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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:

Air Quality

Obtaining 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.
Obtaining 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.
Negotiating 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 even further.
Representing 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.
Negotiating 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 adhesive.
Negotiating 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 effects.
Bridging 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

Considerable experience representing private parties in litigation over property contamination — leading to acceptable settlements, avoiding trial, and minimizing costs to clients.
Persistent 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.
With 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.
Represented 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.
Worked 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.


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