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How do Green Laws impact small businesses?

How do Green Laws impact small businesses?

SML Perspectives
(April 2, 2012)

Dave Neill: For a small business, it is often the perceived learning curve that has the greatest impact. Larger companies have often developed a certain level of comfort with sustainable development standards. For a small business, the first experience with the requirements and opportunities presented by such regulations can be very intimidating. In our experience, these fears are focused typically on worries regarding additional costs, additional regulatory oversight, and the possible need to identify new suppliers and contractors.

Green business practices in the land development sector are growing. The identification of an experienced consultant early in the process—whether that be an engineer, architect, or attorney—can be a great help in calming fears for a small business entering this arena for the first time.

With the right assistance, the worries regarding green regulations can be minimized and opportunities to leverage sustainable development laws for business growth and profit maximized.

Ted Edwards: Every business produces waste, and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has guidelines for businesses in all industries. Some substances that are corrosive, flammable, toxic, or reactive require more careful disposal than others. These are regulated by such laws as the Toxic Substances Control Act, the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, and the Pollution Prevention Act.

While businesses must spend time and resources complying with these laws, there are also other opportunities presented by the EPA that encourage redevelopment of properties contaminated by hazardous waste known as Brownfields properties. By alleviating liability for prospective developers, and offering grants, loans, and funding, the EPA can offset the cost of assessments and clean-ups of a qualifying property.

The impact of green laws on small business can be costly, but under certain circumstances, they can also be used to create advantages if you are willing to navigate the red tape.

Click here to view the full digital version of the The Legal Business Guide edition of SML Perspectives.

David J. Neill
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