In developing an Environmental Management System (EMS), it is critical to know the laws and regulations that apply to your company. There are a number of subscriber services that can keep you abreast of changing regulations and proposed rule changes. A couple of services that I have used, or am currently using, include: the Environmental Compliance Alert and IHS CyberRegs. These services are inexpensive and work quite well.
Another excellent source of information is your local trade group or organization. Here in Nevada, the Nevada Mining Association (NMA) is an organization that meets regularly to discuss current topics and issues as well as discuss proposed rule changes and regulations relevant to the mining industry. The NMA meetings provide a venue to meet business leaders and network with technical experts in your industry.
Regulatory permits are another excellent resource to research and understand the applicable laws and regulations. State permits will often contain regulatory citations which can be researched and reviewed online. The Nevada Revised Statutes (NRS) and Nevada Administrative Code (NAC) provide the basis for all of the State administered programs, while the Code of Federal Regulations provides the basis for the federal programs.
Finally, regulators themselves can provide an excellent resource of information. Develop relationships with the regulators and schedule regular meetings with them. This provides an opportunity to showcase your property’s areas of excellence, as well as establish lines of communication for future issues and developments. At the time of permit renewal, ask the regulators if you can review the draft permit before it is issued. While not all regulators will accommodate this request, it can be an effective strategy to make points of compliance and permit requirements more manageable. A review of the draft permit will also help to clarify ambiguous statements and provide a clear vision of what compliance will look like.
I welcome comments and feedback to all of my blogs. What has proven successful for you in staying informed of changing environmental regulations?