General Environmental Legislation and Regulations: Support environmental legislation and regulations that balance environmental concerns with economic realities and are workable, practical, equitable and consistent.
Exclusive Jurisdiction of State Agencies: Support legislation to ensure that all interests within the state are treated equally with respect to matters of environmental permitting and regulation by promoting exclusive authority of state agencies to issue environmental permits and adopt and enforce environmental regulations, including the Coastal Management Program. Such legislation should expressly preclude the ability of political subdivisions to interfere with the authority of state agencies through adoption of local ordinances that go beyond traditional land use planning and zoning so as to hinder or frustrate the ability of state agencies to make decisions regarding environmental permitting and regulation.
Administrative Procedures: Ensure that the Division of Administrative Law be maintained. Further, require DEQ adherence to the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) to ensure due process, fairness and accuracy in the promulgation and implementation of regulations and policies. The APA should guide the conduct of administrative procedures relative to actions and decisions by the department.
Consistent Enforcement: Support fair and consistent enforcement of Louisiana environmental laws and regulations, but oppose using unrelated measures, such as environmental justice actions and/or restricting the availability of tax exemption programs, as penalties for environmental violations.
Administration Liaison: Work closely with the administration to assure that regulatory agencies and legislative committees dealing with the environment will understand the importance of fostering a climate conducive to economic development while protecting the environment through the use of sound science.
Liability: Oppose any expansion of punitive damages, criminal penalties or “bad actor” provisions in environmental law or regulations.
Management of Waste: Support legislation and regulations that allow business, industry and local governing authorities to take advantage of all environmentally sound waste management technologies, including but not limited to reuse, recycling and waste exchanges. LABI supports regulatory programs that encourage free enterprise and a competitive business climate. LABI opposes excessively complex regulations that discourage the beneficial use of sound technologies and by-products.
State Water Policy: Support a fair, flexible, and scientifically based statewide water use policy that considers the needs of all water users. Monitor the development of state and federal water conservation programs to ensure that all water users – industrial, residential and commercial – are assured adequate access to useable water sources.
Landowner Rights: Support legislation to require the governing body to deal openly with the landowner and to adequately compensate property owners for loss of use or devaluation of their property caused by environmental regulations, laws or policy. Oppose the regulation of any use or condemnation of private property unless based on adequately demonstrated public need.
Litter: Support and encourage all reasonable efforts to eliminate litter in Louisiana, including anti-litter public campaigns.
Standards and Definitions.
Environmental Audits/DEQ: Support legislation to eliminate or reduce the number of conditions a company must meet to obtain protections for self-auditing, and make the policy clear, meaningful and useful to businesses conducting environmental self-audits.
Coal Combustion Residuals: Support efforts for LDEQ to adopt coal combustion residual state permit program.
Green Building Standards: Oppose measures mandating use of standards which do not demonstrate measurable or proven energy savings or which detrimentally impact Louisiana industries.
DHH Chlorination Rules: Support efforts, including legislation, to establish reasonable, scientifically-based DHH chlorination rules for industrial facilities, particularly as over-chlorination resulting from DHH’s currently mandated level can create disinfectant byproducts, such as trihalomethanes.
Disposal Bans: Oppose legislation or regulations which prohibit landfill disposal of any waste stream and which does not include a comprehensive plan to ensure that the infrastructure and arrangements will be in place when the ban takes effect. Such plan shall ensure that the banned materials will, in fact, be recycled in a cost-efficient manner to the manufacturer, generator and the recycler of the waste stream.
Clean Air: Support efforts to make Louisiana’s air quality programs equivalent to and no more restrictive than the federal Clean Air Act. Support legislation and rules that equitably distribute the responsibility for meeting air quality requirements among all emission sources. Support DEQ efforts to promote federal acceptance of reasonable state air quality programs. Strongly encourage DEQ to promptly update the State Implementation Plan (SIP) to incorporate EPA’s favorable changes to federal rules, and support additional regulatory reform. Oppose efforts to mandate inappropriate, costly, and inconsistent monitoring programs, including fence line monitoring.
National Air Toxic Assessments: Support transparent and open NATA process and peer review of risk-based conclusions.
Oilfield Wastes: Oppose legislation that would unilaterally reclassify oilfield wastes as hazardous or any other inappropriate classification. Encourage the development of scientifically appropriate, reasonable testing regulations that accurately demonstrate the non-hazardous nature of the majority of oilfield wastes. Evaluate and support appropriate disposal and treatment options for exploration and production wastes for facilities regulated by DEQ and DNR.
Fees and Funding.
