Reproduced with permission from Toxics Law Reporter, Vol. 20, No. 47, pp. 1067-1069 (Dec 8, 2005). Copyright 2005 by The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. (800-372-1033). In the wake of two hurricanes, many Louisiana industries, businesses, and citizens are left with a monumental task of cleaning up the damages caused by the storms. Many Louisianians also face the somewhat unknown future of what potential liability lies ahead under various environmental statutes and programs. After the storms, the State of Louisiana and the federal government temporarily eased many requirements under various environmental regulatory programs so that immediate actions could be taken to preserve property and protect lives. Significant questions remain, however, as to how these agencies are going to use their enforcement discretion in the future with respect to events that occurred during and after the storms. The “act of God” defense is found in many state and federal environmental statutes. However, prior to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, the defense was not extensively litigated. After seeing the power of Category 4 and 5 hurricanes, and the destruction they can cause, state and federal agencies and courts likely will need to address whether and in what circumstances will the Act of God defense relieve potential liability under various spill response statutes and programs for events caused by these storms. Read the entire article here: Download file