Assertive, persistent, patient
yet highly responsive to emergency situations, tactful, direct,
experienced, expert – all describe the essential ingredients of success
in the environmental arena. These are the attributes applied
by Tether Law to the sensitive, sometimes arbitrary issues
that arise in environmental regulation and litigation.
The following are examples of recent work in several environmental
areas by Ivan Tether:
variances so that production can continue in the face
of unexpected failure of environmental compliance, without
fear of fines or penalties. (Requires as much mitigation
of environmental harm and positive environmental steps
as possible, but can provide dispensations for continued
operation for up to several years.)
See "Update: Resolving Air Quality Issues".
Negotiating a resolution that allowed an oil company to ship its oil by truck when a major pipeline became blocked. The company lacked a permit for truck shipping, yet by swift action in applying for a permit was granted a temporary permit while the application was processed by the air district.
emergency variances (within 24 hours of an equipment breakdown
that resulted in temporary non-compliance) so that operations
could continue with minimal environmental effect, meet
deadlines and avoid severe market loss.
Notices of Violation, with very large potential penalties
under California Health & Safety Code Section 42402
et seq., down to manageable penalties, sometimes based
in part on improved operating practices and training,
which help avoid future problems and reduce current penalties
a major trade association in negotiation with air quality
staff during development of rules, so that these association
members can comply with the rules, more easily, with better
environmental results, and more economically.
a way for a manufacturer to continue use of a non-complying
adhesive, critical in the making of public safety equipment,
until that manufacturer could develop an effective alternative
a way for a high-quality printing operation to meet its
"do-or-die" printing contracts, while operating
in non-compliance, yet minimizing any negative environmental
the gap, by a variance or negotiated settlement, where
air agency delay in issuing permits causes the client
to miss a compliance deadline.
Hazardous Waste, including Proposition 65 Litigation
experience representing private parties in litigation over property
contamination leading to acceptable settlements, avoiding trial, and minimizing costs to clients.
negotiation – even after receiving an unlawful detainer
(notice to move out) – on behalf of a dry cleaner
who experienced contamination beneath its shop. The
contamination, while limited to a few parts per million,
nonetheless required environmental cleanup under very
stringent standards of the US Environmental Protection
Agency. After long and persistent negotiation, the landlord
agreed to pay the larger share of the cleanup costs and
allow the dry cleaner to continue as a tenant. The dry
cleaner, using publicly available grants, and relying
on its experienced staff, switched its cleaning to a water-based
system to guarantee against future environmental problems.
the help of an expert scientific consultant, negotiated
penalties (with the California Department of Toxic Substances
and the Office of the Attorney General of the State of
California) for hazardous waste management violations
for a metals client to an acceptable level.
several clients against private "bounty-hunter"
plaintiffs alleging violations of California’s "Prop.
65," the 1986 law that requires labeling and notice
of all exposure to carcinogens and reproductive toxins. Settlement
amounts were a small fraction of the plaintiffs' initial
demands, and involved innovative application of technology,
at modest cost, by the clients.
with expert "number crunchers" and exerted bi-partisan
political pressure on the US Environmental Protection
Agency to substantially reduce their demand to 190 clients to settle for clean-up of legally disposed of waste to the hazardous waste
dump in Casmalia, Santa Barbara County, California. No
client was charged over $3,500; some clients' settlement
costs were cut by over $100,000.
of Federal Regulations
University Law School
Angeles Superior Court
Coast Air Quality Management District