Beveridge & Diamond
 

Spill Response and Reporting

Overview

Beveridge & Diamond, P.C. advises clients and defends enforcement actions relating to the prevention, reporting and remediation of spills and releases of petroleum, hazardous substances and other chemicals under Section 304 of the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to Know-Act (EPCRA), Section 103 of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA), the Oil Pollution Act (OPA) and other federal, state and local laws and regulations.  In addition to assisting clients in their spill prevention planning, we  provide immediate assistance in the case of a spill, evaluating whether releases are reportable, including whether they are subject to the CERCLA petroleum exclusion or the federally permitted release exemption.  We also help clients develop and negotiate approaches to satisfy their remediation obligations.  We have successfully defended numerous clients against administrative and civil judicial enforcement actions brought by EPA related to release events.

Full Description

Many federal, state, and local laws contain requirements on prevention of and reporting and responding to spills of petroleum, hazardous substances, and other chemicals. Beveridge & Diamond frequently assists clients in complying with these requirements.

In this regard, the Firm's lawyers have extensive knowledge about the spill response, reporting and prevention requirements under Section 311 of the federal Clean Water Act (CWA), the Oil Pollution Act (OPA), Section 304 of the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA), Section 103 of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA), the Clean Air Act (CAA), the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) and other statutes. In addition, we have extensive knowledge of and experience with state statutes, regulations and guidance governing spills and releases.  Due to our broad experience in various environmental regulatory areas, we can assist our clients through the entire process - from prevention planning and discovery of a spill or release, through reporting to and discussions with regulators, to final remediation.  We also are familiar with the scope of various exemptions to state and federal reporting schemes, including the CERCLA petroleum exclusion and the federally permitted release exemption.

We help clients develop systems and procedures for preventing, detecting, reporting and responding to accidental spills and releases. This work includes the preparation of emergency response manuals, spill prevention, control, and countermeasure (SPCC) plans and risk management plans. It also involves assistance in complying with requirements for the design, construction, inspection and maintenance of tanks, containers and vessels.

When accidental spills or releases do occur, we assist clients in determining whether notification is required, and in complying with notification procedures to local, state or federal agencies.  We also help our clients understand and comply with applicable remedial obligations. This work includes reporting and responding to spills and releases from underground and above-ground storage tanks, bulk hazardous substance and petroleum storage facilities, and transportation related releases.

In addition, Beveridge & Diamond frequently advises clients on the applicability of spill response, reporting and remediation requirements in the context of discovery of historic contamination.  The Firm also defends clients against government enforcement actions relating to spills.

Representative Matters
Representative Matters
  • We advised and prepared manuals for oil spill responders that analyzed and described applicable, local, state and federal requirements applicable to oil spill responses in all coastal states.
  • We have advised commercial real estate developers across the country with regard to differing state laws on reporting and remediation of historic contamination, including the discovery of petroleum releases, and the impacts on their projects.
  • We have advised petro-chemical clients on the scope of the federally permitted release exemption and scenarios that would allow for reduced reporting under EPA rules governing continuous releases.
  • We worked with the aviation industry to develop a compliance strategy for satisfying the SPCC rule requirements as applied to airports.
  • Beveridge & Diamond attorneys have provided on-site legal assistance in more than 30 incidents involving hazardous substance releases or oil spills from stationary sources and ocean-going vessels, which includes counseling to responsible parties taking part in the Incident Command System alongside Federal and State On-Scene Coordinators.