Mining & Reclamation
Our attorneys have the knowledge and experience to assist clients in the mining industry with regulatory compliance, permitting, environmental audits, cleanups, and enforcement concerns. Our attorneys are well versed in all matters pertaining to mining and hard minerals, including:
- air quality
- water quality
- lignite, uranium, aggregate, concrete and cement mining
- industrial and hazardous wastes
- water rights
- groundwater usage
- city and county permits
- permit transfers
- the Texas Clean Air Act (NSR, Title V)
- National Environmental Policy Act
- Texas Clean Water Act
- Texas Commission on Environmental Quality waste regulations (including, Radioactive Substance Rules)
- Railroad Commission of Texas’ Surface Mining and Reclamation Act and regulations
- MSHA and OSHA
- Texas Environmental, Health and Safety Audit Privilege Act.
We have the experience working with regulatory authorities and the relationships to insure desirable solutions are reached in a cost-effective manner. Our attorneys represent clients before state and federal agencies, including:
- Railroad Commission of Texas
- Texas Commission on Environmental Quality
- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
- Texas Department of Transportation
- U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
- U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
- Texas Department of State Health Services
- Texas Water Development Board
- Texas Parks & Wildlife Department
Mining & Reclamation Highlights
- We regularly represent mining companies with obtaining and renewing both federal and state mine permits, ongoing compliance matters, and preparation of financial bond packages, as well as permit transfers before the Railroad Commission of Texas, the TCEQ, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and EPA. We assist clients with preparation of full mine permit applications including complete project management from initial baseline work and submittal packages through final permit approval. We have represented lignite mining operations in obtaining both water quality and water use permits.
- We have assisted clients in obtaining and renewing air permits for new and existing limestone quarries and for other industrial facilities. This has included representation of these clients through the Texas Contested Case Hearing process. In addition, we assisted a limestone quarry in developing and gaining approval for a Water Pollution Abatement Plan Permit from TCEQ that was also consistent with the City of Dripping Springs Development Ordinance.
- We assist our clients (e.g. concrete batch plants) in using the Texas Environmental Health and Safety Audit Privilege to comply with state environmental laws. We also assisted a client in the application process which led to recognition as the “2010 Governor’s Environmental Excellence Award Winner.”
- We have represented several mining companies in NEPA-related matters associated with historic NPDES permit-triggered and ongoing 404 Wetlands-triggered NEPA reviews. We have obtained necessary approvals and assisted clients in successfully expanding operations.
- Our attorneys have been successful in passing targeted legislative initiatives to ease the compliance costs for members of the steel manufacturing and recycling industries, as well as the mining and reclamation industries. We have also been instrumental in drafting and presenting testimony to prevent the passage of measures that would have dramatic, negative impacts on these industries.
- Representation of lignite mine owner in major amendment of TPDES wastewater discharge permit, including negotiations with EPA to overcome objections of EPA concerning the terms of the permit amendment.
- Representation of mine owner and operator in appeal of Railroad Commission of Texas permit issuance and renewal.
- Representation of clients in enforcement matters before various state agencies and in administrative proceedings in the State Office of Administrative Hearings.
- Representation of mining and industrial operations in obtaining both water quality and water use permits.
- Representation of clients in state environmental permitting actions under the Texas Clean Air Act and Texas Clean Water Act.
Hard Minerals Highlights
- Representation of mining companies to obtain and renew both federal and state mine permits, with ongoing compliance matters, preparation of financial bond packages and permit transfers before the Railroad Commission of Texas, the TCEQ, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the EPA.
- Representation of several mining companies in NEPA-related matters associated with historic NPDES permit-triggered and ongoing 404 Wetlands-triggered NEPA reviews.
- Representation of Texas Westmoreland Coal Company and North American Coal Corporation in connection with interplay of NEPA with various prospective projects and in ongoing air, water, and waste permit matters.
- Representation of the Texas Lignite and Electrical Generating Industries before EPA and TCEQ regarding the implementation of the Clean Air Interstate Rule, the Clean Air Mercury Rule, and the Dallas/Fort Worth and Houston/Galveston State Implementation Plans. Representation included the development of emissions specifications for attainment demonstrations and system cap compliance mechanisms.
- Representation of the Gulf Coast Lignite Coalition, the Clean Coal Technology Foundation of Texas, the Coal Combustion Products Coalition, and the Texas Mining and Reclamation Association as industry counsel, compliance counselor and policy advocate for the majority of lignite-fired electric generation and lignite mining in Texas.
- Representation of privately-owned uranium producer in the exchange of uranium mining leases in South Texas for uranium mining properties in western New Mexico.
- Representation of trade associations in rulemaking processes, including TCEQ’s Overburden Removal Policy, Sand and Gravel Permit by Rule, the Anti-Circumvention Rule, and EPA’s CCR and Greenhouse Gas initiatives.
- Representation of a client in the application process which led to recognition as the “2010 Governor’s Environmental Excellence Award Winner.”
Assist clients with the preparation of full mine permit applications including complete project management from initial baseline work and submittal packages through final permit approval.
- Representation of a large chemical company with a variety of highly contested state regulatory matters. In particular, one JW attorney with experience in environmental toxicology helped design a short-term ambient monitoring study that was used to prove that the site in question had little or no impact to the local air quality.
- Representation of a large construction firm at SOAH on an air permit application for a new concrete batch plant.
Representation of client in negotiations regarding leasing and valuation of mineral interests in conjunction with nuclear waste disposal permit process at the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.
- Representation of a limestone quarry to develop and gain approval for a Water Pollution Abatement Plan Permit from TCEQ that was also consistent with the City of Dripping Springs Development Ordinance.
- Representation of lignite mining operators in obtaining both water quality and water use permits.
Assist clients (e.g., concrete batch plants) in using the Texas Environmental Health and Safety Audit Privilege to comply with state environmental laws.
- Representation of clients in contested administrative proceedings, including proceedings with Hearings Examiners of the Railroad Commission of Texas and Administrative Law Judges at SOAH.
Our knowledge and experience cover a wide range of areas.
Legislative & Regulatory Involvement
We can assist both individual clients and coalitions of industrial clients on state (TCEQ, Railroad Commission of Texas) or federal agency (EPA, Office of Surface Mining) policy initiatives and rule makings. The firm’s experience is utilized by the mining industry to guide and shape state and federal legislative and regulatory initiatives, including those related to siting, greenhouse gases, global warming, CO2 capture and sequestration, state and federal incentives and restrictions.
Land Titles and Transactions
We are also able to handle all aspects of any mineral transaction. We have represented clients in the preparation and closing of hard mineral leases, as well as the sale and acquisition of hard minerals (coal, lignite and uranium).
Litigation & Enforcement
We have extensive experience in environmental litigation, enforcement and regulatory permit hearings before the State Office of Administrative Hearings (SOAH) and the Railroad Commission of Texas.
In order to stay connected with developments in the mining and minerals industry, our attorneys participate and are active in a number of groups and associations, such as:
- Environmental and Natural Resources Section of the State Bar of Texas
- Oil, Gas and Energy Resources Section of the State Bar of Texas
- Air and Waste Management Association
- Texas Mining and Reclamation Association (its members comprise all of Texas’ surface coal mining and uranium recovery operations plus several clay, brick and silica mining and processing facilities)
- the Texas Aggregates and Concrete Association (its members represent most of the aggregate, cement and concrete producing companies in Texas)
- the Rocky Mountain Coal Mining Institute
- the Globalaw Mining Initiative
- the Clean Carbon Technology Foundation of Texas
- the National Mining Association
- Gulf Coast Lignite Coalition
- Texas Coal Combustion Products Coalition