We assist the refining and petrochemical industry with the panoply of air, water, waste, safety and risk management issues that impact their operations.

Why B&D?

Refineries and petrochemical facilities not only face arguably the most complex and technical permit regimes, but also the need for ongoing maintenance and expansion.  All of which takes place against the backdrop of near-constant scrutiny by government enforcers and public stakeholders.  

We have decades of experience assisting the refining and petrochemical industry on all aspects of environmental regulation and enforcement, including issues under the Clean Air Act (CAA), the Clean Water Act, the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act, auditing, remediation, environmental impact review, wetlands, among others.  We also represent petrochemical industry trade associations on industry litigation, and commenting on and challenging rules that affect the industry.

Our lawyers have spent significant time onsite at refineries and petrochemical facilities learning how they work and developing a deep understanding of the business aspects of the industry. Many of our lawyers have also worked as in-house counsel for oil refineries, natural gas producers, and pipeline companies in a number of different states, and held senior positions with federal and state government agencies that regulate the industry. We combine this hands-on experience with our expertise in all areas of environmental law to provide a comprehensive suite of legal services to refineries and petrochemical plants.

Representative Matters

  • Challenged regulations adopted by the Bay Area Air Quality Management District on behalf of the Western State Petroleum Association (WSPA) and member companies. We provided comments on the proposed rules and are representing the refineries in the litigation.

  • Successfully negotiated major CAA settlements under the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) refinery enforcement initiative on behalf of two major refiners. We addressed the very disparate needs of numerous refineries, state and local regulatory agencies, EPA Regions, EPA Headquarters, and the Department of Justice. The final settlements not only resolve refiners’ liability for alleged past violations, but also give them the flexibility necessary to undertake the major capital projects necessary to meet the new EPA fuel standards without undergoing complex federal permitting processes.

  • Represented an in-house environmental attorney for a petroleum refinery in a criminal prosecution alleging multiple violations of the benzene waste operations National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollution (NESHAP), conspiracy, and false statements in two grand jury proceedings in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. All charges against our client were dismissed.
  • Represented a petroleum refinery in response to a citizen suit threat regarding flaring of certain waste gases. First, we settled a case with the State of Delaware regarding the same allegations. When the citizens sued, we successfully moved to dismiss their case.
  • Represented in-house counsel for a major petroleum refining company in a criminal investigation and indictment under the Benzene Waste Operations NESHAP. After four years and multiple grand juries, we persuaded the government to dismiss all charges against our client.
  • Successfully negotiated major CAA settlements under EPA’s refinery enforcement initiatives on behalf of two major refiners.
  • Successfully challenged EPA’s attempt to impose unwarranted and illegal requirements through the permitting process for a refinery.