New law will affect state’s environmentally regulated facilities

Q&A with Garry Keele

published in The Oklahoman | August 9, 2019

In a business Q&A with The Oklahoman, McAfee & Taft environmental attorney Garry Keele reviewed the Oklahoma Environmental, Health and Safety (EHS) Audit Privilege Act, a new law that provides strong incentives for regulated facilities to conduct regular EHS self-audits and address in a timely manner any potential compliance issues identified during the audit.  The Act is set to go into effect November 1, 2019.

“The EHS Audit Privilege Act provides certain evidentiary privileges for reports and other documents generated during the course of a voluntary EHS self-audit at facilities that are subject to regulation under state and federal EHS laws,” said Keele.  “The act also provides limited immunity from civil and administrative enforcement actions for regulated facilities that report and correct certain compliance issues that are discovered during the course of a voluntary EHS self-audit.”

Keele added that the new immunity provisions do not apply to facilities whose conduct that caused the violation was willful or knowing, or whose conduct was reckless and resulted in substantial harm to people or the environment.