- 10:30 AM
94d

Katrina: Regulatory Lessons Learned

Mary Ellen Ternes, McAfee & Taft, 10th Floor, Two Leadership Square, Oklahoma City, OK 73102-7103

In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, while emergency responders and administrative agencies were overwhelmed with initial response efforts, law makers were also busy debating legislative proposals to address perceived gaps in existing federal law. In response to these proposals, the American Bar Association Section of Environment, Energy and Resources (ABA SEER) reviewed the emergency response issues identified by the CDC and the EPA and the reactionary legislative proposals arising from the events, from broad exemptions to expedited cleanups, all in the context of the pre-existing regulatory and statutory environmental exemptions. ABA SEER produced a White Paper summarizing the existing exemptions and regulatory flexibility and analyzing possible risks from the proposed statutory fixes, concluding that such legislative efforts were both unnecessary and would have created greater risks in an already chaotic time.

This presentation will summarize the events, the political response, ABA SEER's legal analysis including the more than 50 existing exemptions federal law currently provides to environmental requirements, and their conclusions for future use by regulators and regulated entities.