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Christopher C. Thiele
Chris Thiele is a partner in the Environmental Strategies Group at Bracewell & Giuliani LLP. His practice focuses primarily on the regulation of air pollution under the federal Clean Air Act and related state and local laws and regulations, notably in Texas.
Chris regularly represents a variety of industrial and energy clients on a wide range of air permitting, rulemaking, compliance auditing, enforcement, and litigation matters. He also provides general counseling on Clean Air Act matters, has represented clients in a wide-range of contested permit proceedings, and handles matters before agencies such as the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Texas State Office of Administrative Hearings, Railroad Commission of Texas, and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.
Prior to his legal career, Chris was an engineer for an environmental consulting firm where he represented companies in the oil and gas, petrochemical, surface coating and wood-products industries. He was also a senior engineer for a major electric utility, where he worked with the corporate environmental department on state and federal air permitting activities related to twelve electric generating stations.
Assisted with the representation of a Fortune 500 company in a contested case proceeding before the State Office of Administrative Hearings (SOAH) and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) involving a Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) permit application for a Central Texas lignite-fired power generation facility; TCEQ issued the PSD permit without any additional terms or conditions.
Assisted with the representation of a Fortune 100 company in a contested case hearing before SOAH and TCEQ involving a wastewater discharge permit application for a Central Texas lignite mine; TCEQ issued the wastewater discharge permit without any additional permit terms or conditions.
Represented a residential developer and multiple municipal utility and levee improvement districts as protestants in a contested case hearing before SOAH and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department involving an application for the amendment and renewal of a sand, shell, gravel, and marl permit; this matter resulted in a settlement requiring the permit applicant to conduct additional monitoring and limiting the duration of its operations.
Assisted with the representation of a Fortune 100 company in a contested case proceeding before the Railroad Commission of Texas involving a surface mining permit application; this matter resulted in a settlement on the eve of the contested case hearing and the issuance of the surface mining permit.
Assisted with the representation of a major energy company before SOAH and TCEQ following a contested case hearing involving an air permit application for a merchant power plant; TCEQ issued the air permit without any additional permit terms or conditions.
Assisted in advising a Fortune 100 company on air permit compliance matters in response to citizen group and government lawsuits alleging federal Clean Air Act new source review violations at a lignite-fired power generation facility.
Assisted with the representation of one of the largest cement manufacturers in the United Sates on matters pertaining to EPA’s designation of counties as non-attainment under the 8-hour ozone national ambient air quality standard.
Helped obtain a TCEQ Air Emergency Order for a Fortune 100 company authorizing reconstruction of facilities and associated air emissions following an industrial accident resulting in catastrophic damage.
Helped develop and implement strategies for obtaining timely air permit authorization for a wide range of new industrial facilities and modifications and expansions of existing industrial facilities.
Assisted clients in designing audit protocols, directed and assisted in compliance reviews, evaluated third-party auditor findings, and assisted in disclosing compliance issues under EPA's Audit Policy and the Texas Environmental Health and Safety Audit Privilege Act.
Obtained a favorable settlement of an EPA Region 6 enforcement case brought against an international energy company for alleged violations of wastewater discharge permits at offshore oil and gas exploration and production facilities.
Publications and Presentations
"A New Climate For Air Permitting: A Review of EPA's PSD and Title V Permitting Guidance For Greenhouse Gases," University of Texas School of Law 2011 Carbon and Climate Change Conference, February 2011.
"A Review of EPA's NSR Enforcement Initiative: What Does The Future Hold?" Fifteenth Annual Texas Environmental Superconference, August 2003.
"Air Quality - Hot Issues," Fifteenth Annual Texas Environmental Superconference, August 2003.
J.D., The University of Texas School of Law, 1999
B.S., cum laude, Texas A&M University, 1990
U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
American Bar Association, Section of Environment, Energy and Resources
State Bar of Texas, Environmental and Natural Resources Section
Austin Bar Association
Best Lawyers in America, Environmental Law, 2013
Texas Super Lawyers, Rising Star, 2004-2009
Recipient, Outstanding CLE Article Award - Environmental and Natural Resources Law Section, State Bar of Texas
The International Who’s Who of Business Lawyers in Environmental Law, 2011