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Alex Prochaska can be reached at aprochaska@joneswalker.com or 337.593.7616.

On March 18, 2020, TCEQ’s Deputy Director of the Office of Environmental Enforcement (OCE), Ramiro Garcia, Jr., issued an instructive email on how regulated entities can request enforcement discretion in situations of unavoidable noncompliance as a direct result of the coronavirus. The email provides that the regulated entities should email both OCE@tceq.texas.gov (OCE inbox) and Ramiro.Garcia@tceq.texas.gov with specific information regarding the request. “The email should contain at a minimum:

  • Concise statement supporting request for enforcement discretion
  • Anticipated duration of need for enforcement discretion
  • Citation of rule / permit provision for which enforcement discretion is requested”

Continue Reading TCEQ Issues Instructive Email on Enforcement Discretion

On March 27, 2020, the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality (LDEQ) issued its Second Amended Emergency Declaration and Administrative Order, which supersedes its two previous declarations and orders issued on March 19 and 20, 2020. Both of these declarations and orders were addressed in our previous blog entry titled LDEQ Issued COVID-19 Declaration and Administrative Order.
Continue Reading LDEQ Issues Second Amended COVID-19 Emergency Declaration and Administrative Order

On March 26, 2020, the Environmental Protection Agency announced a temporary policy of enforcement discretion for noncompliance as a result of COVID-19 or its protective measures that have been put in place. The policy is based on the recognition by EPA that worker shortage and social distancing measures may impact the ability of regulated entities to conduct and report certain monitoring activities required by federal permits, regulations, and statutes. The policy also recognizes that the pandemic and the measures put in place to address it impact the ability of the regulated entities to meet consent decree milestones and obligations, enforceable limits of air and water permits, hazardous waste management requirements, and safe drinking water requirements. This policy is retroactive to March 13, 2020, and will apply to conduct that occurs even after the policy terminates. EPA will notify the public at least seven days prior to ending this policy. Below is a summary of the major sections of the policy:

General Conditions

In general, EPA expects all regulated entities to comply with the requirements provided by their permits, regulations, and statutes. The exercise of EPA’s enforcement discretion under this policy is conditioned on the entities complying with the following:

  1. “Entities should make every effort to comply with their environmental compliance obligations.
  2. If compliance is not reasonably practicable, facilities with enforcement compliance obligations should:
    • Act responsibly under the circumstances in order to minimize the effects and duration of any noncompliance caused by COVID-19;
    • Identify the specific nature and dates of the noncompliance;
    • Identify how COVID-19 was the cause of the noncompliance, and the decisions and actions taken in response, including best efforts to comply and steps taken to come into compliance at the earliest opportunity;
    • Return to compliance as soon as possible; and
    • Document the information, action, or condition specified in a. through d.”

Continue Reading EPA Exercises Enforcement Discretion in Response to COVID-19 Pandemic

The Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality (LDEQ) issued a Declaration of Emergency and Administrative Order on March 19, 2020, and its amendment on March 20, 2020, alleviating certain regulatory requirements and deadlines. This Declaration and Order are important for all facilities coming up on a deadline for monitoring activities and for projects going through the permitting process requiring public hearings. The Declaration and Order expire at midnight on the 30th day after March 20, 2020.
Continue Reading LDEQ Issues COVID-19 Declaration of Emergency and Administrative Order

In response to the August 2016 flooding event, there have been several articles about the Federal Emergency Management Agency (“FEMA”) regulations, the National Flood Insurance Program (“NFIP”), the base flood elevation requirements relating to a building damaged by flooding, and local government rebuilding requirements.  Please click here to read the client alert that will