News roundup: Baton Rouge law firm offers flood blog to help businesses … Louisiana lawmakers agree to Interstate 10 widening plan … EPA, Whole Foods reach $3.5M settlement deal over hazardous waste regulations violations

Legal resource: McGlinchey Stafford, a national law firm with offices at 301 Main St., Suite 1400, in Baton Rouge, has launched the Flood Law Blog, a legal resource for businesses affected by last month’s flood. The blog seeks to offer the business community a central repository for information about flood-related legislation, litigation, and regulatory issues affecting companies that operate or conduct business in flood-impacted regions. “We always strive to provide unprecedented legal services to our clients, and right now countless businesses throughout Louisiana seek to find answers on post-flood legal issues,” says Rudy Aguilar, managing member of McGlinchey Stafford’s Baton Rouge office. “We hope that this new free resource will help both our clients and the broader business community on their path to recovery.” Check out the blog. 

Getting bigger: Louisiana lawmakers have agreed to widen Interstate 10 to six lanes on a heavily traveled portion of the interstate from Baton Rouge to suburban Ascension Parish. The Associated Press reports the House and Senate transportation committee agreed to the plan Monday without objection. It required approval because of the design method the state transportation department intends to use to fast-track the project. The $60 million project will widen a 7-mile stretch of interstate from two lanes in each direction to three. About 80,000 motorists are estimated to use that section daily. Construction is estimated to take at least two years, with the work to begin near the end of 2017. The transportation department says it plans to use federal dollars that had been earmarked for other projects deemed not ready to get underway.

Settled: After a year-long investigation, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced that it has reached a $3.5 million settlement with Whole Foods Inc. over hazardous waste regulations violations. According to a news release, EPA investigators found that Whole Foods did not properly make hazardous waste determinations at facilities in Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and New Mexico, as required by the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. Whole Foods also improperly handled spent lamps, which are categorized as “universal” hazardous waste, a type of hazardous waste composed of items common to many types of facilities and industrial sectors. Whole Foods will have to correct the violations, pay penalties, and promote hazardous waste compliance in the retail industry as part of a supplemental environmental project.

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