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Recognizing that many industries face ever higher expectations for compliance with state and federal mandates, ESG assists companies in developing, implementing, and continually improving strategies for cost-effective compliance with all major state and federal environmental programs. We represent clients in enforcement proceedings and incident investigations, including parallel civil and criminal actions in high-profile matters. Our attorneys are also widely recognized for their strength in auditing, audit disclosures, and compliance management systems. In the litigation context, we are able to combine the experience and talents of our nationally-recognized environmental regulatory practitioners with our seasoned trial lawyers, drawing on decades of experience in the courtroom as well as familiarity with the regulatory and technical details on which these cases often turn.

Experience

Recent Notable Matters

Halliburton Energy Services, Inc. — various investigations that arose from the Deepwater Horizon incident, including President Obama’s Special Task Force, the U.S. Congress, and the CSB. Bracewell’s team brought the matter to a very successful resolution for Halliburton – one that included no criminal charges related to the explosion, the oil spill, or the environmental impacts.

Merchant refining company — policy, strategic communications and litigation arising from  EPA’s implementation and enforcement of the Renewable Fuels Standards programs 

Independent producer of oil and gas — national coordinating counsel on CWA compliance, auditing, disclosure and enforcement matters

The offshore services sector — enforcement matters before the Interior Board of Land Appeals regarding a wholly new area of law to litigate, which raises a question of first impression that will set the legal precedent for the offshore industry

Major chemical manufacturer — EPA Risk Management Plan (RMP) program inspection following an industrial accident

The American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity — challenge to the Clean Power Plan, acting as one of the leading firms in the litigation in both the D.C. Circuit and the Supreme Court

Large oil and gas terminal operator — EPA enforcement action under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) alleging violations related to hazardous waste generator status

Multinational oilfield services company — serve as national coordinating counsel for regarding various aspects of litigation associated with hydraulic fracturing. Our casework spans federal and state trial and appellate courts across multiple jurisdictions.

Fortune 100 refining company — a challenge to block the shipment of crude by rail to a refinery. Bracewell has been in the forefront of policy and legal issues surrounding crude-by-rail transportation.

Numerous Fortune 100 and 500 companies (including real estate developers and power generation, energy, chemical manufacturing, and mining companies) — contested case hearings before the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) and the State Office of Administrative Hearings (SOAH), the administrative body that handles contested case proceedings in the State of Texas

Upstream operator — multiyear investigation, disclosure and resolution of potential criminal and civil violations of Sections 402 and 404 of the Clean Water Act and related state statutes in the Marcellus and Eagle Ford plays 

Refining companies — contamination and natural resource damage cases brought by states. These actions, brought by the states of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New Hampshire, Vermont, Rhode Island, and New Mexico, have alleged damages in the billions of dollars. The claims also include everything from negligence for releases to products liability and failure to warn relating to the specific formulations used by industry.

Downgradient industrial property owner — defending in multiparty civil litigation at the Omega Chemical Superfund Site in Los Angeles

General contractor on a large construction project — litigation brought by the State of Texas and the City of Sulphur Springs using contingency-fee counsel seeking millions of dollars in environmental penalties for alleged stormwater violations

Houston-area heavy industrial manufacturer — secured the dismissal of all charges against client that had been indicted on three counts of felony water pollution

Integrated oil company — litigation challenging EPA’s denial of a regulatory exemption for two petroleum refineries, with cases brought against EPA in both the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals and the D.C. Circuit

Large chemical manufacturing facility — defending against a hazardous waste enforcement action by EPA's National Environmental Investigations Center under RCRA

Large midstream energy company — EPA enforcement action involving alleged violations of the Clean Air Act’s Risk Management Program

Major energy infrastructure company — prosecution of environmental indemnity claims against the acquired company arising from various environmental defects identified after closing

Offshore contractor — a case of first impression related to the authority of the Department of the Interior to issue penalties against contractors. The decision could have significant implications for how offshore industry contracts are structured and priced.

Refining companies — contamination and natural resource damage cases brought by states. These actions, brought by the states of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New Hampshire, Vermont, Rhode Island, and New Mexico, have alleged damages in the billions of dollars. The claims also include everything from negligence for releases to products liability and failure to warn relating to the specific formulations used by industry.

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Knowledge Center

Environmental Management Systems: Risk vs. Reward

December 12, 2017

Companies everywhere rely on written manuals, procedures, and other formal and informal systems intended to help them achieve environmental compliance and performance. Often overlooked are the many ways in which a company’s environmental management systems can create or increase unnecessary legal exposures for the company and its executives and employees. Tim Wilkins discusses the more significant legal risks associated with environmental management systems, along with methods of maximizing their benefits and mitigating their risks.

Boiler MACT Litigation - Environmental Law Seminar, Spring 2017

May 4, 2017

An introduction to the history and current status of EPA’s standards addressing hazardous air pollutants from industrial, commercial, and institutional major source boilers.  The presentation discusses the latest developments in federal litigation over the standards.  Then, it describes the issues still pending at EPA and looks ahead to how the agency might resolve them.

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