Environmental Management Systems
Katten’s Environmental team guides clients with reliable insight into how regulators, enforcers, shareholders and other stakeholders are likely to evaluate corporate environmental compliance efforts and corporate governance structures. We counsel clients in several industries who are involved in the design and implementation of compliance systems that meet the criteria set forth in the U.S. Sentencing Commission’s Organizational Sentencing Guidelines, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Audit Policy, and other applicable guidance. Our goal is to provide companies with the tools they need to ensure that their compliance assurance processes can be held to the highest standards of competence and sophistication. This requires, among other things, clarity of purpose and successful implementation coupled with the ability to integrate change management and process improvements, as necessary.
Recent engagements include:
- Conducting a review of a major energy company’s environmental practice group, including an assessment of the group’s structure and function in providing shared compliance services across a diverse array of business units.
- Providing a compliance assessment and related advice on Clean Air Act regulatory applicability reviews, a company’s “management of change” (MOC) process, and the Title V compliance review and certification processes for over a dozen of the company’s facilities.
- Conducting a Health, Environment and Safety (HES) management system review of a large utility company benchmarked against criteria in the U.S. Sentencing Commission’s Guidelines Manual and the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002.
- Assessing the implementation of the Environmental Management System of a large, multinational engineered materials company.
- Reviewing the Environmental Management System for a specialty chemicals company, a fertilizer company, a refining company, one of the nation’s top four railroad companies, and one of the world’s largest heavy duty civil engineering and construction companies.
- Participating in corporate audits and corporate compliance reviews of HES management systems, including gap analyses and improvement opportunities.
- Providing HES compliance training, reviewing MOC processes, and developing compliance tools such as a Prevention of Significant Deterioration workbook.
Both government and private litigants have vastly expanded the scope of their inquiries into our clients’ records. It is critical to any case that the potential liability from the failure to properly collect and preserve relevant records (such as claims of spoliation or obstruction) be dealt with quickly, efficiently and in a manner that courts and government agencies have come to expect. Our lawyers’ keen understanding of e-discovery issues, coupled with our substantive environmental and internal investigation experience, provide our clients with prompt and clear counsel on how to address the considerable risks posed by record retention and production requirements. Our lawyers also routinely counsel clients on the design and implementation of record retention policies, procedures and training, to ease the strain of responding to record requests that are both routine and out of the ordinary.
Legal obligations regarding the preservation and disclosure of electronically stored information present various unique challenges and practical considerations for companies facing litigation, investigations or other requests for production of electronic information. Environmental data are increasingly being monitored and recorded on sophisticated Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition systems, requiring both subject matter expertise and forensic retrieval capacity. With the volume and pervasiveness of digitized information expanding at exponential rates, it has become increasingly critical for organizations to proactively assess and address their information management strategy and state of litigation readiness. Developing and consistently implementing defensible and efficient records retention policies and practices is essential to success in this area. On the other hand, failure to thoughtfully navigate the digital seas can be costly, even disastrous.