FIRESTONE POLYMERS, LLC, AND BRIDGESTONE AMERICAS TIRE OPERATIONS, LLC
THE LOUISIANA DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY, ET AL.
APPEALED FROM THE / 19th JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT (J
EAST BATON ROUGE PARISH, LOUISIANA DOCKET NUMBER 664, 874,
SECTION 25 HONORABLE WILSON E. FIELDS, JUDGE
J. Crochet Timothy J. Poche Baton Rouge, Louisiana Attorneys
for Plaintiffs/ Appellants Firestone Polymers, LLC, and
Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations, LLC
W. Leefe Louis E. Buatt Charles B. Wilmore Court C.
VanTassell New Orleans, Louisiana Attorneys for Defendants/
Appellees CITGO Petroleum Corporation, Occidental Chemical
Corporation, and OXY USA, Inc.
Robinson Perry M. Theriot Rodney Barnes Oscar Magee Baton
Rouge, Louisiana Attorneys for Defendant/ Appellee Louisiana
Department of Environmental Quality
BEFORE: MCDONALD, THERIOT, and CHUTZ, JJ.
former and current owners of a rubber manufacturing facility
filed a petition for judicial review in the district court
challenging a Department of Environmental Quality remediation
order finding, among other things, that the owners were
partially responsible for remediation of a bayou near their
facility and ordering them to take specified action. The
district court determined it had no subject matter
jurisdiction to review the remediation order and dismissed
the owners' petition. The owners appealed the adverse
judgment. We affirm.
AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
Polymers, LLC, CITGO Petroleum Corporation, Occidental
Chemical Corporation, and OXY USA, Inc. own and/or operate
facilities that discharge water into Bayou d'Inde, a
nine-mile long bayou located west of Lake Charles, Louisiana.
In 2003, a United States Environmental Protection Agency
contractor issued a report indicating that Bayou d'Inde
was being impacted by hazardous releases. Although CITGO,
Occidental, and Oxy (CTTGO/Oxy), as well as other entities
not involved here, apparently agreed to participate in
remediation efforts, Firestone claimed its discharge into
Bayou d'Inde was minimal and refused to join a collective
remediation venture. In a September 22, 2004 letter citing
La. R.S. 30:2275, DEQ demanded that Firestone participate in
the remediation of Bayou d'Inde and reimburse DEQ for
costs incurred. After discussions with DEQ, Firestone
responded by denying liability for the contamination.
November 28, 2006 letter citing La. R.S. 30:2275, DEQ again
demanded that Firestone participate in the Bayou d'Inde
remediation, as well as the remediation of a ditch by which
Firestone's discharge traveled to Bayou d'Inde
(Firestone ditch), and again sought reimbursement of costs.
DEQ's 2006 demand was apparently based on samplings taken
in 2005 showing that polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) were
present in the Firestone ditch. After discussions with DEQ,
Firestone responded by denying liability for contamination of
Bayou d'Inde or the Firestone ditch.
ten years after its 2006 demand, DEQ again demanded, in a
July 14, 2016 letter citing La. R.S. 30:2275, that Firestone
and CITGO/Oxy participate in the remediation of Bayou
d'Inde and the Firestone ditch and again sought
reimbursement for costs. Firestone again denied liability.
November 29, 2017, DEQ issued an Administrative Order for
Remedial Action (DEQ Remediation Order) to Firestone and
CITGO/Oxy addressing "final investigation and
remediation" of Bayou d'Inde and the Firestone
ditch. The DEQ Remediation Order stated that it "shall
serve as an enforceable document"; made extensive
purported "Findings of Fact" and then deemed
Firestone and CITGO/Oxy to be responsible parties and
contributing sources to the contamination in Bayou
d'Inde; and "compel[led]" Firestone to
participate in the bayou's remediation. The DEQ
Remediation Order stated that unauthorized noncompliance with
its terms would constitute a violation of La. R.S. Title 30,
Chapter 12: Liability for Hazardous Substance Remedial
Action; and, such violation would be considered grounds for
enforcement actions, including, but not limited to,
compliance orders and penalties.
response to the DEQ Remediation Order, Firestone and
Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations, LLC (Firestone/BATO),
as current and former owners of the Firestone facility, filed
three actions in the 19th Judicial District Court:
(1) a petition for declaratory judgment essentially seeking a
declaration that the DEQ Remediation Order violated the
Louisiana Environmental Quality Act (LEQA), La. R.S. 30:2001,
et seq.; (2) a petition seeking judicial review of DEQ's
Remediation Order, under the LEQA and/or the Louisiana
Administrative Procedure Act (LAPA), La. R.S. 49:950, et
seq.; and, (3) a petition for de novo review under the LEQA,
which Firestone/BATO filed after DEQ denied its request for
an administrative hearing to address the Remediation
subject of this appeal is Firestone/BATO's petition for
judicial review of the DEQ Remediation Order. DEQ and
CITGO/Oxy both filed declinatory exceptions objecting to the
trial court's subject matter jurisdiction to review the
DEQ Remediation Order. Firestone/BATO opposed the exceptions,
and after a hearing, the district court signed a judgment on
December 3, 2018, granting the exceptions and dismissing
Firestone/BATO's petition for judicial review.
Firestone/BATO filed a writ application seeking a stay of the
DEQ Remediation Order pending this appeal, which this court
denied. Firestone Polymers, LLCand ...