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Technical advocacy and expert witness services often are required to address environmental enforcement or to provide for short term relief from permit terms and/or regulatory requirements. A large integrated manufacturing firm operated a complex industrial source located in California. The facility received several administrative notices of violation from the local air district, and was threatened by civil litigation for alleged exceedances of both its permit terms and conditions as well as EPA and local district prohibitory rules. Additionally, following several information requests under the Clean Air Act (CAA), Section 114 and the Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act (EPCRA), the matter was referred by EPA Region 9 to its Criminal Enforcement group for further investigation. The facility required a comprehensive assessment of its compliance status under the CAA, EPCRA, and Title V air permit. Additionally, technical data and analyses had to be communicated not only to EPA and the local air district, but also to the public who voiced concerns in a number of local air district proceedings.
Working closely with corporate legal counsel and environmental as well as outside environmental counsel, ALG developed a comprehensive strategy to obtain data necessary and sufficient to fully respond to all agency requests. ALG then used a phased approach managed among several ALG project teams to secure and fully analyze these data to document potential exceedances under EPA, local district and permit limits. As part of this technical effort, ALG crafted a document management and production process to assure all data was secured, reviewed and produced as required by EPA information requests. Technical analyses consisting of regulatory applicability, emissions calculation, and impact modeling, were provided to document compliance of alleged exceedances. Several hundred alleged compliance periods were analyzed and fully documented. ALG then synthesized this work product to illustrate that the facility was in substantial compliance with applicable regulations; where exceedances occurred, impact to exposed persons did not exceed local air district risk thresholds. Working with corporate legal and environmental management and outside counsel, our technical advocacy was provided to both EPA and local district staff, and provided the technical basis for settlement of all enforcement actions. Follow-on discussions with district staff documented that potential exposures to nearby residences were well within district incremental risk thresholds.
ALG successfully assisted our client in fully responding to sequential EPA information requests, and provided the technical basis to assess all alleged exceedances. Our technical work was reviewed by EPA headquarters, Criminal Investigation Division and regional staff, as well as local district legal and technical staff. Moreover, our work product provided the basis for resolution of all claims against our client. This work was conducted within a compressed period, and illustrated ALG’s deep understanding of EPA and local district regulations, and ability to translate complex regulatory applicability and impact analyses in an accurate, clear, persuasive and professional manner.