2020 Environmental Real Estate Issues

EPA Region 6, which includes Texas and Louisiana, issued a news release on July 18, 2023, reminding facility operators of their obligation to “maintain safety, minimize releases that do occur, and report chemical releases or oil spills and discharges in a timely manner” before and during hurricanes, tropical storms, and other hazardous weather events. Especially with expected increases in the “number and severity of storms,” facilities on the Gulf Coast must “prepare as much as possible to keep their workers and nearby communities safe before, during and after significant weather events.”

Hurricanes and Tropical Storms are Predictable.
According to EPA, “hurricanes and tropical storms are predictable.” Owners and operators must:

  • Review procedures for shutting down processes and securing facilities appropriately.
  • Review updated state-federal guidelines for flooding preparedness.
  • Assure all employees are familiar with requirements and procedures to contact the National Response Center at 1-800-424-8802 in case a spill or release occurs.
  • Review local response contacts, including Local Emergency Planning Committees (LEPCs) and State Emergency Response Commissions (SERCs).

The updated guidelines for flooding preparedness identify best practices for above ground storage tanks; cylinders, drums, and other tanks and containers; and general flood loss prevention.

No More Accidents
In enforcement cases, EPA and other agencies start with the position of “no more accidents”; if an event has occurred then it should have been expected and measures should have been in place to prevent unauthorized releases during the event.

To see the news release, which has a link to the updated flooding preparedness guidelines https://www.epa.gov/newsreleases/epa-advises-facility-operators-prepare-hazardous-weather-events-1

Texas Environmental Superconference
Crain, Caton & James P.C. is a proud sponsor of the Texas Environmental Superconference. I hope to see many of you in Austin, August 2-4.