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Sweet Lake Land & Oil Co. v. Oleum Operating Co.

ELR Citation: 47 ELR 20133
Nos. 17-464, (La. Ct. App., 10/18/2017)

A Louisiana appeals court held that an oil company's oilfield cleanup plan was properly rejected by a trial court. An oil company sued a larger oil company alleging environmental damage to its property caused by decades of oil and gas exploration activities. The larger company was found 100% liable for the damages, and the case was referred to the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources (LDNR) to develop a feasible remediation plan. The judgment also ordered the oil company to submit to LDNR a plan to “remediate to applicable regulatory standards the contamination that resulted in the environmental damage to the property.” The company complied and LDNR approved the plan, which was then challenged in court as premature and not a final plan. The trial court rejected the plan as lacking enough information to formulate a plan to remediate groundwater contamination. The oil company appealed. The appellate court held that the trial court has the inherent authority to reject a remediation plan and to order LDNR to fully comply with its original order pursuant to the statute. The case was remanded.