Biography

Leonard Dougal is an environmental lawyer who represents a diverse group of clients in complex permitting and water matters, including energy companies involved in shale development, power generation companies, real estate developers and special utility districts. He is also active in water quality issues where he represents mining and energy companies, developers and agricultural operators in Clean Water Act permit and compliance matters.

Leonard is a sought after speaker at bar and continuing legal education seminars on emerging water law issues.  He is a co-author of two chapters in the treatise on Texas water law, The Essentials of Texas Water Resources.

Leonard has a special interest in helping clients navigate the legal issues involved with hydraulic fracturing and shale play development. His work as a petroleum engineer for Exxon Company, U.S.A. prior to attending law school gives him unique insight into the challenges faced by production companies.

He is also a Texas licensed Professional Engineer (inactive).

Practice Expertise

Leonard represents clients in major energy and commercial projects, including obtaining necessary environmental permits for the construction and operation of power generation facilities. He principally works on environmental permitting, including securing water rights, obtaining water quality permits, and creating special districts to provide utility services. He also advises clients on the environmental aspects of real estate transactions, including the workings and benefits of the state voluntary clean-up program, liability under CERCLA, and compliance with the solid waste disposal act.

  • Securing water rights for new development
  • Negotiating water supply contracts
  • Obtaining Clean Water Act permits, including water quality and wetlands permits
  • Defending environmental enforcement actions
  • Creating water districts and acting as legal counsel on district governance and development matters
  • Spearheading transactions involving regionalization of water systems and service areas, including obtaining PUC approvals of changes to retail utility certificates of convenience and necessity (CCNs)

Career Highlights

Spotlight

Defended a Fortune 500 company with multi-state production facilities in a major Clean Water Act enforcement action brought by the U.S. Department of Justice, the Environmental Protection Agency and a State Attorney General.  Based upon site inspections, EPA alleged various NPDES permit violations and unpermitted discharges of wastewater.  We successfully negotiated a federal Consent Decree to favorably resolve all Clean Water Act allegations.

Energy

  • Represented owner of electric generation plant in compliance audit regarding Clean Water Act water quality compliance issues.
  • Represented owner of steam electric generating plant at TCEQ related to the proposed listing of cooling water body as thermally-impaired under Clean Water Act Section 303(d).
  • Represented owner of 750 MW natural gas fired combined cycle power plant in contested matters involved in obtaining a wastewater discharge permit from the TNRCC.
  • Represented developer of wind-power project to identify and obtain necessary state and federal environmental permits for project development.

Water Quality Permits

  • Represented a large multi-state agricultural operation in a major Clean Water Act enforcement action brought by the U.S. Department of Justice, the Environmental Protection Agency and attorneys general from two states. The matter was resolved by the entry of a federal Consent Decree with innovative terms which allowed sustainable cattle grazing operations to continue on land-management units containing elevated levels of nutrients. The Consent Decree required the payment of a civil penalty, which was only a fraction of the amount the governments calculated as potential penalties and was substantially reduced from the governments’ initial payment demand.
  • Represented a major electric generating facility to amend its TPDES wastewater discharge permit to incorporate modifications regarding its cooling water intake structure, including changing the location of the intake from a river location to an upstream lake. Developed strategy with client for compliance with Clean Water Act §316(b) and TCEQ regulations to successfully obtain permit amendment without the delays associated with a contested case hearing.
  • Represented an industrial operation to successfully obtain a major amendment to a TPDES wastewater discharge permit to authorize the construction and operation of a commercial centralized waste treatment facility on the client’s industrial site near the Houston Ship Channel. Due to neighbor protests to the permit application, we developed a legal strategy which resolved the protests in a timely and efficient manner, and the client was able to successfully obtain the permit amendment without an expensive contested case hearing.
  • Represented a national developer of resort communities in its successful efforts to obtain a TPDES discharge permit for a new domestic wastewater plant to serve a 3000 acre golf course resort community being developed in Central Texas.
  • Represented a major Texas dairy operation in a hotly contested SOAH permit hearing, where environmental activists and neighbors protested the permit application for the expansion of the dairy. Also, successfully obtained a TPDES water quality permit for the operation, which was located in the sensitive North Bosque River watershed.
  • Represented major real estate developer to obtain authorization from the TCEQ to use reclaimed water from wastewater treatment plant for golf course and landscaping irrigation. Negotiated terms of water reuse agreement with owners of water treatment plant.

