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Category Archives: Environmental Litigation and Regulation

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EPA Announces Proposed Rule to Amend National Emission Standards for Petroleum Refineries

Posted in Climate Change / GHG, Energy, Environmental Litigation and Regulation, Louisiana In General
By Tokesha Collins and Lee Vail On May 15, 2014, the Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) announced that it intended to publish a proposed rule to amend the national emission standards governing petroleum refineries. [1]  The emission standards impacted by this proposed rulemaking are: National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (“NESHAP”) from Petroleum Refineries (40 … Continue Reading

Environmental Protection Agency Seeks Public Input to Develop Disclosure Rules for Fracking Fluids

Posted in Energy, Environmental Litigation and Regulation, Uncategorized
untitledBy Michelle Purchner Cumberland As public awareness and growing concerns surrounding hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) operations increases, regulatory agencies are taking a closer look at the process and are soliciting help from both public and industry stakeholders to better understand fracking operations. On May 19, 2014, the Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) solicited comments from the public … Continue Reading

EPA Clarifies Underground Injection Control Requirements Under Safe Drinking Water Act for Fracking Operations

Posted in Environmental Litigation and Regulation, Louisiana In General
By Michelle Purchner Cumberland Hydraulic fracturing involves injection of large volumes of fluids at high pressure into a well to create fractures in the source rock formation. This technique was designed to improve oil and gas production. Hydraulic fluids that are used in this technique are a mixture of water, chemical additives and proppants (small … Continue Reading

OSHA Considers Expanded Oversight in the Oil Patch

Posted in Environmental Litigation and Regulation, Labor and Employment Law, OSHA
By Lee Vail On December 9, 2013, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) requested comments concerning potential changes to its Process Safety Management (“PSM”) program that could have a significant impact on oil field operations. See 78 Fed. Reg. 73756 (Dec. 9, 2013). Among the many “modernizations” of the PSM standard, OSHA is seeking … Continue Reading

OSHA Seeks Public Comment On Proposed Online Whistleblower Complaint Form

Posted in Admiralty and Maritime, Energy, Environmental Litigation and Regulation, Health Law, Labor and Employment Law, OSHA, Toxic Tort Litigation
By Scott D. Huffstetler The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is seeking public comments regarding a proposal for a new online whistleblower complaint form. The form, which would allow whistleblowers to electronically submit whistleblower complaints directly to OSHA, is part of OSHA’s proposal to revise the information collection requirements for handling retaliation complaints filed … Continue Reading

Act 312 – Louisiana Legislature Passes New Measures to Speed Remediation Process

Posted in Coastal/Wetlands Issues, Energy, Environmental Litigation and Regulation, Legacy Oil Field Sites, Louisiana In General
By Claire Juneau After the 2003 Corbello decision, the Louisiana legislature attempted to enact a workable procedure for recovering environmental damages arising from oil and gas operations known as Act 312. The main goal of Act 312 was to ensure that property contaminated by oilfield operations would be cleaned up to applicable regulatory standards. Since … Continue Reading

Insurance Coverage of Environmental Disasters

Posted in Benzene Litigation, Class Action, Environmental Litigation and Regulation, Insurance, Louisiana In General, Toxic Tort Litigation
By Mark D. Mese The purpose of this post is to provide insureds with general information that will assist them in recognizing important facts and issues related to insurance coverage of environmental disasters. The primary areas addressed include (1) understanding the general types of potential insurance coverage; (2) recognizing environmental disasters; (3) deciding what to … Continue Reading

Pipelines Maximum Pressure Documentation Must Be Traceable, Verifiable, and Complete

Posted in Environmental Litigation and Regulation
By R. Lee Vail Each pipeline has a regulatory maximum operating pressure: Maximum Allowable Operating Pressure (“MAOP”) for gas pipelines and Maximum Operating Pressure (“MOP”) for hazardous liquids pipelines. See 49 C.F.R. 192.619(a) and 49 C.F.R. 195.406(a). The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (“PHMSA”) recently issued an Advisory Bulletin requiring that owners and operators … Continue Reading

