LDEQ’s Hurricane Ida Emergency Declarations: What Do They Cover?
On August 27, 2021, with Hurricane Ida’s impact on South Louisiana imminent, the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality (LDEQ) issued a statewide Declaration of Emergency. The Declaration provided guidance on a number of expected impacts of the storm, including “upset” of Louisiana Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permits by wastewater treatment plants, the influx of solid waste disposal at landfills, the need to repair permitted facilities to commence operations, and the extension of deadlines. The original Declaration was set to expire on September 26, 2021. On August 28, LDEQ issued the First Amended Declaration of Emergency, which was substantively identical to the first and also applied to the entire state.
On September 8, 2021, ten days after Ida made landfall, LDEQ issued a Second Amended Declaration of Emergency. In it, LDEQ restricted the ongoing emergency areas to Ascension, Assumption, East Baton Rouge, East Feliciana, Iberia, Iberville, Jefferson, Lafourche, Livingston, Orleans, Plaquemines, Pointe Coupee, St. Bernard, St. Charles, St. Helena, St. James, St. John the Baptist, St. Martin, St. Mary, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, Terrebonne, Washington, West Baton Rouge, and West Feliciana parishes and extended the declaration to September 30, 2021. The second declaration waived certain reporting requirements for demolition work. For example, while there is an ordinary four-hour reporting window for asbestos debris, this has been waived and instead notice is required within one day after commencing the work. It also waives some of the training and accreditation requirements for contractors to handle asbestos debris. (See §3.) The Second Declaration also extended all public comment periods for permit actions within the Emergency Areas that had been pending as of August 27, 2021, to September 27, 2021. (See §6.) LDEQ has also extended the deadlines for paying certain fees and invoices within the Emergency Areas. (See §8.) If your facility has been impacted by Hurricane Ida, one or more of these emergency provisions may apply to you.