Environmental

Environmental

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Senior Counsel
 
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Our environmental practice group handles environmental compliance due diligence and controversies for companies in many industries, including chemicals, manufacturing, real estate development, waste collection and disposal, oil and gas, pipeline, transportation, and many others. We determine the unique risks each client faces and work within the complex federal and state regulatory framework to develop practical, cost-effective approaches to their environmental issues.

Compliance

Federal, state, and local environmental laws and regulations are complex, interrelated, frequently changing, and sometimes contradictory. Our environmental lawyers counsel clients on state and federal environmental laws and regulations and work with them to address both current needs and future planning. We represent clients in rulemaking and administrative enforcement matters before regulatory agencies such as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, the Railroad Commission of Texas, the Department of State Health Services, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, among others. In state and federal courts, we defend clients against civil and criminal environmental enforcement claims brought by federal, state, and local regulators.

Permitting

Industrial and commercial facilities face a host of environmental permit requirements. We assist clients in identifying applicable requirements, navigating the administrative process to obtain and renew environmental permits. We also represent clients in contested permit hearings before all relevant federal, state, and local regulatory authorities.

Due Diligence & Environmental Risk Analysis

Because environmental risk is a concern in business transactions such as corporate acquisitions and mergers, financing, and real estate transfers, we perform diligence to evaluate environmental risks and identify creative risk management options.

Environmental Litigation

We have extensive experience litigating matters ranging from contamination to compliance, including cost recovery. We handle the full spectrum of claims, including:

  • Superfund claims.
  • Texas Solid Waste Disposal Act cost recovery claims.
  • Citizen suits and claims for damages from air, soil, groundwater, and surface water contamination.
  • Environmental insurance coverage claims.
  • Damages claims from oilfield contamination.

Our experience includes jury trials and successful appeals to both the U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeals and the Texas Supreme Court.

Insurance Negotiation & Coverage Litigation

We represent clients in negotiating environmental coverage for both single facilities and corporate-wide properties. When coverage litigation becomes necessary to obtain payment for environmental claims, we represent clients in a variety of coverage circumstances, including historical environmental liabilities, asbestos claims, mass torts, insurer's duties to defend and indemnify, occurrence and allocation controversies, and interpretation and application of multi-year policies.

Remediation and Cost Recovery

Some remediation is mandatory; some is voluntary. Various environmental regulatory programs provide a framework for performing corrective action. We assist clients in remediation projects resulting from due diligence findings, historical conditions, leaks, spills, emergency releases, and offsite sources. We work with state, federal and local regulatory agencies under such cleanup programs as federal Superfund, RCRA, the Texas Solid Waste Disposal Act, the Texas Voluntary Cleanup, and Innocent Owner Programs. We also represent clients in contamination and cost recovery litigation in both federal and state courts, including appeals to the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals and the Texas Supreme Court, and in defense of administrative claims.

Energy and the Environment

Environmental concerns are no stranger to the energy industry. Whether the issue is clean water, air quality, hazardous waste disposal, climate change, or any of the environmental issues related to unconventional resources or renewable resources, we combine our knowledge of complex environmental programs and practical considerations to address clients’ concerns. We address emerging issues such as climate change-related regulation, persisting issues such as those related to hydraulic fracturing, operational issues such as permitting and waste disposal, and historical soil and groundwater contamination issues often resulting in cleanup requirements or litigation.

Representative Experience+
 Environmental
  • Permittees and individuals in various federal and state administrative and judicial enforcement actions, both civil and criminal.
  • Applicants in contested administrative permit proceedings.
  • Various clients involved in Voluntary Cleanup Program, Innocent Owner Program, and corrective action remediation projects involving soil and groundwater contamination, surface water concerns, sediment, dust, odor and nuisance issues.
  • Various industrial clients in defense of citizen suits.
  • CERCLA PRPs at both single and multi-party sites and in contribution and cost recovery cases. We have served on steering, allocation and settlement committees for PRP groups.
  • A disposal facility that contested EPA's selection of it as a site for disposal of CERCLA cleanup waste.
  • Industrial clients seeking a white paper investigation and review of corporate compliance status and quantification of environmental liabilities.
  • Public companies seeking to meet SEC environmental disclosure requirements, including those related to climate change.
  • Industrial clients and property owners seeking environmental compliance counseling and assistance, environmental compliance audits, and self-disclosure notifications of non-compliance.
  • Industrial clients seeking cost recovery and damages under the Texas Solid Waste Disposal Act and making associated nuisance, trespass, fraud, contract and other claims, including appeals to the Fifth Circuit and the Supreme Court of Texas.
  • Industrial clients’ environmental insurance coverage claims for cleanup costs and attorneys' fees.
  • Business clients in asserting and defending damages claims for groundwater and soil contamination, including oilfield cases.
  • Electronics manufacturing facility in periodic environmental facility audit.
  • Industrial clients in negotiating administrative orders with EPA and TCEQ to resolve enforcement claims.
  • Buyers, sellers and investors in negotiation of environmental insurance coverage to address risks discovered during transaction due diligence.
  • Business and individual clients in environmental due diligence in corporate acquisitions, real estate, and lending transactions.
  • Industrial clients seeking evaluation of new or proposed legislation or regulations, including climate change developments.
Professionals+
News/Events+

