Benjamin R. Rhem
Benjamin Rhem is a partner in the environmental and legislative practice group where he advises clients in the power generation, oil and gas, and mining industries regarding compliance with federal and state environmental laws. Ben works regularly before the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and the U.S. EPA. Ben’s practice also extends beyond environmental law, as he assists clients deal with regulatory issues before FERC, PHMSA, the Railroad Commission of Texas, and MSHA.
Ben was formerly an attorney in the Environmental Law Division of the TCEQ where he represented the Executive Director in permitting matters and provided guidance to various TCEQ air programs. Ben also clerked for the Office of General Counsel and in the Litigation Division as a law student.
B.A., University of Richmond
J.D., University of Houston Law Center
Ben has given numerous presentations regarding environmental and pipeline regulations, and in July of 2015, he gave a presentation titled, “GHG Regulation and the Politics of Climate Change for the Oil and Gas Industry,” which was published in the 61st Annual Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Institute.
Environmental Permitting and Regulatory Compliance
- Advised a major oil and gas production company regarding multiple environmental audits under the Texas Environmental, Health, and Safety Audit Privilege Act covering upstream and midstream oil and gas facilities located in the Permian Basin and Eagle Ford Shale.
- Assisted client in removing unwarranted violations and significantly reduce penalties assessed by MSHA.
Environmental Due Diligence
- Conducted environmental due diligence for over 3,000 MW of wind energy electric generation.
- Assisted with environmental due diligence and permitting relating to a major corporate reorganization of one of largest electric energy providers in the U.S.
FERC Compliance – Open Seasons, Tariffs, Petitions for Declaratory Orders
- Assisted multiple clients to prepare and conduct successful open seasons and petitions for declaratory orders.
- Assisted client in conducting environmental, pipeline safety, FERC compliance audit of major interstate liquids pipeline.
- Successfully assists clients in obtaining air, water, and waste permits from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, provides advice on complex environmental audits, and conducts environmental reviews for energy and real estate transactions. Assisted in the development and financing of over two dozen wind and solar energy projects, as well as numerous natural gas-fired power plants.
- Advises pipeline clients on compliance with FERC regulations and the Interstate Commerce Act. Recently assisted several clients conduct open seasons, draft petitions for declaratory orders, and file tariffs with FERC.
- The Best Lawyers in America (Woodward/White Inc.), Environmental Law, 2023
- “Texas Rising Star,” Super Lawyers – Rising Stars by Thomson Reuters, 2016-2019
- “Proposed Listing of Lesser Prairie-Chicken Under Endangered Species Act and Potential Impact on Energy Projects,” Jackson Walker Insights (2021)
- “EPA Rolls Back Portions of Methane Rule,” Jackson Walker Insights (2020)
- “Court Orders Dakota Access Pipeline Shut Down,” Jackson Walker Insights (2020)
- “Key Permit Used in Keystone XL Pipeline Put On Hold – Potential Far-Reaching Impacts on Other Projects,” Jackson Walker Insights (2020)
- “EPA Proposes to Revise Significant Aspects of Methane Rule,” Jackson Walker Insights (2018)
- “Petition for Rulemaking Requests Standards of Conduct for Oil Pipelines,” Jackson Walker Insights (2018)
- “DOI Reverses Course and Declares Migratory Bird Treaty Act Does Not Prohibit Incidental Take,” Jackson Walker Insights (2018)
- “Appeals Court Decision Requires Air Emissions Reporting for Animal Waste,” Jackson Walker Insights (2017)
- “Denbury v. Texas Rice “Texas Rice II”: The Texas Supreme Court Affirms Common Carrier Status,” Jackson Walker Insights (2017)
- O’Connor’s Texas Oil & Gas Statutes & Regulations, Editor, 2014-2018
- “SRAs: Texas’ Response to Seismic Activity (and Other Regulations),” Jackson Walker’s Hot Topics in Oilfield Produced Water Webinar (2022)
- “Legal Roundtable: Is Texas Still Energy Friendly?”, MIDSTREAM Texas Conference, Midland, Texas (2018)
- “Interstate Determinations under the Natural Gas Act and Interstate Commerce Act,” Pipeline Safety Conference, New Orleans, Louisiana (2016)
- “Emergency Demand Response Under EPA’s RICE MACT Rules,” San Antonio, Texas (2016)
- “GHG Regulation and the Politics of Climate Change for the Oil and Gas Industry,” 61st Annual Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Institute, Anchorage, Alaska (2015)
- “Regulatory Compliance After the West Fertilizer Explosion,” Texas Ag Industries Association Regional Meeting, Belton, Texas (2013)
- “Compliance with EPA and TCEQ Air Quality Regulations Affecting Oil and Gas Operations,” San Antonio Association of Professional Landmen Mid-Winter Seminar, San Antonio, Texas (2013)
- “The Denbury Decision – Its Impact on Pipeline Construction and How the Legislature and Railroad Commission Will Respond,” Obtaining and Expanding Pipeline Capacity in the Shale Oil and Gas Revolution, Houston, Texas (2013)
- “Environmental and Clean Air Regulations Affecting the Midstream,” Midstream Oil and Gas Law Conference, Houston, Texas (2012)
In the News
- “Lesser Prairie-Chicken Listed as Endangered in Permian Basin,” Bloomberg Law (November 17, 2022)
- “Prairie-Chicken Listing Expected to Put Wind Farms in Crosshairs,” Bloomberg Law (June 7, 2021)
- “EPA’s Methane Emission Proposal Fuels Oil And Gas Uncertainty,” Hart Energy (September 10, 2019)
- “Don’t Worry, Texas Will Still Be Energy Friendly,” MIDSTREAM Business (June 27, 2018)
- “Texas Supreme Court Establishes a Pipeline-Friendly Threshold,” Texas Lawyer (March 1, 2017)
- Mickey Leland Environmental Internship Program, Advisory Board, 2017-Present
- Generation Waller
- Vice President, 2015-2017
- Volunteer Committee Chair, 2014
February 14, 2023Attorney News
Lawdragon Lists Five Jackson Walker Attorneys Among Leading Environmental Lawyers
Jackson Walker announces the selection of Ali Abazari, Leonard Dougal, Michael Nasi, Benjamin Rhem, and Daniel Vineyard to “The Lawdragon Green 500: Leaders in Environmental Law” list for 2023.
