The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (“DEQ”) and Washington Department of Ecology (“DOE” or “Ecology”) can be pretty heavy handed with their enforcement actions, and for good reason. But these agencies (or rather, agency staff) don’t always get their facts right and sometimes misapply statutes and rules. Even when the fact of noncompliance is not at issue, the reasons why the violation occurred are often mitigating factors. Whenever DEQ or Ecology takes issue with the way you are operating, it’s a good idea to be represented by a qualified environmental law firm such as Environmental Compliance. Even when DEQ or Ecology agree to substantially reduce or defer the penalty assessment, it’s a good idea to have an attorney look at the Notice of Violation before you sign a Settlement Agreement. Penalty reductions often come with stipulations that can seriously compromise your defenses if the issue ever arises again, including the right to prove that the alleged conduct is no violation at all, and “prior” violations can increase the penalty for future mishaps three-fold. It doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg to have your NOV looked over. Call us as soon as you receive your Notice.