Texas and Louisiana Brace for Hurricane Harvey; Texas Governor Abbott Provides Limited Regulatory Relief
The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (“TCEQ”) has released guidance for preparing for Hurricane Harvey, which is increasing in intensity and is now expected to make landfall in the middle Texas Coast between Corpus Christi and Galveston possibly as a Category 4 hurricane late Friday evening or early Saturday morning. The hurricane is expected to stall and bring significant potential for flooding in many coastal and inland counties throughout Texas and Louisiana. TCEQ’s guidance addresses waste management, wastewater treatment plant and air permitting issues that may arise during shutdown and response activities by regulated entities.
The Governors of Texas and Louisiana have also released Emergency Proclamations (Texas Emergency Proclamation1; Louisiana Emergency Proclamation). The Texas proclamation suspends application of rules that would prevent, hinder or delay necessary action to cope with the disaster upon written approval from the Governor and enforcement of procurement rules that would impede the State’s emergency response efforts. In 2008, in response to Hurricane Ike, the Governor of Texas issued an Emergency Order that more broadly applied; given the potential impact of Hurricane Harvey, the Governor could conceivably do so again. (See Governor of Texas' proclamation.)
Companies should also consider taking steps to prepare for post-hurricane insurance coverage claims. Beveridge & Diamond’s insurance coverage practice group has developed a checklist of steps to take to maximize insurance recovery following a disaster.
Please see also, Texas Department of Public Safety State Situation Report as of Friday morning, August 25.
1 Update as of August 27: The Governor has issued an amendment to the Disaster Proclamation, including the additional counties of Bastrop, Burleson, Polk and San Jacinto.