Tennessee's top environmental officials are offering Eastman Chemical Co. a role in finalizing the punishment of the company for water quality violations in 2008 and 2009.
The move comes as the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation waits on the federal Environmental Protection Agency to approve a draft enforcement order.
The Johnson City Press reports that instead of a unilateral "Director's Order" or "Commissioner's Order" from TDEC, if Eastman Chemical accepts the offer could respond to a "Consent Order."
The department's spokeswoman, Meg Lockhart, said the change in approach involved the potential time and legal fees costs of an appeals process, which won't happen if an agreed order is reached.
If Eastman Chemical rejects the offer, the company then has 30 days to appeal an enforcement order.