Districts and Water Supply

  • Represented two large water districts in the acquisition of a Surface Water and Treatment System (SWATS) Plant from the Brazos River Authority. The plant is one of the largest in Texas that desalinates brackish surface water to potable standards, and uses both conventional treatment and reverse osmosis technologies. The transaction included work with the clients and bond counsel to use tax-exempt bonds to support the acquisition and to create a new public utility agency for purposes of financing the acquisition.
  • Represented clients in contractual negotiations for the long term purchase of raw water from various river authorities and districts, including Sabine River Authority, Tarrant Regional Water District, Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority and Brazos River Authority.
  • Represented clients before the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUC) in streamlined expedited release matters related to water and sewer CCNs, including proceedings involving stranded utility assets that were valued pursuant to the Water Code Chapter 13 compensation process.
  • Represented clients before the Texas Legislature, drafted and successfully passed special legislation to create the following special utility districts: Stephens Regional SUD, Parker County SUD, Rose Hill SUD, Gastonia-Scurry SUD, Fort Griffin SUD, San Jacinto SUD and Goforth SUD.
  • Represented holder of significant quantity of water rights in multi-million dollar sale of such rights.
  • Represented an investor-owned utility to obtain required regulatory approvals of the TCEQ and TWDB and successfully close the purchase of a large non-profit water supply corporation.
  • Represented water district in adopting impact fees in compliance with TCEQ rules and Chapter 395, Local Government Code.

Litigation

  • City of College Station v. Wellborn Special Utility District – Successfully defended water district in breach of contract action by neighboring city seeking to acquire portion of district’s CCN.
  • Collins v. Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission – Successfully obtained TPDES water quality permit following hearing at State Office of Administrative Hearings and defended permit on appeal.

Community

  • State Bar
    • Public Utility Law Section, Board Member
    • Environmental and Natural Resources Section, member
  • Austin Bar Association
    • Administrative Law Section
    • Environmental, Natural Resources, and Water Law Section
    • Utility Law Section
  • Headwaters at the Comal, Advisory Committee Member, 2016
  • United Way of Central Texas, 2016 Tocqueville Society, Volunteer
  • Friends of the Libraries and Archives of Texas, Board Member, 2016
  • Texas Bar Foundation, Fellow
  • Volunteer Legal Services of Central Texas, Pro Bono Representation
  • University of Texas School of Law – Environmental Law Clinic, Board of Advisors, 2005-2009
  • Texas Board of Legal Specialization, Exam Committee – Administrative Law, 2006- 2009

News & Events

  • News & Publications
  • Speeches
  • Mentions

    Leonard Dougal discusses water rights and groundwater regulation in Texas with Law360

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  • Mentions

    Leonard Dougal speaks on Comal River Island property rights

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  • Highlights

    The Supreme Court Holds that Army Corps’ Jurisdictional Determinations are Final Actions Subject to Judicial Review

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  • Spotlight

    Jackson Walker Congratulates Its 2016 Chambers-Ranked Partners and Practice Groups

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  • Attorney News

    Team leader in a tough field

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  • Attorney News

    Leonard Dougal Speaks on Water Utility CCN Decertification Issues

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  • Publication

    Current Water Utility CCN Decertification Issues at the Public Utility Commission of Texas

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  • Spotlight

    Jackson Walker Congratulates Its Best Lawyers in America 2016

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  • Attorney News

    Leonard Dougal Speaks on Brackish Groundwater Regulatory and Policy Issues

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  • Spotlight

    Jackson Walker Congratulates Its 2015 Chambers-Ranked Partners and Practice Groups

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  • Attorney News

    Leonard Dougal Quoted in ‘Law360’ on Recent Studies Alleging Link Between Earthquakes, Hydraulic Fracturing and Injection Wells

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  • Highlights

    BLM Announces New Hydraulic Fracturing Rules for Oil and Gas Wells on Federal Lands; Industry Trade Associations and the State of Wyoming Immediately File Challenges

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  • Client Results

    Jackson Walker Represents Exelon in Sale of West Valley Power Plant

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  • Client Results

    Jackson Walker Represents Exelon in Texas Power Generation Projects

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  • Client Results

    Jackson Walker Represents Exelon in the Sale of Quail Run Power Plant

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  • Attorney News

    Leonard Dougal Speaks on Brackish Groundwater Regulatory and Policy Issues

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  • Publication

    Development of Brackish Groundwater for Hydraulic Fracturing Operations: Regulatory and Policy Issues

