Representative Matters

Enforcement Defense

Our enforcement defense experience includes:

  • Negotiating 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 that focused on four major federal Clean Air Act (CAA) issues- New Source Review, New Source Performance Standards, the Benzene Waste National Emissions Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants, and Leak Detection and Repair standards- as well as a number of state laws.
  • Reducing a penalty imposed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Justice, from nearly $2 million to $320,000, with negotiations involving innovative supplemental environmental projects (SEPs) and convincing EPA to drop its demand for several millions of dollars in further pollution controls.
  • Defeating the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection’s request for preliminary injunction against operations at quarry facilities based on an alleged PM-10 National Ambient Air Quality Standards violation, total suspended particulate permit emission limit violation, and egregious pattern of unpermitted fugitive emissions.
  • Defending 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 securing needed permit modifications to enable the facility to continue to operate.
  • Defending 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, including 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.
  • Convincing 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.
  • Avoiding the highest penalty EPA sought at the time for National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit violations.
  • Negotiating one of the first SEPs in a settlement that allowed our client to conduct environmental awareness seminars in its industry.
  • Helping 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.
  • Convincing EPA to withdraw its complaint and demand for over $14 million in penalties.

Citizen Suits

Our citizen suits experience includes:

  • Defending a major railway in the largest environmental citizen suit, by dollars of relief sought, in US history that was sued by Sierra Club, Natural Resources Defense Council, and a host of local environmental groups in federal district court in Seattle where we reached a settlement roughly a week into trial for $1 million, a non-binding coal car study, and no admission of liability.
  • Securing dismissal of a path-breaking citizen suit filed against a major oil and gas company in federal district court in Oklahoma in which 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 and sought major reductions in underground injection of oil and gas wastewater, earthquake monitoring, and reinforcement of structures, the first case 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;.
  • Representing the City of Rye in a citizen-suit litigation concerning alleged sewer overflows from systems owned by Rye, 10 other municipalities, and Westchester County, assisting the parties with organizing themselves and preparing the framework of specific court-ordered stipulations that govern the parties’ studies and planning to improve their systems and allowing them to avoid the costs and distractions of active litigation.
  • Defending citizen suit actions under the Clean Water Act (CWA) brought against a Washington municipal sewer district, an international agricultural processor, and a plastic film manufacturer.
  • Successfully challenging a comprehensive municipal NPDES stormwater permit over conditions that insufficiently protected receiving water bodies.
  • Serving 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.
  • Defending one of the Northwest’s largest marine terminals in an ongoing 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.