Director for Brown and Caldwell, with expertise in environmental regulatory program strategy development and implementation.

Nicole Cass-Hausler is Brown and Caldwell’s Management Systems Specialty Leader based in Houston. As a principal environmental scientist, she has 17 years of experience in environmental compliance and management and implementing environmental programs to systematically integrate compliance into operations.

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