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Managing Partner, Austin
Tim Wilkins is the head of Bracewell & Giuliani's firm-wide Environmental and Natural Resources practice group and Managing Partner of the firm's Austin office. He assists companies in identifying and addressing environmental issues in all media, and advises on the legally appropriate design and implementation of systems for corporate environmental governance, management and auditing.
He has experience with administrative, civil and criminal environmental enforcement actions, the resolution of regulatory and liability issues associated with contaminated properties and their remediation, and counseling on the environmental aspects of transactions, project siting and development.
Tim has published and lectured on privileged auditing, environmental management systems, climate change, environmental enforcement defense and transactions-related environmental issues. He teaches the course in Corporate Environmental Law at The University of Texas School of Law and long served as an adjunct professor at the University of Houston Law Center.
Before joining Bracewell, Tim was research assistant to Professor Laurence H. Tribe of Harvard Law School, Editor-in-Chief of the Harvard Environmental Law Review, and a judicial clerk for the Honorable Henry A. Politz, Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.
Auditing and Compliance
Negotiated a corporate auditing agreement with EPA headquarters in connection with an environmental compliance audit for a major energy services company.
Assisting a major grocery wholesale, warehousing, and transportation company with a series of environmental audits, corrective actions, and audit disclosures.
Successfully represented a large industrial construction company in overturning a “poor” compliance history score issued by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.
Represented a large consumer products and chemical manufacturer in connection with a series of environmental, safety, and process safety management compliance audits.
Negotiated a corporate auditing agreement with EPA headquarters and prepared environmental audit disclosures in connection with the merger of two major industrial construction companies with a combined value of $9 billion. This pioneering agreement provided penalty relief under the EPA's "Interim Approach" for applying its find, fix, and disclose Audit Policy.
Designed and assisted with the implementation of environmental compliance audit programs for companies engaged in electric power generation, energy production and transportation, chemical manufacturing, cement manufacturing, and printing and publishing, including assistance with audit disclosures under EPA and state audit policies and innovative applications of those policies. Mr. Wilkins pioneered the use of EPA's Audit Policy in transactional contexts to successfully extinguish compliance-related liabilities in mergers and acquisitions. He has directed or participated in privileged environmental compliance audits of more than 600 facilities and handled audit disclosures for over 200 facilities under federal, Texas and other state environmental audit programs.
Handled the environmental aspects of a $2.85 billion acquisition by Apache Corporation of Oklahoma and Texas operations in the Anadarko basin that use hydraulic fracturing to produce oil and natural gas.
Represented a major integrated petroleum company in connection with the environmental aspects of its securities filings and on the allocation of cleanup liabilities associated with a corporate spinoff and initial public offering.
Advised on the environmental aspects of a major upstream and midstream oil and gas acquisition involving assets in Alaska; continuing to assist the acquiror with permitting and compliance issues impacting the acquired assets.
Represented the agent bank on the environmental aspects of a financing for a newly-formed master limited partnership secured by significant petroleum terminal, pipeline, and other assets.
Represented the agent bank on the environmental aspects of a billion-dollar secured term loan for the acquisition of a publicly-traded oil and gas exploration and production company.
Represented several financial interests in connection with the environmental aspects of oil and gas volumetric production payment transactions.
Handled environmental aspects of the landmark $7 billion acquisition by Apache Corporation of BP's upstream oil and gas operations, acreage and infrastructure in Western Canada, West Texas and Egypt, in addition to the environmental components of Apache's stock offering associated with that acquisition. The acquisition was the largest oil and gas asset acquisition in U.S. history.
Handled all environmental aspects of the financing of a $3 billion, 680-mile interstate natural gas pipeline through four western states.
Advised on the environmental aspects of numerous acquisitions, divestitures and financing transactions in the energy, refining, electric power, chemicals, telecommunications, real estate, waste handling and municipal sectors.
Air Quality and Permitting
Assisting a midstream energy company in obtaining federal Prevention of Significant Deterioration permits for greenhouse gas emissions from proposed gas processing and fractionating facilities under the Clean Air Act and U.S. EPA’s Tailoring Rule.
Advised a Texas-based specialty chemicals manufacturer on Clean Air Act Title V permitting and aggregation issues.
Successfully represented an industrial gases manufacturer in an agency inquiry regarding whether co-located facilities should be aggregated for purposes of an air permit amendment.
Assisted a major chemical manufacturing facility with the reorganization and reissuance of its air emissions permits to better facilitate compliance and development activities, as well as corporate financing and transactional opportunities.
Assisting a major midstream energy services company with policy and regulatory issues relating to U.S. EPA’s proposed revisions to Clean Air Act New Source Performance Standards and National Emissions Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants.
Advised on siting and environmental permitting issues associated with several new power plants (including coal, gas, cogeneration and wind facilities), chemical manufacturing and energy-related facilities.
Other Representative Matters
Prepared a Data Quality Act challenge to an Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry health consultation relating to releases from a major natural gas producer’s upstream operations.
Advising a major consumer products manufacturer in connection with pesticide-related wastewater permitting and enforcement activities.
Advised a major upstream energy company on Clean Water Act enforcement and scienter standards and practices.
Advised a real estate developer on the environmental aspects of siting and constructing a convention center hotel project in Austin.
Assisting a major midstream energy services company in Texas Railroad Commission proceedings relating to environmental remediation and reporting issues.
