While Consumers “Drink Local,” Brewers must “Think Local” About the Environment: Yuengling to Pay Almost $10 Million to Address Environmental Violations

Pursuant to a Consent Decree filed with the Harrisburg, Pennsylvania federal court on June 23rd, D.G. Yuengling and Son, Inc. (“Yuengling”) has reached agreement with the Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) over alleged Clean Water Act violations. It is alleged that Yuengling violated requirements of the Clean Water Act during the seven-year span from 2008 to 2015 related to the discharge of pollutants into the Greater Pottsville Area Sewer Authority municipal wastewater treatment plant. Of notable concern, EPA Regional Administrator Shawn Garvin stated that the alleged violations were “posing a potential risk to the Schuylkill River which provides drinking water to 1.5 million people.” Under the terms of the Consent Decree, which is currently in a 30-day public comment period, Yuengling is on the hook for nearly 10 million dollars, comprised of 2.8 million dollars in penalties and 7 million dollars towards improvements and updates to its facilities and operations. The improvements and updates will include the addition of two certified wastewater treatment operators and comprehensive environmental audits and inspections. The Consent Decree is subject to court review and approval.

Although Yuengling is one of the largest craft brewing companies in the United States by sales volume, it is important for craft brewers of all sizes to ensure that their operations abide by environmental rules and regulations. “Drink local” is a popular motto in the craft brewing community, and brewers should “think local” with respect to their surrounding environment.

You can read the Consent Decree and EPA Complaint on the U.S. Department of Justice website HERE.

Libbie Howley concentrates her practice in business and finance law including business planning, transactional matters, financing, corporate and regulatory compliance issues, and business succession planning. Libbie recently worked on the acquisition by major Northeastern convenience store and gas station operator of all of the stock of a company owning multiple convenience store and retail gas station locations, including extensive due diligence.

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