Environment & Natural Resources
The landscape of environmental law is a patchwork of complex and sometimes overlapping laws, regulations, and agency policies that change at a dizzying pace. Companies affected by environmental requirements routinely deal with legal disputes, compliance headaches, public relations challenges, and legislative roadblocks. In short, running a business with an environmental impact can get very complicated, very quickly.
We provide a path through the maze. Our attorneys work on all fronts: planning, permitting, compliance and legislation, to solve problems for our clients. Our unique approach combines a dedicated team of attorneys skilled in specific areas of environmental law with a respected legislative team that watches out for our clients’ interests on the state and national level. Integrating these functions allows us to provide comprehensive solutions that address our clients’ current needs while monitoring changes in regulations and legislation that might affect their future business plans.
When it comes to planning and permitting, we stay ahead of emerging environmental issues so that we can equip our clients to meet the challenges they face in this dynamic regulatory arena. Whether counseling on cutting-edge issues such as climate change regulation, cooling water intake requirements, and shale play development, or offering guidance on long-standing requirements such as remediation or solid and hazardous waste management, we have the technical knowledge and experience to develop innovative strategies to help clients meet their obligations and attain their goals.
To achieve our clients’ objectives, we employ a wide range of techniques. Often, solutions negotiated at the agency level are successful. Sometimes, the only way to achieve the desired result is through administrative hearings, litigation or tenacious involvement in formal rulemaking dockets. We thoroughly understand the ins and outs of these processes and have obtained favorable results for our clients in some of the most significant environmental litigation and contested case hearings in the state.
However, to navigate the complexities of environmental law, our clients need more than knowledge of the laws and regulations. Their success also depends on our ability to maintain strong and trusted relationships with key decision-makers at administrative agencies and the legislature. Current members of our environmental and legislative team have over 100 years of combined experience practicing before regulatory agencies and the Texas Legislature. They include attorneys who formerly worked for the Legislature, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, the Railroad Commission of Texas, and the Texas Attorney General’s Office.
Our clients are building, feeding and powering the country. They operate in a highly regulated space. We clear the obstacles that stand in their way. By putting our knowledge, experience and relationships to work for clients, we enable them to continue their important work of shaping and improving the world we live in.
Air quality permitting in Texas can be tremendously complicated for those unfamiliar with the regulations. Our attorneys work closely with each client to develop a clear understanding of the permitting issues associated with the client’s project. We know that choosing the right type of permit can save our clients significant time, money and regulatory hassles. We develop cost-effective permitting solutions that take into account the individual needs of our clients, and we serve as advocates for clients in the regulatory controversies that surround air quality enforcement.
Carbon Management & Climate Change
We enjoy a national reputation in energy law dating back to the late 1800s when one of our founding partners, A.W. Walker, Jr., first developed many of the fundamental concepts of modern exploration and production law. Our leadership in developing innovative solutions to issues for our energy clients continues, both domestically and internationally, and now encompasses experience in all sectors of the ever-changing energy economy, including emerging carbon capture and storage industry, as well as the gasification of solid fuels such as coal, petroleum coke, and biomass.
Compliance and Enforcement
At Jackson Walker, we take a proactive approach to compliance and enforcement, helping our clients see the big picture and plan for compliance issues that might arise and thereby avoid costly enforcement actions later.
Electric Power Generation
We help our power generation clients stay on top of changes and plan proactively for challenges to come. Our environmental and legislative attorneys are continually tracking regulatory and legislative changes at the federal and state level to gauge their potential impact on clients.
Environmental Due Diligence
We work with clients during real estate and corporate and financing transactions and development of projects to identify potential environmental risks and liabilities. We also develop strategies to address identified issues and have experience in structuring and negotiating transactions to minimize and manage environmental liabilities.
Environmental Litigation and Toxic Tort
Jackson Walker’s environmental and toxic tort litigation team provides clients with predictable, cost-efficient, and practical solutions on environmental and toxic tort litigation matters.
When it comes to environmental regulation, there’s nothing simple about running a farm, ranch, nursery, or dairy. As a firm with deep roots in the Lone Star State, we understand the issues facing Texas agriculture and have the knowledge and experience to develop comprehensive solutions for our agricultural clients that take into account both current and emerging issues.
Mining and Reclamation
We know the importance of mined minerals to our nation’s economic and energy needs. Almost everything – from power generation and transportation to the products that we use every day – requires mined minerals (clay, crushed stone, granite, lignite, coal, limestone, marble, sand and gravel, uranium, etc.). We represent coal, lignite, aggregate, and uranium mining companies in reclamation and compliance activities and in the development of power generation projects.
