By the time you open your business in a new municipality, you have probably already handled numerous calls, letters and visits from residents expressing their concerns and objections. This is not without good reason. Businesses of any kind often affect the environment, cause the destruction of natural habitats and create a nuisance to nearby communities. For this reason, state and local authorities in Florida have regulations, statutes and laws governing the way businesses must protect the environment from their negative impact.
Before you break ground on a new construction or sink money into commercial property or inventory, you would be wise to learn as much as you can about the laws of regional and federal agencies where you plan to open and operate your business. By meeting with municipal authorities, state regulators and legal professionals, you may be able to avoid violations that may cost you money, damage the reputation of your business or do irreparable harm to the environment.
Protecting your business and the environment
The effect your business may have on the environment may be minimal. However, every industry produces some kind of waste. If your business involves the use of one of the many fragile waterways in Florida, you may be under even more intense government scrutiny than most other kinds of businesses. To maximize the chances that you will avoid violations of the many environmental regulations and laws overseeing businesses, you may want to consider the following:
- Making sure you and your management teams have a firm grasp of all federal and state laws that apply and are aware when new laws go into effect
- Evaluating your business and the potential impact it will have on the environment
- Obtaining all the permits the government requires for your industry and keeping them current
- Taking every necessary step to dispose of all waste properly, not just hazardous waste
- Having a procedure in place for minimizing damage if pollution from your company should pose a threat to the environment, such as a spill or other accident.
Your vigilance does not end when you have obtained all your permits and are open for business. You would be wise to establish a system for monitoring compliance with all relevant laws and for doing whatever you can to keep your operations above reproach. This may include conducting careful self-assessment before routine inspections and relying on sound advice from those who have their fingers on the pulse of regulatory matters.