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Project Siting and Permitting
Our team helps clients across the country evaluate and obtain required permits and authorizations for discharges or emissions resulting from manufacturing or industrial processes. We also negotiate comprehensive permit terms and conditions that reduce the need for subsequent modifications. We represent clients before federal agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Department of the Interior, and state and local regulatory bodies. Where appropriate, we assist them in the proactive engagement of communities that may seek to slow or derail the permit process.
In Texas in particular, our team assists industrial and energy-sector clients in the permitting process, including handling initial applications and guiding them through the administrative review process, representing clients at public meetings, and managing all aspects of contested case hearings. We work regularly with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) and the State Office of Administrative Hearings (SOAH), the administrative body that handles contested case proceedings.
Our permitting experience includes:
- Assisting with reorganization and reissuance of air emissions permits to better facilitate compliance and development activities
- Obtaining federal Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) permits for greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions under the Clean Air Act (CAA) and EPA’s Tailoring Rule
- Handling permits and compliance plans for hazardous and solid waste, wastewater, air, and other emissions
- Advising on issues arising under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) in the development of infrastructure projects
- Representing clients in contested permit proceedings
- Handling wetlands development and permitting issues
- Counseling on authorizations for the appropriation of state waters
- Defending clients in New Source Review (NSR) challenges under the Clean Air Act (CAA)
Texas Contested Case Experience
- Assisted with the representation of a Fortune 500 company in a contested case proceeding before SOAH and TCEQ involving a 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 proceeding 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 proceeding 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 limit 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.
Other Permitting Experience
- Handled and helped obtain more GHG PSD permits than any other law firm in the country. Our work to date includes handling permit applications for power producers, industrial gas and chemicals companies, and refiners.
- Handled federal environmental strategy and NEPA-related permitting for a proposed new LNG marine import terminal in Maine. This state-of-the-art LNG facility, to be situated adjacent to the U.S.-Canada border, was proposed as a reliable, safe source of energy for Maine and backed by a leading investment bank.
- Assisted owners of coal-fired power plants in responses to and defenses of EPA enforcement actions relating to NSR regulations under the Clean Air Act.
- Represented independent power producers in permitting issues relating to PM 2.5 fine particulates.
- Represented a large independent refiner and marketer of petroleum products in a challenge to EPA applicability determination under New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) before the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.
- Advised a project developer on wetlands-related permitting for the “greenfield” development of a power plant in the Southwestern United States.
- Counseled a project developer on the comprehensive assessment of environmental impacts from the construction and operation of an international transmission line for electricity.