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Administrative and Judicial Proceedings

Thompson & Knight’s environmental law practice includes the representation of clients before administrative agencies. Such litigation includes administrative or judicial review of agency action, agency enforcement proceedings, and state and federal Superfund actions.

Overview

Thompson & Knight’s environmental law practice includes the representation of clients before administrative agencies. Such litigation includes administrative or judicial review of agency action, agency enforcement proceedings, and state and federal Superfund actions. Our environmental attorneys have served as lead counsel for individual clients as well as common counsel for client groups.

Thompson & Knight is “well respected for its deep environmental expertise” and “boasts a strong litigation bench as well as notable experience in EPA enforcement actions.” – Chambers USA 2019

When disputes arise, Thompson & Knight attorneys are vigorous advocates for our clients in the defense of any government enforcement actions, statutory-based lawsuits, contractual claims, or environmental tort suits. Our credibility and reputation with both opponents and agencies enable us to aggressively pursue and achieve creative, practical solutions on behalf of our clients.

50

More than 50 years of experience representing clients in environmental legal issues

Received a top national ranking for Environmental Litigation in U.S. News - Best Lawyers® “Best Law Firms” 2019

Honored among the top firms in the nation for Environment: Litigation and Environment: Regulatory in The Legal 500 US 2018 by Legalease

Experience

Judicial Enforcement Actions, Citizen Suits, and Challenges of Agency Action

  • Assisted an E&P company’s in-house counsel in conducting internal investigations related to alleged violations of the Endangered Species Act and defended the company in threatened criminal prosecution under that statute
  • Defended a refinery in a threatened civil enforcement action by Harris County, Texas, alleging violations of Texas air regulations
  • Defended a major manufacturing facility in a citizens’ suit under the Clean Air Act
  • Handled the appeal of the U.S. EPA’s objection to a state-issued Title V permit for a separately owned and operated cogeneration facility on the basis that the facility and the adjacent manufacturing plant are a single major source for purposes of Title V
  • Handled the appeal to the Environmental Appeals Board of a NPDES permit issued to a federal facility, and settlement of same with the U.S. EPA
  • Defended a manufacturing facility in suits by the Department of Justice and the State of New Mexico regarding groundwater contamination
  • Defended an inorganic chemical plant in a lawsuit by the State of Texas alleging violations of the state’s Solid Waste Disposal Act
  • Defended a chemical and plastics company in a lawsuit by the Department of Justice and the EPA regarding alleged violations of the federal Clean Air Act

Administrative Enforcement Actions

  • Defended an E&P company in an administrative enforcement action brought by the U.S. EPA alleging violations of section 404 of the Clean Water Act
  • Defended a refinery in an enforcement action brought by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality alleging violations of Title V regulations
  • Represented an oil refinery in a matter involving a long-term wastewater discharge exceedances, the Endangered Species Act, and toxicity testing exceedances
  • Defended a major oil company in negotiating a settlement with the state environmental agency regarding the investigation and remediation of soil and groundwater contamination from an historic refinery operation
  • Represented an industrial gas product distribution facility when an explosion and fire released organic vapors and asbestos
  • Defended an organic chemical plant in an enforcement action by the Texas Railroad Commission alleging violations of a statewide rule governing the underground storage of hydrocarbons
  • Defended a major steel manufacturing facility in an enforcement action alleging violation of the Texas Clean Air Act and the Solid Waste Disposal Act
  • Counseled a chemical and plastics company regarding alleged violations of the Texas Clean Air Act associated with the start-up of a major plant expansion
  • Advised a major air carrier in an investigation of the use and management of de-icing liquids

Endangered Species Act Actions

  • Represented an E&P company in a dispute with a landowner who alleged our client destroyed the habitat of endangered species, including an owl, ocelot, and migratory birds; negotiated a mitigation plan with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to significantly reduce any adverse impact on habitat, and achieved a favorable settlement for the client
  • Represented a land owner with almost 6,000 acres within the habitat of the endangered Houston toad before local, regional, and national offices of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and secured approval of a Habitat Conservation Plan; the land owner was issued an incidental take permit for the Houston toad, thereby allowing the development of the property
  • Represented a land owner before the local, regional, and national offices of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to negotiate a Safe Harbor Agreement under the Endangered Species Act, which provided liability protection under the Endangered Species Act for the development of the client’s property
  • Represented a real estate developer seeking to develop property in the habitat of two endangered bird species and endangered cave invertebrates; working with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, our attorneys were able to assist the client in obtaining incidental take permits allowing for the development of the property