Manufacturing companies operate in a highly competitive global marketplace. The manufacturing sector is comprised of diverse establishments engaged in transforming materials and substances into new products through the use of machines, tools, high-tech activities and manual tasks. Segments within the manufacturing sector include aircraft, satellites, defense systems, automobiles, appliances, building materials, personal care products, children’s products, apparel, chemicals, computers and electronic goods.
According to the U.S. National Association of Manufacturers, the United States makes up over one-fifth of the world’s manufacturing industry, followed by China and Japan. In 2015 alone, manufacturing in the U.S. accounted for $1.5 trillion, or approximately 11% of the nation’s GDP.
Companies within the manufacturing sector face a number of complex challenges ranging from domestic and foreign competition to escalating labor and production costs. Countries around the globe are also becoming increasingly aware of the potential harmful impacts manufacturing processes, and resulting processing wastes, may have on the environment. Governments in these nations are implementing stricter rules and standards governing manufacturing operations. This increased regulatory oversight can drive manufacturing costs up dramatically. The U.S. National Association of Manufacturers reports that regulatory compliance costs manufacturing companies an estimated $180.5 billion each year.
Environmental Laws and Regulations Impacting the Manufacturing Sector
Environmental laws and regulations place a tremendous burden on companies operating throughout the manufacturing sector. Over the last two decades, regulatory oversight has been expanding both nationally and internationally resulting in increased expenses for companies operating in this sector.
A myriad of complex environmental laws govern the activities of companies in the manufacturing sector. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Department of Energy (DOE) and many other federal and state governmental bodies share responsibility for setting and enforcing rules and standards designed to protect the health of the environment and the public. Federal and state statutes such as the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA), the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), CEQA and NEPA are just a few of the environmental laws governing manufacturing operations. These laws create significant costs for companies which are pervasive throughout the design, supply chain, manufacturing, marketing, sales, distribution and end-of-life of the product.
Working with Manufacturing Companies to Address Environmental Challenges
The legal team at Bick Law has extensive experience helping manufacturing companies resolve complex environmental challenges. As one of the nation’s leading environmental law firms, we represent a broad range of companies in the manufacturing sector from large multinational corporations to small and mid-size local enterprises.
Our attorneys advise clients on the full spectrum of compliance issues that may arise during the manufacturing and distribution process. We draw upon our vast experience and in-depth understanding of environmental laws help our clients address environmental matters such as:
- Waste Management;
- Natural Resources Management;
- Chemical Bans and Restrictions;
- Product Take-Back Legislation;
- Chemical Notification and Regulation;
- Worker Exposure (e.g., “Clean Rooms” in Semiconductor Manufacturing);
- California’s Safer Consumer Products Act and Proposition 65;
- Electronic Scrap Recycling;
- Hazardous Materials Transport;
- E-Waste Imports and Exports; and
- Property Contamination Onsite and Offsite (CERCLA and state analogs).
Bick Law is committed to providing individualized support and representation to clients in the manufacturing sector. Our California EPA lawyers work with businesses to develop environmental compliance strategies that effectively and efficiently manage their manufacturing operations. We also represent industry clients in toxic tort actions, citizens suits and government agency enforcement actions arising under local, state and federal laws. Additionally, our lawyers work with companies to structure business deals that advance our clients’ interests while protecting them from environmental disputes and issues down the road.