News

11/01/16Porter Hedges Once Again Recognized by U.S. News & World Report and Best Lawyers "Best Law Firm" Rankings Among Leading National Firms
08/15/16The Best Lawyers in America 2017 Recognizes Porter Hedges
05/13/16Three Porter Hedges Attorneys Named to the Inaugural Best Lawyers Business Edition "Women In the Law" Issue
01/14/16Porter Hedges Advises Fred Haas Interests on the Sale of Two Infiniti Dealerships to John Eagle Automotive Group
01/14/16Porter Hedges Advises Fred Haas Interests on the Sale of Two Infiniti dealerships to John Eagle Automotive Group
11/02/15Porter Hedges Once Again Recognized by U.S. News & World Report and Best Lawyers "Best Law Firm" Rankings Among Leading National Firms
09/08/15Twenty-One Porter Hedges Partners Selected by Texas Super Lawyers for 2015
08/17/15Twenty-Two Porter Hedges Partners Listed in The Best Lawyers in America 2016
07/23/15Porter Hedges Receives American Lawyer 2015 Global Legal Award for Global Finance Deal of the Year: Project Finance
05/19/15Chambers USA 2015 Guide Recognizes Porter Hedges Among the Country’s Leading Law Firms
11/05/14Porter Hedges Lawyers Named to Who’s Who Legal 2014
11/03/14Porter Hedges Once Again Recognized by U.S. News & World Report and Best Lawyers "Best Law Firm" Rankings Among Leading National Firms
10/16/14Porter Hedges Represents Chesapeake Energy Corp. in the $5.375B Sale of Marcellus and Utica Shale Assets to Southwestern Energy
09/05/14Nineteen Porter Hedges Partners Selected by Texas Super Lawyers for 2014
08/18/14Nineteen Porter Hedges Partners Recognized in Best Lawyers in America 2015
05/23/14Chambers USA Ranks Porter Hedges Among the Country’s Leading Law Firms in its 2014 Law Firm Rankings
11/01/13Porter Hedges Recognized by U.S. News & World Report and Best Lawyers "Best Law Firm" Rankings Among Leading National Firms
10/18/13Porter Hedges Represents Azure Midstream Energy in the Acquisition of an EXCO and BG Group Joint Venture (TGGT Holdings) for $910 Million
08/16/13Nineteen Porter Hedges Partners Recognized in Best Lawyers in America 2014
07/03/13Porter Hedges Represents PetroQuest Energy in the $193 Million Gulf of Mexico Acquisition and a $200 Million Senior Note Offering
05/24/13Porter Hedges Once Again Ranked by Chambers USA 2013 Among the Country’s Leading Law Firms
11/01/12Porter Hedges Received National and Local Recognition by U.S. News & World Report and Best Lawyers "Best Law Firm" Rankings
09/2012Porter Hedges' Partners selected by Super Lawyers Business Edition and Texas Super Lawyers for 2012
09/05/12Twenty-One Porter Hedges Attorneys Recognized in Best Lawyers in America 2013
06/07/12Porter Hedges Ranked by Chambers USA 2012 Among the Country’s Leading Law Firms

Publications

Articles

Events

02/28/17"State and Federal Site Contamination Law," Legal Issues for Civil Engineers
04/30/13“Understanding Federal and State Rules on Stormwater Management,” Half Moon Education Inc’s Legal Issues for Texas Civil Engineers
2010, 2011"State and Federal Site Contamination Law," Texas Land Law for Civil Engineers and Land Surveyors
02/25/11"The Nature and Scope of Enforcement Authority and Related Case Law," Texas Wetlands Conference
11/04/05“Effective Litigation Techniques for Environmental Pollution Cases,” U.S. Department of Justice Television Network
04/04/05"Legionella in Water Systems - Liability Issues," National Association of Corrosion Engineers, "Corrosion 2005"
08/24/04“Environmental Issues Of Document Retention And Destruction: Best Policies And Practices,” Document Retention and Destruction in Texas, Lorman Education Seminar
06/01/01“Federal Wetlands Jurisdiction After the SWANCC Decision,” Texas Water Law Conference
01/01/87"Cleanup Standards," Superfund a Program in Evolution