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Richard Alonso is a partner in the firm's Environmental Strategies Group in its Washington, D.C. office. He advises manufacturers and energy companies on environmental compliance and enforcement issues before state and federal agencies. He has counseled clients through complex Clean Air Act permit processes, has represented large trade associations in EPA rulemaking efforts and legal challenges to EPA actions, and handles compliance issues with the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act.
Mr. Alonso's significant environmental enforcement defense docket include cases with EPA, States, and national environmental groups. He is called upon by various industrial clients for his expertise on EPA federal enforcement and his knowledge of how EPA's enforcement office interacts with the rest of the Agency and with national environmental groups.
Before joining Bracewell, Mr. Alonso was the Chief of the Stationary Source Enforcement Branch at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. In this capacity, he was EPA’s second-ranking official for Clean Air Act enforcement. As the national program manager of the stationary source enforcement program under the Clean Air Act, he worked with the U.S. Department of Justice, EPA Regional offices, and States to develop enforcement policies and priorities through guidance, rulemakings, settlements and litigation. He has nearly 10 years of service with EPA's enforcement office, principally with the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, and Safe Drinking Water Act programs. He managed and negotiated Clean Air Act enforcement cases involving issues of national significance representing billions of dollars in injunctive relief, including the New Source Review coal-fired power plant enforcement initiative.
At the EPA, Mr. Alonso was also instrumental in the development and implementation of national enforcement and compliance initiatives addressing alleged non-compliance from various industrial and agricultural industries, as well as efforts addressing the importation of products that were in non-conformance with U.S. environmental law. He has unique experience in regulatory and policy development in the areas of New Source Review (NSR), clean air market-based programs, National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP), and New Source Performance Standards (NSPS). His duties also included oversight of EPA Regional enforcement programs, training EPA regional and state staff and managers in legal theories and case development techniques.
Some of the major policy issues he tackled include addressing excess air emissions in State Implementation Plans, the use and availability of Credible Evidence under the Clean Air Act, and the development of NSR reforms. Mr. Alonso also was the special assistant to the Assistant Administrator of the Office of Compliance and Assurance, J.P. Suarez, where he ensured coordination of the national enforcement program with all other EPA Headquarters and Regional offices.
Before obtaining his experience in Clean Air Act matters, Mr. Alonso was a staff attorney in the Water Enforcement Division at EPA Headquarters. He was a key player in the enforcement of the National Pollutant Discharge Effluent Standards program with a concentration in wet weather issues such as Combined Sewer Overflows, Sanitary Sewer Overflows and Stormwater compliance issues. Mr. Alonso also represented EPA in pretreatment and industrial discharge matters, led targeting efforts, and worked closely with EPA’s Office of Water in policy development. While in the Water Enforcement Division, Mr. Alonso gained vast knowledge and experience in EPA’s regulatory process through participating in the variance and exemption, consumer confidence report, public notification and arsenic regulations under the Safe Drinking Water Act.
Prior to his EPA service relating to the Clean Air Act, Mr. Alonso was an associate at Bracewell.
Publications and Speeches
"Source Aggregation: Federal Appeals Court Reverses 30 Years of Faulty EPA Precedent," Legal Backgrounder, Washington Legal Foundation, November 16, 2012.
Panelist, “MACT Impact: How Will the Power Sector Manage to Comply?” SNL Center for Financial Education Webinar, November 22, 2011.
Panelist, "EPA and Clean Air Act," SNL Power, Policy and Investments Forum, New York, June 7, 2011.
"The Basics of Clean Air Law," Clean Air: Law, Policy and Practice, Fourth Annual Advanced ALI-ABA Course of Study, December 2, 2010.
"EPA's New Emissions Standards and Their Impact on the Portland Cement Industry," 2nd Argus Petroleum Coke Summit Americas, September 17, 2010.
"Enforcement in the New EPA," Seminar: EPA's Proposal to Disapprove Changes to the Texas Air Permitting Program, September 22, 2009.
"Analysis of the Use of International Offsets in a Cap & Trade Program in U.S. Environmental Laws and Their Impact on Mexico," National (Mexico) Association of Corporate Lawyers (ANADE) Annual Convention, September 15, 2009 (in Spanish).
"Burlington Northern and the Future of PRP Liability Under CERCLA," ABA Environment, Energy, and Resources Law Summit, September 2009.
"EPA Mulls Proposal to Limit Carbon Emissions from Stationary Sources," Energy Legal Blog, August 27, 2009.
Co-author, "A New Enforcement Reality," Energy Lawyer, May 18, 2009.
Co-author, "Prepare for Tougher Environmental Enforcement," Bloomberg Environmental Law Report, Vol. 1, No. 3, March 2009.
Co-author, "The New Look Of Environmental Enforcement And What Companies Can Do To Prepare," New Jersey Law Journal, February 23, 2009.
"A Primer on EPA Enforcement," The New Enforcement Agenda and How to Prepare, Bracewell & Giuliani Seminar, February 2009.
Co-author, "Deseret Decision Regarding CO2 Avoids the Key Question and Creates Significant Uncertainty," Environmental Law Update, November 2008.
J.D., Syracuse University College of Law, 1996
M.S., Environmental Engineering, Syracuse University, 1996
B.S., Civil Engineering, Florida International University, 1992
District of Columbia
U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia
US Legal 500, Environment: Litigation, 2012
Vice Chair, Environmental Enforcement and Crimes Committee, American Bar Association - Environment, Energy and Resources Section
Groundbreaking Lawyers of 2009, Clean Air Compliance, Public Utilities Fortnightly
Syracuse Law Review