Environmental Violation Lawyers
What If I Have Been Harmed by an Action that is not an Environmental Violation?
Government agencies are in charge of preventing people from being harmed by environmental violations. However, many times actions that do not violate any laws cause harm to you or your property. Since no laws are violated, the government is generally powerless to stop such environmentally harmful actions.
If the Government Cannot Do Anything, What Can I Do?
Even if the government cannot do anything, you can prevent the environmental harm from continuing to occur. Here are a few of the more common options:
- Private nuisance: This type of lawsuit can be brought when there is an interference with the use and enjoyment of your land. For example, a company one block from your home produces dust for months. If this dust ends up on your front lawn or keeps you from opening your windows, you can bring a private nuisance claim even though the company has not violated any laws.
- Public nuisance: This type of lawsuit can be brought when there is an interference with the common right of the general public. For example, a toxic plant pollutes the air over an entire city. As a resident in that city, you can bring a public nuisance lawsuit even though the toxic plant is in compliance with environmental laws.
- Citizen suits: The most important environmental laws have specific provisions that allow citizens to file lawsuits. However, a violation of an environmental law must occur. For example, a mining company violates the Clean Water Act by polluting too much into a river. As a citizen who lives downstream, you can bring a citizen suit to address their violations. Some important points about citizen suits:
- Most important: find an attorney or an environmental organization to help you bring a citizen suit. Citizen suits have many requirements that must be met or else the suit will be thrown out of court.
- If you win the lawsuit, you most likely will not get damages. However, the courts will require the company to comply with the laws or cease operation while forcing them to pay heavy penalties.
- Public participation: speak up! If you and your community get involved and make your voices heard, it can have a great impact on getting what you want.
How Will I Know Which Type of Suit to Bring?
The best way to find out is to contact an experienced environmental attorney. A lawyer will be able to inform you of the best options to pursue.
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Last Modified: 05-25-2010 11:30 AM PDT
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