When an organization encounters an unexpected environmental problem, the cost of resolving it can be significant, sometimes even threatening the future viability of the organization. Tonkon Torp recently helped a small, Northwest nonprofit organization, Columbia Dance Center, resolve such an issue.
After a seven-year legal and regulatory process, environmental attorney Jeanette Schuster secured a "No Further Action" letter from the Washington State Department of Ecology for the dance company, located in Vancouver, Washington. At issue was a small pocket of contamination under the building which the dance company had purchased nearly a decade ago. Relying on environmental reports from the seller and broker, the dance company was unaware of any contamination issues, and had laid an expensive, three-layer floor designed for dance on top of the existing floor. A subsequent application for refinancing the building loan led to the discovery of the contamination.
Schuster worked with the Department of Ecology to negotiate appropriate testing and mitigation actions that would resolve the contamination issue in a manner that did not require removing the costly dance floor and disrupting the operation of dance classes and other business activities. Ultimately, the Department of Ecology issued a "No Further Action" determination which states that the dance company had voluntarily met the requirements of site cleanup.
Schuster chairs Tonkon Torp's Environmental & Natural Resources Practice Group, which provides a broad set of services to assist clients to anticipate and strategically manage environmental and natural resource issues that could affect their operating business or their commercial or real estate transactions.
Founded in 1987, Columbia Dance Center is engaged in bringing quality dance to the greater Vancouver, Washington area.