Oil Spill Response/OPA 90/ PHMSA

Kean Miller assists vessel owners, operators of marine and offshore facilities, platform owners, onshore energy producers, pipeline owners, and storage operators with oil, gas, mineral, brine, and other spills, alleged contamination or pollution issues arising therefrom, and with possible criminal, civil, and regulatory sanctions or penalties for water pollution, soil and sediment contamination, hazardous material transportation, personal injuries, class actions, and marine safety violations.

We work closely with energy industry clients and assist with oil, gas, mineral, brine, and other spill investigations, claims and lawsuits arising from such spills, as well as interaction and negotiation with regulatory authorities such as the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality (LDEQ), the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources (LDNR), the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG), the Louisiana State Police (LSP), and the Louisiana Oil Spill Coordinators Office (LOSCO).  We routinely work with clients and administrative bodies to resolve issues of financial responsibility and/or liability resulting from spills, as well as assessment and remediation of any impacts to soil, sediment, surface water, or groundwater resulting from oil, mineral, brine, and related spills.  Our legal teams have extensive experience in resolving enforcement actions and fines for failure to comply with OSHA regulations.  We work with leading energy, pipeline, and petrochemical clients under investigation by the USCG, the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE), the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), the Chemical Safety Board (CSB), OSHA, PHMSA and other federal and state agencies.

Kean Miller represents clients in a wide variety of pipeline rupture litigation, and in trials in federal and state courts.

Representative Experience:
  • Representation of a major midstream energy company in multiple lawsuits filed and claims made by landowners related to a spill of approximately 4,500 barrels of crude oil from an interstate pipeline in Caddo Parish, Louisiana.
  • Representation of claimants before the United States Coast Guard Liability Trust Fund (OSLTF). We obtained a recovery of almost $700,000 for a petroleum production company and its insurer that required the USCG to overturn the EPA’s prior designation of our client as the responsible party for the oil spill.
  • Representation of a national energy company in litigation arising from a spill and with respect to Clean Water Act violations alleged by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Justice.  
  • Representation of an oil company in federal litigation regarding an OPA 90 spill from a ruptured pipeline. The matter progressed to a 30-day trial where the Kean Miller team was able to shift the OPA 90 responsible party designation and avoid a large percentage of remediation costs.
  • Representation of a major natural gas pipeline company in connection with a pipeline explosion which resulted in fatalities in Terrebonne Parish, Louisiana.  
  • Representation of a vessel operator, an oil field services contractor, in connection with an oil spill from a collision in a wetland environment in Louisiana inland waters. The Kean Miller team responded and negotiated with local oystermen to limit damages.  
  • Representation of a global energy refiner and pipeline company in connection with a pipeline explosion in St. Charles Parish, Louisiana.  
  • Representation of a Texas-based energy exploration and production company in connection with an oil spill from an abandoned gathering line in Louisiana inland waters. The Kean Miller team’s early involvement resulted in gathering appropriate evidence to defeat claims by local oystermen.
  • Representation of an oil and gas company in association with a large oil spill from a wellhead struck by a vessel.  The Kean Miller team responded such that damages were kept to a minimum and the responsible party for the collision was located.
  • Representation of a global energy producer as legal counsel for its oil spill response team in connection with any oil spill that may occur from pipelines in the Louisiana Coastal Zone and certain Texas inland rivers.
  • Representation of global energy producer in defense of OPA 90 claims brought by the United States Department of Justice and the U.S. Coast Guard for damages associated with a oil release from onshore storage facilities.
  • Representation of various barge lines involved in collisions in either the Mississippi River or the Intracoastal Waterway which resulted in minor to moderate spills of oil or other materials.
  • Representation of an offshore drilling contractor in connection with the explosion of a drilling platform in the Gulf of Mexico; the vessel burned for more than a week.  The Kean Miller team attended and represented the client in the joint U.S. Coast Guard/MMS Board of Inquiry proceedings.
  • Representation of international shipping companies in various alleged “pollution incidents”. Most of the incidents involved the “blowing of stacks” in the Port of New Orleans.
  • Representation of an oil and gas company regarding a well blowout while the rig was engaged in drilling operations off the coast of South America.
  • Representation of a national energy company in connection with a well blowout while the rig was engaged in drilling operations while in the South China Sea.