2012 Regular Legislative Session —Update on Environmental Legislation

The 2012 Regular Legislative Session ended on June 4, 2012. Most of the environmental bills we were watching never made it out of committee. As of this writing, though, several are awaiting the Governor’s signature.

Legacy Lawsuits

HB 618 (Abramson and others) allows any party in a civil matter alleging environmental damage under La. R.S. 30:29 or the LDNR to request the development of an environmental management order. The order will allow access to the property for inspections and testing and mandates sharing of the test results. It also allows a “limited admission” of liability which is not to be constructed as an admission of liability for damages under Section 30:29 or a waiver of any rights or defenses. Instead, the admission is limited to the implementation of the most feasible plan to remediate all or a portion of contamination to applicable regulatory standards. Relates to Code of Civil Procedure Articles 1552 and 1563. Continue reading “2012 Regular Legislative Session —Update on Environmental Legislation”

Clean Water Restoration Act, S. 787 and SPCC Rule Finalized, Again

Clean Water Restoration Act, S.787

This bill (S. 787) seeks to substantially expand the jurisdictional reach of the Clean Water Act, and that of the regulatory agencies administering the Act, by amending two key definitions. S. 787 will remove the definition of ‘navigable waters’ that has been included in the Act since its enactment and will replace it with a new, broadly defined statutory term, ‘waters of the United States.’ That term has been defined in EPA and Corps regulations for many years. However, the bill will provide a statutory definition of the ‘waters of the United States’ that expands the prior regulatory definition to include, among other things, “all interstate and intrastate waters and their tributaries” and “wetlands” “to the fullest extent that these waters, or activities affecting these waters, are subject to the legislative power of Congress under the Constitution.” Note that the definition not only includes the actual waters, but ‘activities affecting these waters.’ Continue reading “Clean Water Restoration Act, S. 787 and SPCC Rule Finalized, Again”