Tuesday, September 11, 2018

What You Need to Know about Environmental Audits

Environmental audits allow companies to identify, assess, and fix problems before it’s too late. In addition, in many cases, federal and state laws can be used to shield companies from penalties assessed for violations discovered during voluntary audits. However, there are a few things that you should consider before undertaking an environmental audit in Texas, including:

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Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Permit by Rule Authorizations and New Source Review Permits in Texas

Anyone who wishes to construct or modify a facility that emits air contaminants into the atmosphere must obtain authorization from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ). TCEQ’s Office of Compliance and Enforcement is responsible for the enforcement of compliance with all environmental regulations and laws in Texas. In addition, since TCEQ has the authority to administer the Federal Clean Air Act requirements for Texas, it is also the primary enforcement agency for certain federal permits. Authorization from TCEQ comes in several forms, and the timeline for obtaining authorization can range from a few days to several years. Two such forms of authorization are:

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Thursday, August 16, 2018

What is the Texas Environmental, Health, and Safety Audit Privilege Act?

The Texas Environmental, Health, and Safety Audit Privilege Act (Act) was originally enacted in 1995. The purpose of the Act is the encouragement of voluntary compliance with environmental, health, and safety regulations. In addition, the Act incentivizes voluntary audits by facilities. Under the Act, facilities that voluntarily conduct audits are immune from civil and administrative penalties for violations that are uncovered and disclosed as a result of the voluntary audit. The Act also provides privilege for reports submitted in accordance with its requirements.

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Thursday, July 26, 2018

Can Corporate Officers be Held Personally Liability for Environmental Violations in Texas?

The Texas Supreme Court recently overturned an Austin Court of Appeals decision which held that a corporate officer could not be held personally liable for environmental violations unless certain conditions were present. Below is an overview of this decision and its implications on corporate officers in Texas.

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Thursday, March 29, 2018

Texas Leads the Nation in Clean Water Act Violations

According to a new report by Environment Texas, an environmental advocacy group, Texas leads the nation in violations of the Clean Water Act. The report found that over a 21-month period from January 2016 to September 2017, major industrial facilities in the state released pollution that exceeded levels allowed under Clean Water Act (CWA) permits 938 times. By comparison, Pennsylvania was second on the list with more than 600 exceedances. If your business has been cited for CWA violation, it is essential to enlist the services of an experienced health, safety and environmental attorney.

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Monday, March 26, 2018

Texas Supreme Court ruled on March 23 that coating manufacturer should proceed with its appeal of TCEQ Emission Credits decision

The Texas Supreme Court ruled on March 23 that coating manufacturer AC Interests LP should be allowed to proceed with its appeal TCEQ decision, saying that the law left the consequences of delay ambiguous. The majority found that, since the TCAA did not spell out how to interpret the time limit for providing notice, the proper interpretation is the time limits are directory and not mandatory. That is, the suit should not be dismissed even if notice was served late.

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Thursday, March 15, 2018

TCEQ Nearing Decision on Dripping Springs’ Wastewater Discharge Permit

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) is slated to render its final decision on the city of Dripping Springs’ proposed wastewater discharge permit. One factor that may weigh in this decision is a recent, unrelated dye-trace study of the effect on the drinking water and inhabitant species in the Onion Creek area. The opposition from environmental advocates and community residents highlights how resolving such controversies requires the advice and guidance of health, safety, and environmental attorneys.

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Saturday, January 20, 2018

Energy Transfer Partners Brings Defamation Claim Against Environmental Groups

After years of protests over the Dakota Access Pipeline by the Standing Rock Sioux tribe,  indigenous rights activists and environmental groups, the Trump Administration granted final construction approval to Energy Transfer Partners (ETP) in January 2017. The approval was the culmination of a hard fought battle that required the advice and counsel of experienced energy and environmental attorneys.

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Monday, November 27, 2017

In Focus: Measuring the Seismic Activity of Oil Field–Linked Quakes

According to a number of scientific studies, there is a direct link between the recent wave of earthquakes throughout the state of Texas and new oil and gas-related drilling techniques such as hydraulic fracturing or “fracking.”

Today, a state-funded earthquake monitoring system at the University of Texas at Austin (UT) known as TexNet is measuring and tracking seismic activity in the state, particularly in West Texas which has seen a fracking boom. TexNet relies on 22 permanent and 40 portable monitoring stations to track seismic activity. The system was set up in 2015 after lawmakers authorized state-funding.

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Monday, October 23, 2017

$100 Million in Damages Awarded in Eagle Ford Shale Dispute

As anyone in the energy production sector can attest, contracts are the bedrock of doing business in the oil and gas industry. Recently, a legal dispute between two oil companies in the Eagle Ford Shale culminated in a $100 million award in damages. A South Texas jury found that Canada’s Talisman Energy USA Inc. violated a joint operating agreement with Houston’s Matrix Petroleum by underpaying the company for Eagle Ford oil and gas production.

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Sunday, October 15, 2017

Texas Supreme Court Reviews Emission Credit Suit v TCEQ, October 11, 2017

Texas Supreme Court justices on Wednesday October 11 tried to figure out an appropriate penalty for a coating manufacturer that missed a statutory deadline to serve the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality with a lawsuit challenging an agency ruling on pollution emissions credits.
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