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The ESG team represents applicants in all aspects of the environmental permitting process. Our lawyers are involved beginning with the initial project planning stages, from scoping regulatory and permitting requirements across all media and disciplines to pre-application counseling and application development. As projects proceed, we assist clients in negotiating with permitting agencies, working with consultants and stakeholders during the administrative review process, and negotiating reasonable settlements with project opponents to help our clients reach milestones and avoid negative publicity. Throughout this process, we focus on strengthening permit applications and bolstering the administrative record to help safeguard project permits against potential challenges. Our lawyers regularly defend permits in contested case proceedings and administrative and judicial appeals. Where appropriate, we assist clients in proactively engaging organizations and communities seeking to slow or derail the permit process.

Experience

Recent Notable Matters

New York Stock Exchange-listed company — all environmental permitting and compliance matters in connection with the construction and operation of its liquefied natural gas (LNG) export facilities in Sabine Pass, Louisiana and Corpus Christi, Texas

Large international chemical manufacturer — led the owner’s federal and state air permitting effort on a $2 billion greenfield chemical plant in South Texas including the successful defense and resolution of multiple contested case hearing challenges 

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

Chemical and energy companies — assist with greenhouse gas permit applications before EPA Region 6

Chemical manufacturer — multiple enforcement actions brought by the TCEQ related to alleged air and water quality permit violations

Independent terminal operator — developing a permitting strategy and shared facilities arrangement for air, water and waste authorizations for a bifurcated facilities in multiple states

Large international chemical manufacturer — obtaining the environmental permits necessary for the construction and operation of the world’s largest single-line polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plant in Corpus Christi, Texas, along with a related cogeneration facility and a desalination facility

LNG export facility — permitting strategy to avoid challenge from national environmental groups

Major chemical manufacturer — permitting and compliance matters at multiple chemical manufacturing plants in Texas, including air permit authorization of a planned new chemical manufacturing unit at one plant, and compliance and auditing assistance

Major electric utility — renewal of a Texas Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (TPDES) permit for a power generation facility

Major electric utility — the approval by the TCEQ and EPA of the inter-pollutant use of emission reduction credits to satisfy air permitting requirements for a new Texas gas-fired power plant

Midstream oil and gas company — multiple enforcement actions brought by EPA and the TCEQ related to alleged air and water quality permit violations

Pipeline company — Clean Water Act Section 404 individual, nationwide and regional permits associated with work on existing pipelines and development of new pipeline segments

Power project developer — before the EPA Environmental Appeals Board opposite a national non-governmental organization with respect to a federal PSD permit issued by EPA for greenhouse gas emissions from a gas-fired power plant project

People

Awards

News

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.

Unusual Dynamics Of Upstream Distress - Environmental Law Seminar, Spring 2017

May 4, 2017

A high-level presentation on financial distress affecting upstream oil and gas companies. The presentation discusses factors that precipitated this distress (such as low commodity prices), the effects of such distress (such as accelerated decommissioning obligations), and highlights key challenges and takeaways of note.

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