The Louisiana Legislature has directed the Department of Environmental Quality (“LDEQ”) to promulgate regulations allowing for “voluntary environmental self-audits.” [1]  The self-audit regulations are to include provisions protecting confidential information and providing incentives to facilities for conducting a self-audit.

Environmental self-audit programs are designed to allow a facility to identify compliance issues and address them before enforcement action by the agency. This type of program offers incentives for self-discovery such as reduced penalties, recommendation of non-criminal liability, and certain confidential information protections.

The LDEQ does not currently have an official Self-Audit Policy.[2]  In directing the LDEQ to create a regulatory program for environmental self-audits, the Louisiana legislature is aligning with other states (e.g., Texas, Arkansas, and Mississippi) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which have already implemented this type of program.[3]

The primary restriction in the new legislation is that violations eligible for reduced or no penalty under the program cannot be:

  1. Violations that result in serious actual harm to the environment.
  2. Violations that may present an imminent or substantial endangerment to public health or the environment.
  3. Violations discovered by the department prior to the written disclosure of the violation to the department.
  4. Violations detected through monitoring, sampling, or auditing procedures that are required by statute, regulation, permit, judicial or administrative order, or consent agreement.

The legislation must be signed by the Governor before it becomes effective, and there is always the possibility of a veto.  If the legislation becomes law, there is much work left to be done by LDEQ to formulate and adopt rules before facilities can start taking advantage of the confidentiality and other incentives of an environmental self-audit program in Louisiana. The regulatory team at Kean Miller will follow the progress closely.

The enrolled act can be found here:


[1] On June 8, 2008 the legislature adopted HB72, which amends La. R.S. 30:2018(C) and 2030(A)(2) and enacts new R.S. 30:2030(A)(3) and 30:2044.

[2] The Louisiana Environmental Quality Act (La. R.S. 30:2001, et seq.) (“LEQA”) provides support for a type of incentive program for self-audits currently. LDEQ has the ability to enter into Administrative Orders on Consent (“AOC”) with facilities to conduct environmental self-audits. However, this process has been nearly exclusively offered to “new owners” of facilities. As a Settlement Agreement component, third-party environmental audits have been approved by the LDEQ as Beneficial Environmental Projects. The current legislative direct is not so limited.