Representative Matters

Enforcement Defense

  • Negotiated a settlement for one of the largest U.S. petroleum refiners threatened with a company-wide enforcement action under a nationwide enforcement initiative that targeted the petroleum refining industry. The initiative focused on four major federal Clean Air Act issues: New Source Review, New Source Performance Standards, the Benzene Waste NESHAP, and Leak Detection and Repair standards, as well as a number of state laws.
  • Reduced a penalty imposed by EPA and the Department of Justice, from nearly $2 million to $320,000. The negotiations involved innovative supplemental environmental projects (SEPs) and convinced EPA to drop its demand for several millions of dollars in further pollution controls.
  • Defeated the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection’s request for preliminary injunction against operations at quarry facilities based on an alleged PM-10 NAAQS violation, TSP permit emission limit violation, and egregious pattern of unpermitted fugitive emissions.
  • Defended one of the Northwest’s largest building materials manufacturers against air quality enforcement, permitting, and compliance actions brought by the Puget Sound Clean Air Authority, and secured needed permit modifications to enable the facility to continue to operate.
  • Defended a major international transportation company on federal and state air quality compliance and climate change matters in administrative enforcement proceedings brought under regional air quality regulations. Work included negotiating settlements involving notices of violations; defending a citizen suit brought under the CAA; providing advice regarding Title V permitting obligations; compliance with an emissions credits trading program; implementing facility environmental compliance management systems; and submitting comments on proposed air quality regulations.
  • Convinced EPA to drop 13 counts in a 14-count complaint and to settle for a $25,000 penalty and a SEP that would help hospitals reduce the use of medical devices containing mercury. 
  • Avoided the highest penalty EPA sought at the time for NPDES permit violations. 
  • Negotiated one of the first SEPs in a settlement that allowed our client to conduct environmental awareness seminars in its industry. 
  • Helped secure a statute of limitations shorter than that sought by EPA for enforcement of civil fines, penalties, or forfeitures in administrative proceedings under the Toxic Substances Control Act. 
  • Convinced EPA to withdraw its complaint and demand for over $14 million in penalties.

Citizen Suits

  • B&D defended a major railway in the largest environmental citizen suit, by dollars of relief sought, in US history.  The railway was sued by Sierra Club, Natural Resources Defense Council, and a host of local environmental groups in federal district court in Seattle.  In a case of first impression, Plaintiffs sought to limit the rail transportation of coal by seeking Clean Water Act (CWA) penalties for alleged fugitive coal dust from all rail cars and trains. The statutory maximum penalty under the Clean Water Act for the allegations in the complaints would have been in excess of $4 trillion. We reached a settlement roughly a week into trial for $1 million, a non-binding coal car study, and no admission of liability.  
  • B&D secured dismissal of a path-breaking citizen suit filed against a major oil and gas company in federal district court in Oklahoma. The Sierra Club’s lawsuit suit under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) alleged that injection of oil and gas production wastewater in underground wells by oil and gas companies is causing earthquakes that endanger the public. Plaintiff sought major reductions in underground injection of oil and gas wastewater, earthquake monitoring, and reinforcement of structures.  This case was the first to allege that earthquakes are a cognizable harm under the RCRA citizen suit provisions and relief sought would have significantly impacted the operations of Oklahoma’s large oil and gas industry.  
  • Represented the City of Rye in a citizen-suit litigation concerning alleged sewer overflows from systems owned by Rye, 10 other municipalities, and Westchester County. The firm took a lead role in assisting the parties to organize themselves and to prepare the framework of specific court-ordered stipulations that govern the parties’ studies and planning to improve their systems. Based on the successful adoption of the stipulations, the parties are performing system-wide studies to target cost-effective improvements, while avoiding the costs and distractions of active litigation.
  • Defended citizen suit actions under the CWA brought against a Washington municipal sewer district, an international agricultural processor, and a plastic film manufacturer.
  • Successfully challenged a comprehensive municipal NPDES storm water permit over conditions that insufficiently protected receiving water bodies.
  • Served as counsel to a Fortune 500 metals manufacturing company on hazardous waste compliance issues, including a citizen suit regarding waste disposal practices and federal litigation challenging hazardous waste disposal and recycling regulations.
  • Defended one of the Northwest’s largest marine terminals in an ongoing Clean Water Act (CWA) enforcement proceeding, while simultaneously defending a citizen suit for claimed NPDES permit discharge violations and supporting the client’s lease negotiations with the regional port authority.