November 17, 2022Mentions
Lesser Prairie-Chicken Listed as Endangered in Permian Basin | Bloomberg Law (Subscription Required)
The Biden administration plans to list the lesser prairie-chicken as endangered in the Permian Basin in Texas and New Mexico, and threatened in Oklahoma, the US Fish and Wildlife Service announced Thursday.
August 18, 2022Attorney News
‘The Best Lawyers in America’ Honors 214 Jackson Walker Attorneys in 2023 Edition, Including 11 “Lawyers of the Year” and 41 “Ones to Watch”
The Best Lawyers in America has recognized 214 Jackson Walker attorneys across 6 offices and 79 specialty practice areas in its 2023 edition, including 11 Lawyers of the Year and 41 Ones to Watch. Best Lawyers listings are based on an exhaustive peer review survey of thousands of attorneys who vote on the legal abilities of others in their practice areas.
July 27, 2022Webinars
Join Jackson Walker for “Hot Topics in Oilfield Produced Water” Webinar
Wednesday, July 27, 2022 | 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. CT
Join Patrick Knapp, Reagan Marble, Ben Rhem, and Taylor Holcomb for this upcoming webinar as they provide an overview of how the midstream water business is among the fastest-growing segments of the oil and gas industry.
June 8, 2021Insights
Proposed Listing of Lesser Prairie-Chicken Under Endangered Species Act and Potential Impact on Energy Projects
By Jerry Webberman, Alicia French, Jesse Lotay, & Ben Rhem
On June 1, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service published a proposed rule in the Federal Register to list the lesser prairie-chicken under the Endangered Species Act. If finalized, the species would be listed as endangered in the Southern DPS, which is located in West Texas and New Mexico and overlaps with the oil- and gas-rich Permian Basin, and threatened in the Northern DPS, located in the Texas Panhandle, Oklahoma, Kansas, and Colorado. Public hearings to gather comments on the proposal will be held on July 8 and July 14, and all public comments must be submitted by August 2, 2021.
June 7, 2021Mentions
Prairie-Chicken Listing Expected to Put Wind Farms in Crosshairs | Bloomberg Law
An endangered listing wouldn’t be a “death knell for industry,” but it would be a new regulatory burden for developers, making wind farm construction more difficult, said Jackson Walker partner Ben Rhem, who represents wind farm lenders and developers.
“Developers are going to have to be more careful, more thoughtful about where they’re siting their project,” Rhem said. “There may be certain areas where it becomes such a regulatory burden that it just makes sense to look elsewhere.”
August 17, 2020Insights
EPA Rolls Back Portions of Methane Rule
On August 13, 2020, the Environmental Protection Agency issued two rules rolling back portions of its 2012 and 2016 New Source Performance Standards for the Oil and Natural Gas Industry to simplify compliance and reduce regulatory costs.
July 7, 2020Insights
Court Orders Dakota Access Pipeline Shut Down
On July 6, 2020, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia issued a ruling ordering that the Dakota Access Pipeline be shut down and emptied by August 5, 2020.
May 1, 2020Insights
Key Permit Used in Keystone XL Pipeline Put On Hold – Potential Far-Reaching Impacts on Other Projects
On April 15, 2020, the U.S. District Court for the District of Montana vacated a key general permit pipeline and utility project that owners have used for decades to address Clean Water Act requirements, including the Keystone XL oil pipeline.
October 1, 2019Mentions
Ben Rhem Weighs in on EPA’s Proposed Updates to New Source Performance Standards for the Oil and Natural Gas Industry
As the period for public comment on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed policy amendments to the 2012 and 2016 New Source Performance Standards for the Oil and Natural Gas Industry, Hart Energy featured insights from Ben Rhem on the latest action, the oil and gas industry’s response, and what to expect.