Successfully defended a heavy equipment provider against a Federal Aviation Administration hazardous materials transportation citation, resulting in the agency’s withdrawal of the citation.
Defended numerous air, water, waste and hazardous materials enforcement actions for companies in the power generation, chemical, and forest products sectors, as well as criminal prosecutions alleging waste and water violations.
Publications and Speeches
"Managing Environmental Risk in Transactions," 24th Texas Environmental Superconference, Austin, Texas, August 3, 2012.
"General Environmental Regulatory Update and Roundtable Discussions: A Fireside Chat," South Central Regional Meeting, The Auditing Roundtable, Austin, Texas, August 1, 2012.
Co-author, "Don't Dump Your Money Down a Well," Law360, May 5, 2011.
"Environmental Regulatory Update," Auditing Roundtable South Central Regional Meeting, Austin, April 7, 2011.
"Legal Issues for EHS Auditors," The Auditing Roundtable Auditor Training, Houston, Texas, November 10, 2010.
"Environmental Regulatory Developments for the Oil & Gas Industry," Wortham Insurance Pollution Risks and Insurance Seminars (Dallas, San Antonio, Austin), October 26-27, 2010.
"Update on the Law of Climate Change: Recent Developments in Legislation, Regulation, and Litigation," Dallas Bar Association Corporate Counsel Section, July 6, 2010.
Co-author, "Climate Change Industry Overview," Chambers USA 2010-2011 Edition.
"TCEQ Releases Emissions Study for Barnett Shale - Added Regulatory Attention Expected," Environmental Law Update, January 29, 2010.
"Using EPA's 'New Owner' Audit Policy," 21st Texas Environmental Superconference, Austin, Texas, August 7, 2009.
"Environmental Compliance Auditing: Getting It Right, Now More than Ever," TCC/ACIT Environmental, Health and Safety Seminar, Galveston, Texas, June 11, 2009.
Co-author, "A New Enforcement Reality," Energy Lawyer, May 18, 2009.
"Using EPA's Audit Policy in Transactional Contexts," The Auditing Roundtable National Meeting, San Antonio, Texas, April 21, 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.
"Audits Will Protect Your Environmental Compliance Investment," Oil & Gas Financial Journal, October 10, 2008.
"Brownfields Toolkit: Overview of Liabilities," 20th Annual Texas Environmental Superconference, Austin, Texas, August 6, 2008.
"Environmental Law Update," The Auditing Roundtable, South Central Region meetings, August 4, 2010; August 5, 2009; August 6, 2008; March 27, 2008; August 1, 2007; August 2, 2006; April 6, 2006; August 3, 2005; April 23, 2004.
"Environmental Enforcement Trends: What We Face, How to Prepare," Pipeline & Gas Journal, May 2008.
"Beating the Environmental Enforcement Squeeze," Upstream Technology, May 2008.
"Compliance Program May Serve as Stitch in Time for Companies," Houston Business Journal, February 8, 2008.
"Environmental Audits and Management Systems: An Update from the Front Lines," Austin Bar Association Environmental, Natural Resources and Water Section, February 7, 2008.
"Environmental Auditing and Management Approaches for Compliance," Biodiesel Magazine, February 2008.
"Under Pressure: New Drivers and New Risks for Corporate Environmental Disclosure," Zephyr Currents, October 2007.
"Accounting for the Environment: Corporate Environmental Disclosure and Reporting," Houston Bar Association 2007 Environmental Law Institute, September 28, 2007.
"An Overview of the Environmental Law System," 19th Annual Texas Environmental Superconference, Austin, Texas, August 1, 2007.
"A Theory of Evolution: How Securities Laws and Markets are Influencing Corporate Sustainability," EM - The Magazine for Environmental Managers, Air & Waste Management Association, April 2007.
"The Hydrogen Economy: A Lawyer's Perspective," National Hydrogen Association Annual Conference, San Antonio, Texas, March 21, 2007.
"Required and Voluntary Environmental, Sustainability, and Corporate Social Responsibility Reporting," The Auditing Roundtable - South Central Region Meeting, Austin, Texas, March 13, 2007.
"Transactions and the Environmental Lawyer," 18th Annual Texas Environmental Superconference, Austin, Texas, August 2, 2006.
"The Hydrogen Economy: Practical Legal Issues," American Bar Association Section on Environment, Energy, and Resources. Seminar on Renewable Energy Resources, Houston, Texas, January 18, 2006.
J.D., cum laude, Harvard Law School, 1993
M.P.P., Harvard University, 1993
B.A., magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, Trinity University, 1988
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
The Audit Roundtable, Immediate Past Chair, South Central Region
Austin Bar Association, Environmental Law Section
State Bar of Texas Environmental Law Journal, Recent Developments Columnist, 2003-2008
State Bar of Texas, Environmental and Natural Resources Section, Executive Committee Member, 2001-2003
Member, Strategic Advisory Board, Board of Environmental, Health & Safety Auditor Certifications (BEAC), 2008-present
Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business, Corporate/M&A, 2006-2012
US Legal 500, Environment: Litigation, 2011-2012
Practical Law Company, Leading Individual Attorney, Environmental Law
Best Lawyers in America, 2009, 2010 and 2012
Super Lawyers, Corporate Counsel Edition, 2009
Texas Super Lawyers, 2004, 2006-2012
Martindale-Hubbell® AV® Preeminent™ Rating
Editor-in-Chief, Harvard Environmental Law Review