Environmental and Energy Law Blog

Friday, April 19, 2019

An Overview of Submissions Under the Texas Environmental, Health, and Safety Audit Privilege Act

Under the Texas Environmental, Health, and Safety Audit Privilege Act (“the Act”), those who conduct voluntary environmental or health and safety audits of regulated operations and facilities are entitled to immunity from administrative penalties for violations that are discovered, disclosed, and corrected within a certain amount of time. Under the Act, an audit that qualifies for protection is a voluntary evaluation, assessment, or review of compliance with environmental or health and safety laws or a related permit conducted by an operator or owner. Below is an overview of the submissions required under the Act. 

Submissions under the Act 

There are three types of documents a person may submit under the Act: 

  • A notice of audit letter
  • A disclosure of violations letter
  • A request for an extension 

Notice of audit letter 

An individual must submit a notice of audit letter prior to commencing an audit. A notice of audit letter must include:  

  • The name of the individual conducting the audit
  • The date and time that the audit will commence 
  • A description of the leases, properties, or facilities to be audited
     

Disclosure of violations letter 

In order to gain immunity under the Act, an individual must submit a disclosure of violations letter, which is a voluntary disclosure of violations identified as a result of the audit. The disclosure letter may identify one violation or multiple violations, and it should include the following information: 

  • The name of the individual conducting the audit
  • The certified mail reference number of the disclosure letter 
  • The date of the relevant notice letter
  • The date and time that the audit occurred 
  • An assertion that a violation was discovered during the audit period
  • A description of the violation
  • The status and expected completion date of correction
  • A description of the leases, properties, or facilities where violations were found  

 

Request for an extension

The Act limits the audit period to a reasonable time no greater than six months unless an extension is approved. An individual who has submitted a notice of audit letter may submit a letter requesting an extension of the time period permitted for completion of the audit. 

Texas Environmental Law Attorneys 

If you or your company have been cited for non-compliance or are facing legal action based on non-compliance, then you need an experienced Texas environmental law attorney like C. William Smalling on your side. Smalling, with a background in engineering, understands both the technical and legal aspects of situations affecting corporations in the oil, gas, and energy industries. Whether negotiating with the government or litigating government enforcement actions and private tort suits, the experience of C. William Smalling provides corporate clients with a significant edge in all oil, gas, and energy matters. We take pride in providing our business clients with the legal tools to remain confident while navigating the complicated world of environmental regulations. If your company is facing legal action or simply needs guidance in the area of environmental law, please contact the Law Office of C. William Smalling for a consultation.


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