View Recent Blog Posts in Environmental Litigation

  • Impact of Delek Refining Decision on EPA’s RMP Penalty Policy By R. Lee Vail, P.E., Ph.D. At the very end of 2016, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals vacated two Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) citations for alleged violations of Process Safety Management (“PSM”) regulations. In that case, the Court held that OSHA was barred from issuing a citation for the failure to act [...] Continue Reading... ....
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit Affirms Application of Louisiana’s Subsequent Purchaser Doctrine By Chase Zachary On April 18, 2017, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit released a published opinion in Guilbeau v. Hess Corp.[1] The court affirmed the application of Louisiana’s subsequent purchaser doctrine to claims for environmental damages allegedly caused by activities of a former mineral lessee prior to the date that the [...] Continue Reading... ....
  • EPA Not Likely to Revise Primary National Ambient Air Quality Standard for Nitrogen Dioxide By Maureen N. Harbourt EPA is required by Section 109(d) the Clean Air Act to review the adequacy of each National Ambient Air Quality Standard (“NAAQS”) every five years to determine if new scientific evidence justifies a change to the standard.  The current primary[i] NAAQS for nitrogen dioxide (“NO2”) is 53 ppb annual mean and [...] Continue Reading... ....
  • Statute of Limitations Applies to Old PHA Recommendations By R. Lee Vail, P.E., Ph.D. At the very end of 2016, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals vacated two Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) citations against an employer that allegedly failed to timely resolve open findings and recommendations from Process Hazard Analysis (PHA). The 2008 citation related to multiple PHAs that occurred over a [...] Continue Reading... ....
  • EPA Proposes to Further Delay Effective Date of RMP to 2019 By R. Lee Vail, P.E., Ph.D. The EPA received three petitions asking it to delay and reconsider amendments to the RMP rule. First, the “RMP Coalition” submitted a petition dated February 28, 2017. On March 13, 2017, the Chemical Safety Advocacy Group also submitted a petition, followed by a third petition from a group of [...] Continue Reading... ....
  • Small Sources of Air Emissions, Even if Temporary, Must Now Keep Records to Verify Exemption from Air Permitting Requirements By Tokesha Collins-Wright and Maureen N. Harbourt The general rule under Louisiana law has long been that any activity that results in emissions of air pollutants must obtain an air permit from the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality (LDEQ) unless a specific exemption applies. There are a few broad statutory and regulatory exemptions, such as [...] Continue Reading... ....
  • EPA Delays Effective Date of RMP By R. Lee Vail, P.E., Ph.D. On February 28, 2017, the EPA received a petition from the “RMP Coalition” for reconsideration and a request for a stay from the amendments to the RMP rule. The RMP Coalition consists of several affected industry trade groups, manufacturing groups, and the Chamber of Commerce of the United States [...] Continue Reading... ....
  • EPA RMP Requirements: Information Availability By Lee Vail, P.E., Ph.D. On March 14, 2016, Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) proposed changes to the Risk Management Plan Program (“RMP”) Rule . On January 13, 2017, the EPA published a new final rule.  This is the final article in a series that addresses five major changes: root cause analysis for near misses, third-party audits, [...] Continue Reading... ....
  • United States Fifth Circuit Upholds Dismissal of Flood Protection Authority Case Against Oil and Gas Industry Members By Trey S. McCowan, Claire E. Juneau, and Tyler Moore Kostal On March 3, 2017, the United States Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals issued its long-awaited opinion in the matter of Board of Commissioners of the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East, et al. vs. Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company, LLC, et al., No 15-30162, Slip Op. [...] Continue Reading... ....
  • Effective Immediately, EPA Withdraws Information Collection Request for Methane Emissions from Existing Oil & Gas Sources By Brittany Buckley Salup On March 2, 2017, the EPA withdrew its information collection request (ICR) regarding methane emissions from existing oil and gas facilities.  EPA finalized and issued the underlying ICR on November 10, 2016.  Since that time, EPA sent letters to thousands of owners and operators in the oil and gas industry, requiring [...] Continue Reading... ....