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  • Publication

    Current Water Utility CCN Decertification Issues at the Public Utility Commission of Texas

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  • Press release

    Leonard Dougal Speaks on Water Supply and Land Development Strategies at TexasBarCLE Real Estate Seminar

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  • Press release

    Jackson Walker Congratulates Its Best Lawyers in America 2015

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  • Press release

    Jackson Walker Congratulates Its 2014 Chambers-Ranked Partners and Practice Groups

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  • Press release

    Jackson Walker Represents Zachry Engineering Corporation in Strategic Acquisition

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  • Press release

    Leonard Dougal Featured in ‘Law360’

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  • Press release

    Jackson Walker attorneys selected for 2014 The Best Lawyers in America

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  • Press release

    Leonard Dougal Speaks on Effects of Drought in Texas

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  • Publication

    Hydraulic Fracturing: New Developments in Water Disposal, Reuse and Recycling

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  • Press release

    Leonard Dougal Speaks on Water Disposal, Reuse and Recycling Trends in Hydraulic Fracturing

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  • Press release

    Coming Up: Technology Entrepreneurship Boot Camp

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  • Press release

    Jackson Walker Represents Google in $200 Million Wind Energy Investment

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  • Press release

    Jackson Walker Represents Select Milk Producers in Joint Venture with The Coca-Cola Company

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  • Press release

    Jackson Walker Nationally Ranked in 23 Areas in 'Best Law Firms' Guide

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  • Press release

    Jackson Walker Represents Zachry Holdings in Acquisition of JV Industrial

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  • Attorney News

    Leonard Dougal Speaks on Hydraulic Fracturing at Texas Water Law Conference

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  • Press release

    Leonard Dougal and Ed Small Speak on Water Law at West Texas Legislative Summit

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  • Client Results

    Jackson Walker Represents Clients in $24 Million Purchase of Water Treatment Plant

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  • Publication

    U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Issues Final Land-Based Wind Energy Guidelines

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  • Publication

    Supreme Court Affirms the Right to Judicial Review of EPA Compliance Orders

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  • Press release

    Leonard Dougal, Cassandra Quinn and Jake Arechiga Published in Essentials of Texas Water Resources

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  • Publication

    Texas Supreme Court Recognizes Vested Property Interest in Groundwater “In Place”

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  • Press release

    Leonard Dougal Speaks at State Bar Water Law Conference

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  • Publication

    SB 573, CCN Decertification, and Water Utility Service Issues

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  • Press release

    Leonard Dougal and Pete Hosey Speak on Hydraulic Fracturing

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“Current Water Utility CCN Decertification Issues at the Public Utility Commission of Texas” UTCLE 2015 Texas Water Law Institute (October 28, 2015)

“Brackish Groundwater Regulatory and Policy Issues in Texas,” American Ground Water Trust Annual Texas Groundwater and Aquifer Conference (June 26, 2015)

“Conflicts, Curtailments and Conversions: Lessons from the Historic Texas Drought,” 25th Annual Texas Environmental Superconference (August 1, 2013)

“Hydraulic Fracturing: Production Boom and Water Resource Challenges,” CLE International Texas Water Law Conference (September 11, 2012) “Water Utility Service: Streamlined CCN Decertification Pursuant to SB 573,” 13th Annual Changing Face of Water Rights Course (February 23, 2012)

“Hydraulic Fracturing: Regulatory Developments, Land Use, and Water Resource Conflicts,” TexasBar CLE webcast (February 15, 2012)

“Upstream Development Water Needs: Supply and Permitting Considerations,” South Texas College of Law’s 24th annual Energy Law Institute for Attorneys and Landmen, Houston, Texas (August 31, 2011)

“Environmental Litigation and Regulation Affecting Poultry Producers,” U.S. Poultry and Egg Association, Environmental Management Seminar, Memphis, Tennessee (2007)

“Emerging Legal Issues in the Regulation and Operation of CAFOs” American Bar Association 34th Annual Conference on Environmental Law, Keystone, Colorado (March 12, 2005)

“Water Availability Models – Recent Developments and Legal Considerations,” State Bar CLE Changing Face of Water Rights in Texas (2004)

“Selected Texas Water Quality and TPDES Permit Issues,” CLE International Texas Water Law Conference