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Category Archives: Environmental Litigation and Regulation

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Awaiting the Arrival of Proposed Revisions to OSHA PSM and EPA’s RMP Rules: New OSHA Policy Statement Defining RAGAGEP

Posted in Environmental Litigation and Regulation, OSHA, Process Safety Management
by Lee Vail The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) published a Request for Information (“RFI”) on December 9, 2013 concerning possible changes to the Process Safety Management (“PSM”) program codified at 29 C.F.R. 1910.119. See 78 Fed. Reg. 73756 (Dec. 9, 2013). Likewise, the Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) published an RFI on July 31,… Continue Reading

EPA Extends Public Comment Period on Proposed Rulemaking for Fracking Wastewater

Posted in Energy, Environmental Litigation and Regulation
By Tod J. Everage The EPA has proposed pretreatment standards for the Oil and Gas Extraction Category (40 CFR Part 435). The regulations would address discharges of wastewater pollutants from onshore Unconventional Oil and Gas (UOG) extraction facilities to Publicly-Owned Treatment Works (POTWs). The EPA contends that “the proposed rule would better protect public health,… Continue Reading

EPA Establishes New Refinery AP-42 Emission Factors: No Revision to Flare Nitrogen Oxide (NOx) Factor

Posted in Environmental Litigation and Regulation
By Lee Vail, P.E., Ph.D. Last year, the EPA announced its intention to add or modify a number of AP-42 emission factors, primarily for petroleum refineries, pursuant to a consent decree entered into with Air Alliance Houston, Community In-Power and Development Association, Inc., Louisiana Bucket Brigade and Texas Environmental Justice Advocacy Services (“Plaintiffs”).  The EPA… Continue Reading

Awaiting the Arrival of Proposed Revisions to OSHA PSM and EPA’s RMP Rules: Applying PSM / RMP to Oil and Gas

Posted in Energy, Environmental Litigation and Regulation, Process Safety Management
By R. Lee Vail, P.E., Ph.D. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) published a Request for Information (“RFI”)  on December 9, 2013 concerning possible changes to the Process Safety Management (“PSM”) program codified at 29 C.F.R. 1910.119.  See 78 Fed. Reg. 73756 (Dec. 9, 2013).  Likewise, the Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) published an RFI… Continue Reading

Awaiting the Arrival of Proposed Revisions to OSHA PSM and EPA’s RMP Rules: Defining Recognized and Generally Acceptable Good Engineering Practices

Posted in Energy, Environmental Litigation and Regulation, OSHA, Process Safety Management
By Lee Vail, J.D., P.E., Ph.D. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) published a Request for Information (“RFI”)  on December 9, 2013 concerning possible changes to the Process Safety Management (“PSM”) program codified at 29 C.F.R. 1910.119.  See 78 Fed. Reg. 73756 (Dec. 9, 2013).  Likewise, the Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) published an RFI… Continue Reading

Awaiting the Arrival of Proposed Revisions to OSHA PSM and EPA’s RMP Rules: Atmospheric Storage Tanks

Posted in Energy, Environmental Litigation and Regulation, Process Safety Management
By Lee Vail, J.D., P.E., Ph.D. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) published a Request for Information (“RFI”)  on December 9, 2013 concerning possible changes to the Process Safety Management (“PSM”) program codified at 29 C.F.R. 1910.119.  See 78 Fed. Reg. 73756 (Dec. 9, 2013).  Likewise, the Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) published an RFI… Continue Reading

Coastal Erosion Lawsuit against the Oil and Gas Industry Dismissed

Posted in Coastal/Wetlands Issues, Corps of Engineers, Environmental Litigation and Regulation, Legacy Oil Field Sites, Louisiana In General, New Orleans/Louisiana Recovery
By Tyler Moore Kostal A federal judge dismissed the lawsuit that the New York Times referred to as “The Most Ambitious Environmental Lawsuit Ever” on February 13, 2015, with a finding that the plaintiffs did not state a viable claim for relief. The Board of Commissioners of the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East (“SLFPA-E” or… Continue Reading

LDEQ Now Limits Term for Minor Source Air Permits and Requires Update for Such Existing Permits

Posted in Environmental Litigation and Regulation, Louisiana In General
By Tokesha Collins-Wright In the past, Minor Source Air Permits issued by LDEQ typically did not have an expiration date. That has changed. Per Louisiana Revised Statute 30:2023(A), all environmental permits issued by the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality (“LDEQ”) “shall have, as a matter of law, a term of not more than ten years.”… Continue Reading

EPA Proposes Changes to Oil Spill Dispersant Use

Posted in Environmental Litigation and Regulation, Uncategorized
By Lee Vail Dispersants are one of the tools available to mitigate detrimental impacts to shorelines and wildlife exposed to oil spills. In response to the Deepwater Horizon incident, the EPA authorized use of surface and subsurface dispersants. In mid-January 2015, the EPA announced that it would soon publish proposed rules in the Federal Register… Continue Reading

Should the Oil and Gas Industry Be Required to Disclose Constituents in Fracking Fluids Despite Long-Standing Trade Secret Protection? The Debate Continues…

Posted in Energy, Environmental Litigation and Regulation, Intellectual Property, Louisiana In General
By Michelle Purchner Cumberland On September 18, 2014, the comment period for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (“EPA”) Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“ANPR”) on “Hydraulic Fracturing Chemicals and Mixtures Under the Toxic Substances Control Act” came to a close. The ANPR was published in the Federal Register on May 19, 2014, soliciting comments from… Continue Reading

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
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