Richard Alonso advises manufacturers and energy companies on environmental, permitting, compliance and enforcement issues before state and federal agencies. His practice focuses on Clean Air Act issues such as complex New Source Review applicability and permitting, mobile source regulations, EPA rulemaking efforts, legal challenges to EPA actions and Clean Air Act enforcement defense and compliance counseling. He also advises companies on multi-media enforcement matters, include Clean Water Act compliance issues.
Rich’s environmental enforcement defense docket include cases with Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), states and national environmental groups. He is called upon by industrial clients for his knowledge of EPA federal enforcement and how EPA’s enforcement office interacts with the rest of the Agency and with national environmental groups.
Before joining Bracewell, Rich was chief of the Stationary Source Enforcement Branch at the EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. He had nearly 10 years of service with EPA’s enforcement office, principally with the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act and Safe Drinking Water Act programs. He managed and negotiated Clean Air Act enforcement cases involving issues of national significance representing billions of dollars in injunctive relief, including the New Source Review coal-fired power plant enforcement initiative.
Recent Notable Matters
National refinery company — response to EPA’s implementation and enforcement of the Renewable Fuels Standards programs
Major terminal operation — defended against EPA flaring and tank emission enforcement using advance monitoring devices such as IR cameras
National refinery company — response to a nationwide USEPA investigation relating to flaring issues at its refineries
State agency — NSR settlement with EPA and national environmental groups to allow for the startup of a coal-fired power plant in interior Alaska
Major oil company — enforcement defense and assistance to the client in response to an EPA investigation alleging NSR compliance issues under the CAA at a California refinery
Various coal-fired utilities, refineries, terminals and other industrial clients — assist with responding to EPA information requests issued for regulatory and enforcement proceedings
Power producer — successful litigation for permit issues in the D.C. Federal District Court in a first-of-its-kind “deadline suit” litigation against the EPA, alleging EPA’s failure to issue a permit by the statutory deadline; suit was unique in that all other deadline suits have settled with the federal government
Major coal mining company — advice on addressing national environmental groups’ attempts to force regulation of GHG and other pollutants at coal mines nationwide
LNG export facility — permitting strategy to avoid challenge from national environmental groups
Confidential client — successfully defended the first GHG permit in the State of Texas before the U.S. Environmental Appeals Board
Major oil and gas company — successfully defended an air permit for the client seeking an NSR permit for an oil and gas field from a challenge from an environmental group
Multinational company — completed a settlement with a major national environmental organization avoiding a challenge to a GHG permit relating to an expansion of a major industrial site
Power client — initiated dialogue with a national environmental group thus avoiding challenge to the GHG permit for a proposed natural gas power generation plant
National refining company — GHG permit applications at various refineries throughout the U.S.
Major refining company — air permitting of midstream assets, including developing a strategy to avoid GHG permitting
Major electric utility — challenge to EPA’s Cross State Air Pollution Rule
Major electric utility — challenge to EPA’s Mercury Air Toxic Rule
Major electric utility — challenge to EPA’s New Source Performance Standard regulation GHG emissions from electric generating units
Large industrial association — performance specifications relating to particulate matter continuous emission monitors
Major electric utility — represented before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit challenging EPA's approval of Virginia's electric utility cap and trade program under the CAA
Publications and Speeches
“EPA’s Regional Consistency Regs Tilt The Playing Field,” Law360, October 28, 2016.
“DC Circ.’s Clean Power Plan Hearing: Key Points,” Law360, October 25, 2016.
“EPA’s Next Generation Enforcement Initiative: What It Means for the Next Generation of Environmental Auditing,” Auditing Roundtable Webinar, October 7, 2015.
“Under Attack: How to Protect Your Power Generation Project Against Environmental Group Opposition,” Power Engineering, November 25, 2014.
“Cleaning Up the Air and Carbon Too,” Society of Environmental Journalists 24th Annual Conference, September 6, 2014.
“First Texas GHG Permit Upheld by EPA Appeals Board,” Electric Power & Light, May 13, 2014.
“Environmental Enforcement and Crimes” Chapter, The Year in Review 2013, Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources, American Bar Association, March 2014.
“First Texas GHG Permit Upheld by EPA Appeals Board,” Electric Light & Power, May 13, 2014.
“Source Aggregation: Federal Appeals Court Reverses 30 Years of Faulty EPA Precedent,” Legal Backgrounder, Washington Legal Foundation, November 16, 2012.