Kean Miller Releases Practical Digest of Louisiana Class Action Decisions

Posted in Business Litigation, Class Action, Environmental Litigation and Regulation, General Litigation, Louisiana In General, Products Liability, Toxic Tort Litigation
Kean Miller LLP is pleased to announce the release of the ninth edition of the Practical Digest of Louisiana Class Action Decisions.  The digest is produced by Charles S. McCowan, Jr., Bradley C. Myers, Gerald E. Meunier (Gainsburgh, Benjamin, David, Meunier & Warshauer), and Thomas F. Daley (District Attorney of the 40th Judicial District).  The … Continue Reading

Final Regulations Issued for Financing Solid Waste Disposal Facilities

Posted in Business and Corporate, Environmental Litigation and Regulation, Louisiana In General, Municipal Finance and Bonds
By Angela W. Adolph The Internal Revenue Code restricts the amount of private business use that can occur in facilities financed with tax-exempt bond proceeds, but there are a number of exceptions to this general rule. Certain facilities (“exempt facilities”) that are privately used are eligible for tax-exempt bond financing if they benefit the general … Continue Reading

Louisiana Supreme Court Expands Judicial Limitations on Landowner Tort Claims

Posted in Coastal/Wetlands Issues, Energy, Environmental Litigation and Regulation, Legacy Oil Field Sites, Louisiana In General
By Lou Grossman The Subsequent Purchaser Doctrine is a judicially created limitation on the rights of a current landowner to sue for pre-acquisition damages. For over 160 years, Louisiana courts have held that a current landowner has no right of action to sue for damages to his/her property occurring prior to the date of sale … Continue Reading

Outer Continental Shelf Safety and Environmental Management Systems: Imminent Deadlines, New Guidance and Proposed Rules

Posted in Admiralty and Maritime, Coastal/Wetlands Issues, Energy, Environmental Litigation and Regulation
By Lee Vail On October 15, 2010, the former Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (“BOEMRE”) issued new regulations, incorporating in its entirety and making mandatory the implementation of the American Petroleum Institute’s Recommended Practice 75 (API RP 75).  The rule requires development of Safety and Environmental Management Systems (SEMS) plans by “a lessee, the … Continue Reading

Louisiana DEQ Is Eliminating Coverage Under General Permit for Territorial Seas Discharges of Produced Waters

Posted in Coastal/Wetlands Issues, Energy, Environmental Litigation and Regulation, Louisiana In General
By Esteban Herrera and Dwayne Johnson On October 14, 2009, the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) issued General Permit No. LAG260000 for discharges within the territorial seas of Louisiana from oil and gas exploration, development, and production facilities. In a lawsuit filed in state district court in Baton Rouge, the Louisiana Environmental Action Network … Continue Reading

New Louisiana Disclosure Rules on Hydraulic Fracturing Take Effect 10.20.11

Posted in Energy, Environmental Litigation and Regulation, Legacy Oil Field Sites, Louisiana In General
By Brittany L. Buckley Effective today, October 20, 2011, new permitting and disclosure requirements apply to hydraulic fracturing operations in Louisiana. Known as “fracking” in the oil and gas industry, hydraulic fracturing refers to the process of injecting fluid into tight shale or sandstone formations, which creates fractures in the rock through which oil and … Continue Reading

PHMSA Seeks Comments on Expansion of Gas Transmission Pipeline Regulations

Posted in Environmental Litigation and Regulation
By Lee Vail On August 25, 2011, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (“DOT”) Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (“PHMSA”) announced that it was seeking information concerning contemplated changes in natural gas transportation safety regulations. (1)  This advanced notice of proposed rulemaking (“ANPRM”) follows another one published by PHMSA involving hazardous liquid pipelines. See, 75 Fed. … Continue Reading

Louisiana Affected By President Obama’s Action on Ozone Standard Reconsideration

Posted in Environmental Litigation and Regulation, Louisiana In General
By Maureen N. Harbourt On September 2, 2011, President Obama announced that he had requested the Environmental Protection Agency to withdraw the proposed revision to the primary National Ambient Air Quality Standard for ozone at this time. A White House press release quoted the President as stating: “I have continued to underscore the importance of … Continue Reading

Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality Declines to Regulate Carbon Dioxide Emissions