Agency Funding: Support adequate revenue funding of the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) that reflects its regulatory mandate and the services rendered to governing authorities and the general populace. Stable, consistent funding with strict guidelines for expenditures and outside contracts, grants and contributions must be implemented to maintain needed services and ensure accountability.
Agency Fees: Support a streamlined DEQ fee structure that accurately reflects the cost of the service provided, does not exceed that cost, funds only the specific program for which the fees are collected, and with rates distributed fairly between industry and local governing authorities. LABI will support new or increased fees only if DEQ can justify the need for the additional revenue, assures the fees will be used only for the services for which they are intended, and provides evidence of increased efficiency measures. Work with DEQ to create a consolidated and itemized fee invoicing system.
Agency and Regulatory Management.
Consistency, Validity and Consolidation of Regulations: Encourage state and local agencies to streamline and simplify compliance with environmental programs by revising laws, regulations, standards, enforcement procedures, fees and penalties to be consistent with federal requirements. Consolidate, merge or eliminate duplicative or overlapping regulatory programs and reporting to reduce the costly regulatory burden on industry. Base regulations on valid science, rather than upon unsupportable allegations or claims. LABI supports DEQ’s efforts to coordinate federal and state environmental programs and recognizes DEQ’s primacy in federally delegated programs.
Disaster Recovery: Work with local, state and federal officials and regulatory agencies to remove obstacles to economic recovery in areas damaged by natural disasters.
• Streamline the permitting process. Encourage the development and use of general permits for similar groups of facilities. Encourage DEQ to eliminate the backlog of pending permits and to issue permits timely.
• Support the expansion and continued implementation of DEQ’s regulatory permit program.
• Support legislation and/or regulation which minimizes uncertainty and provides clear guidance to DEQ and regulated entities relative to information, such as compliance with the “IT decision” (Save Ourselves, Inc. v Louisiana Environmental Control Commission, 452 So.2d 1152 (La. 1984)), which is required for issuance of permits and, upon compliance, ensures the issuance of permits.
• Oppose efforts, especially taxpayer-funded efforts to stop or inhibit economic development by those claiming to be fighting for environmental justice but who are opposed to any industrial growth.
• Support and encourage the timely granting of permits that are valid for the life of the facility, especially solid waste facilities.
• Oppose measures that would jeopardize the integrity of a permit during its term.
• Encourage informal dialogue between DEQ and the regulated community about permitting and enforcement matters. Allow permitees to review an early draft of their permit for accuracy and completeness. Encourage DEQ to accept submittal of permit applications and other information by electronic means (e-data submittal).
Small Business: Support efforts to minimize the regulatory burden on small business, and support and participate in activities to assist small business with environmental compliance.
Interagency Consistency: Encourage an ongoing dialogue among state agencies to ensure interagency regulatory consistency.
Reporting Requirements: Work with DEQ and the Louisiana State Police to provide an alternative means of communication or a temporary suspension of penalties for reporting violations when normal means of communication have been disrupted.
Environmental Compliance Records: Support accurate facility compliance records by encouraging clear, concise differentiation by DEQ between an issued and/or pending order and a resolved and recorded legal enforcement action. Encourage DEQ to include in the official compliance record only settled or resolved enforcement actions. Support and promote prompt resolution of enforcement issues, and encourage DEQ and the assistant secretary to address these issues to the extent known and problematic within a reasonable period of time.
Emergency Reporting: Support efforts to implement statutes requiring DEQ and the Department of Public Safety to create a statewide uniform emergency reporting and notification system. Lists of reportable chemicals and quantities must be made identical, with penalties prohibited for substances not on the DEQ list.
Access to Information: Support implementation of state law with regard to freedom of information to assure that it adequately serves the needs of the general public and the private sector, while protecting the confidentiality of sensitive information where appropriate. Support the implementation of Act 636 of 2004 that authorizes DEQ to restrict access to certain security sensitive information for the purpose of preventing its distribution or dissemination via the Internet.
Right-to-Know: Support making Louisiana’s Right-to-Know program consistent with the Superfund Amendment and Reauthorization Act (SARA), Title III.
Emergency Response: Support legislation to give the appropriate governmental entities principal jurisdiction over emergency response action. Support DEQ’s flexibility in assisting regulated facilities and generators to react and respond in the event of an emergency.
Lauren Chauvin serves as Director of the Environmental Quality Council. In this capacity, her responsibilities include all issues impacting environmental quality focusing specifically on environmental audits, reporting requirements, clean air, coastal zone, and permits.
Director, Environmental Quality Council, LABI
Chair, Environmental Quality Council