Project Development & Permitting
Virtually all major industrial facilities and energy projects require environmental approvals or permits to be obtained prior to construction or operation. The permitting process can be complicated and challenging, as neighbors, activists and competitors may seek to use the permit process to delay, scale back, or kill a proposed project. Successful permitting requires careful planning, prudent site selection, and effective use of trained professionals.
Remediation and Property Redevelopment
We help clients, including both current and former landowners, resolve issues related to contaminated property. We work with engineers and other consultants to develop the best approach for attaining cost-effective investigation and remediation. We also have experience in structuring and negotiating transactions to minimize and manage environmental liabilities as part of the redevelopment of property with environmental issues. Working closely with our Real Estate and Corporate & Transactions practices, we provide a full range of services to clients involved in transactions that have an environmental component.
Renewable Energy: Wind and Solar
Jackson Walker attorneys assist clients in connection with the development, financing, construction, and operation of a wide range of energy-related projects, including wind and solar projects. We address the most pressing issues in the development of renewable energy projects, including ensuring the project will limit any potential impact to endangered species, protected water bodies, and cultural resources, and that the project will comply with applicable environmental permits.
We represent a wide variety of potentially responsible parties (PRPs) and PRP groups at Superfund sites across the country, including handling issues related to the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) and analogous state laws, enforcement actions, cost recovery and contribution cases, natural resource damages, property transactions, permitting, and compliance.
Our attorneys provide permitting, enforcement defense, and compliance counseling for clients in the areas of municipal and industrial hazardous and non-hazardous solid waste management, disposal, and remediation. Our clients range from individual landowners to large municipalities and corporations. In addition to providing a full range of services to our clients, we are actively involved in the legislative and rule-making actions that shape environmental law in Texas.
Jackson Walker’s environmental attorneys are skilled in all areas of water quality regulation and have the experience to efficiently and effectively guide clients to their goals. We help clients develop effective reuse, disposal, and pollution prevention strategies to tackle challenges before they become problems.
As in all areas of environmental law, water regulations change frequently. With extensive experience in all aspects of water use, from permitting to litigation, our environmental attorneys bring clarity to this complicated field.
May 26, 2023
US Supreme Court Narrows Wetlands Jurisdiction Under Clean Water Act
On May 25, the U.S. Supreme Court (the Court) issued its decision in Sackett v. EPA which substantially narrows the reach of Section 301(a) of the Clean Water Act (CWA), a provision that prohibits certain discharges of pollutants to navigable waters without a CWA permit. Determining the scope of the CWA’s definition of navigable waters, and in turn the propriety of the regulatory definitions established by EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE) to define waters of the United States, is at the heart of this litigation.
By Jonathan Bull
April 25, 2023
Taylor Holcomb Featured in ‘Energy Intelligence’ Discussing US Ruling That Could Upend Gas Bans Beyond Berkeley
The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals recently tossed Berkeley, California’s 2019 ban on natural gas infrastructure in most new construction. In an interview with Energy Intelligence, Taylor Holcomb stated, “While other cities with similar gas bans will argue that their ordinances are distinguishable from Berkeley’s, the bottom line is that this is a broad ruling that binds federal judges in the 9th Circuit.”
April 11, 2023
Mike Nasi to Speak at Texas Public Power Association Environmental Committee Meeting
At the TPPA Environmental Committee Meeting on April 25, 2023, Mike Nasi will speak about the final Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR) Federal implementation Plan (FIP), the proposed Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS), and Coal Combustion Residuals determinations (CCRs).
March 23, 2023
Jackson Walker Congratulates Its 2023 Texas Rising Stars
Jackson Walker is pleased to announce the selection of 63 attorneys to Thomson Reuters’ 2023 “Super Lawyers – Rising Stars” list, which recognizes only 5% of Texas attorneys who either are 40 years of age or younger or have been in practice for 10 years or less.
February 14, 2023
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.
February 7, 2023
The Dotted Line: What’s up with WOTUS? | Construction Dive
A new EPA rule could result in additional costs of $1 million per acre for projects adjacent to certain waterways. In this Construction Dive article, Taylor Holcomb notes, “The Biden Administration’s version of the rule should be considered a middle ground between the Obama and Trump-era WOTUS rules.”
February 6, 2023
Expect New Standards for Landfills, Industrial Sites as EPA Tackles PFAS Discharge in Water
EPA recently issued the Effluent Guidelines Program Plan 15 to address the widespread “forever chemicals,” known as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), found in water, air, fish, and soil around the world.
By Daniel Vineyard & Tyler Self
November 17, 2022
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.
November 16, 2022
December Weatherization Deadline Looms for Texas Natural Gas | Hart Energy (Subscription Required)
Taylor Holcomb provides advice to natural gas facility operators on what to expect from Texas’ new weatherization rules, which take effect on December 1.