Posted in Climate Change / GHG, Environmental Litigation and Regulation, Louisiana In General
By Tokesha M. Collins On July 28, 2011, the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality (LDEQ) denied a petition for the adoption of a rule to regulate fossil fuel carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and to establish an effective emissions reduction strategy that will achieve a concentration of 350 parts per million (ppm) atmospheric CO2 by the … Continue Reading

Louisiana Department of Natural Resources Proposes New Reporting Regulations for Hydraulic Fracturing

Posted in Energy, Environmental Litigation and Regulation, Louisiana In General
By Brittany L. Buckley The recent development of the Haynesville Shale in North Louisiana and other shale formations around the country has generated huge public interest in the hydraulic fracturing process, which is known as “fracking” in the oil and gas industry. Fracking refers to the procedure of injecting fluid into tight shale or sandstone … Continue Reading

“Pipeline Infrastructure and Community Protection Act” Hearings Focus on Recent Pipeline Incidents

Posted in Admiralty and Maritime, Coastal/Wetlands Issues, Environmental Litigation and Regulation, Louisiana In General
By R. Lee Vail and Maureen N. Harbourt On July 15, 2011, the House of Representative, Committee on Energy and Power, Subcommittee on Energy and Commerce held hearings on a draft of the “Pipeline Infrastructure and Community Protection Act of 2011.”  Chairman Fred Upton’s initial comments focused on recent pipeline incidents: the 20,000 barrel oil … Continue Reading

Shreveport-Bossier Area Exceeds Current Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standard – Triggers Potential Consequences for Air Emission Sources

Posted in Climate Change / GHG, Environmental Litigation and Regulation, Louisiana In General
By Maureen Harbourt As of July 3, 2011, the air quality measured at the official ozone monitor at 1425 Airport Drive, which is within Shreveport, but located in Bossier Parish, indicated that the design value for the parish is now 76.7 parts per billion (ppb) which exceeds the 75 ppb standard set by EPA in … Continue Reading

Louisiana DNR Extends Offshore Drilling Emergency Order

Posted in Admiralty and Maritime, Coastal/Wetlands Issues, Energy, Environmental Litigation and Regulation, Louisiana In General
By R. Lee Vail In response to the Gulf of Mexico Deepwater Horizon Incident, the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources (“DNR”), Office of Conservation (“Conservation”) issued a series of emergency rules with effective dates: July 15, 2010(1) , December 9, 2010(2), January 12, 2011(3) and most recently May 12, 2011(4).  . The initial emergency rule created: “a … Continue Reading

Environmental Groups Attempt to Block Shell Deepwater Gulf of Mexico Drilling

Posted in Admiralty and Maritime, Energy, Environmental Litigation and Regulation, Louisiana In General, New Orleans/Louisiana Recovery
By R. Lee Vail Deepwater oil and gas production from the Gulf of Mexico has become a significant portion of the current production within the United States, equal to over 1.6 million barrels per day of oil equivalent; total U.S oil production is around 5.3 million barrels per day. (1)  Worldwide shallow water oil production peaked … Continue Reading

BOEMRE Notice Requires Hurricane and Tropical Storm Effects Reports

Posted in Admiralty and Maritime, Energy, Environmental Litigation and Regulation, Hurricane Gustav, Hurricane Katrina, Louisiana In General, New Orleans/Louisiana Recovery
By R. Lee Vail On June 1, 2011, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE) issued a notice to Gulf of Mexico Outer Continental Shelf Region (GOMR) lease and pipeline right-of-way (ROW) holders on reporting hurricane and tropical storm effects. Specifically, the recent notice, designated NTL No. 2011-G01(1), requires four reports, as … Continue Reading

Office of Conservation Issues Emergency Order Imposing Affirmative Obligations on Oilfield Sites, Facilities, Structures, Injection Wells and Pipelines Throughout the State

Posted in Admiralty and Maritime, Coastal/Wetlands Issues, Environmental Litigation and Regulation, Louisiana In General
By R. Lee Vail On April 28, 2011, Governor Bobby Jindal declared a State of Emergency as a result of growing concern over the predicted crest of the Mississippi River well above flood stage in many areas. Consistent with his authority, on May 13, 2011, James Welsh, Commissioner of Conservation, also issued an emergency and … Continue Reading
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