Pete Anderson and Ed Grauman Quoted in Law360's Environmental Disaster Survival Guide

Principals Pete Anderson (Washington, DC) and Ed Grauman (Austin) were quoted in an April 1-5 series of articles in Law360 titled “Environmental Disaster Survival Guide.” The article discusses how clients can deal with environmental disasters, focusing on the preparation, crisis, and aftermath.

Environmental Disaster Survival Guide: Preparation

Pete said that a company should look at any past incidents while preparing for new crisis management. "Many regulators note that environmental history is prologue. Accordingly, one specific exercise is to carefully review past environmental incidents or 'near misses' within the company's own past experience, as well as those within its industry. Once those top risks have been identified, the next step involves developing and implementing effective risk mitigation strategies."

Ed noted that a company should ensure its insurance needs are understood and addressed. "A critical aspect of disaster preparedness is maintaining a robust environmental insurance program. At-risk companies need to consider obtaining broad coverage through a pollution legal liability or similar policy, which can often include coverage for emergency response costs, business interruption and other losses that may be incurred as the result of an environmental disaster. A good broker can help find the right coverage, and counsel can play a valuable role in identifying legal gaps in the company’s existing insurance program and negotiating policy language."

He also noted that good record keeping is key to maximizing insurance recovery in the event of a disaster.

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Environmental Disaster Survival Guide: The Crisis

Pete commented on how a company should manage their PR response during an environmental crisis, saying public relations can include cooperating with the various regulatory agencies in giving them the information they need to properly respond to minimize the harms and risks. "In the midst of uncertainties, and incomplete information, company representatives need to make sure every statement made is accurate and well-supported, and the open communications are maintained. This communication includes both efforts within the company, with the regulators, with the public, as well as with all other stakeholders."

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Environmental Disaster Survival Guide: The Aftermath

During an environmental crisis, Pete advises that attorneys not let their efforts lag when the dizzying pace of immediate response efforts has died down. “After the immediate crisis passes, while many company leaders are relieved, they need to recognize that much work still remains."

He also stated that companies should make just as many efforts to promote healthy communications and outreach during a crisis response. “The company needs to demonstrate ‘good corporate citizenship’ by taking efforts to voluntarily remedy any harm or injuries that were caused by the violations or catastrophe. This should not be delayed or done as part of any government settlement but because it should be implemented right away [and] because it is the ‘right thing to do.’”

Ed stressed the importance of identifying any insurance policies that may apply to the loss as soon as possible after a disaster has occurred. “Companies often leave a lot of money on the table just by forgetting that they even have applicable coverage. And it’s important to check not only the company’s own policies but also those of other entities who may have named the company as an additional insured."

Click here for the full article (subscription required).​​​​​​​