Pipeline Construction and Decommissioning
Our pipeline construction and decommissioning experience includes:
- Representing a Pacific Northwest county in permitting, enforcement, litigation (including a CWA citizen suit), and negotiating Supplemental Environmental Projects arising from the construction of a 60-mile natural gas pipeline with almost 200 jurisdictional water and wetlands crossings, many of which were through habitat for ESA-listed salmonids.
- Assisting Outer Continental Shelf oil and gas operators with issues related to the decommissioning and abandonment of subsea pipelines.
- Representing midstream oil and gas companies on a range of environmental issues related to pipeline siting, including identifying NEPA strategies, coordinating ESA compliance, evaluating CWA jurisdiction and permitting impacts to waters and wetlands, and coordinating with federal and state agencies to obtain all necessary permits and authorizations.
- Counseling midstream oil and gas companies on the development of multi-state habitat conservation plans under the ESA to obtain incidental take permits covering pipeline development, operation, and related activities.
- Drafting comments on proposed BLM rules regulating the acquisition and maintenance of pipeline rights-of-way on behalf of a natural gas pipeline trade association.
PHMSA Pipeline Safety Regulations
Our PHMSA and pipeline safety regulation experience includes:
- Preparing industry comments on PHMSA’s 2016 proposal to overhaul the U.S. gas pipeline safety regulations, including jurisdictional expansion to gathering lines.
- Providing client training on compliance with PHMSA’s newly-revised gas and hazardous liquids pipeline safety regulations, and the impact of the 2016 Protecting our Infrastructure of Pipelines and Enhancing Safety (PIPES) Act on operations and enforcement.
- Providing guidance to national operators on interstate and intrastate pipeline safety jurisdiction and federal/state implementation of PHMSA’s new regulatory program.
- Assessing the applicability of PHMSA pipeline safety regulations and cathodic protection regulations to pipelines owned by a midstream gas pipeline operator.
- Assessing the applicability of PHMSA pipeline requirements to the co-location of gas transmission infrastructure.
- Performing in-depth regulatory analysis on the applicability of safety regulations to pipeline systems, including research on the history of relevant legislative and regulatory provisions as they relate to specific facilities such as gathering lines.
Our pipeline spills experience includes:
- Pursuing claims by the former owner of a pipeline against the current owner for remediation costs associated with pipeline releases believed to be caused by split seam weld corrosion and/or pinholes, which included close collaboration with industry experts to evaluate the current owner’s operational practices and compliance with pipeline safety regulations governing pipeline integrity management, corrosion control, leak detection, pressure testing, and other integrity assessment methods.
- Obtaining over $2 million in attorney fee awards on behalf of a pipeline company in federal court in New Jersey in connection with defeating New Jersey statutory and common law claims alleging that a spill from the company’s pipeline was responsible for benzene contamination at a Superfund site and prevailing on an indemnity claim against a contractor that punctured the pipeline.
- Designing and overseeing a four-month internal investigation in the aftermath of a significant pipeline rupture, which involved managing complex parallel proceedings in both the criminal and civil/regulatory arenas and included a root cause analysis that outlined the corrective steps necessary to prevent recurrence and improve overall compliance, as well as successfully negotiating a settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice.
Air and Water Emissions from Pipelines
Our experience with air and water emissions from pipelines includes:
- Advising and representing pipeline companies on state and federal Clean Air Act permitting issues, including aggregation analyses regarding what constitutes the stationary source for the purpose of determining whether state or federal (PSD or nonattainment) permitting was required.
- Helping pipeline companies respond to wide-ranging EPA information requests and enforcement actions regarding CAA New Source Review permitting and Maximum Available Control Technology compliance.
- Assisting project developers with obtaining CWA Section 408 authorizations for pipelines and other projects crossing federally-regulated levies.
Wastes from Pipelines
Our experience with wastes from pipelines includes:
- Assessing the applicability of federal hazardous waste regulations under RCRA, and corresponding state rules, to the management of condensate removed from pipelines carrying various gases.