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Environmental & Regulatory

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Babst Calland’s environmental attorneys understand the complex and overlapping federal and state laws and regulations that apply to the natural gas, coal mining and renewable industries. Many of our attorneys have more than two decades of experience in defending energy clients against agency enforcement actions and advising them regarding necessary permits and approvals.

Shale gas development, including the Marcellus and Utica Shale plays, presents unparalleled economic opportunities, but it also presents unique environmental challenges. We have assisted our E&P and midstream clients with new regulatory requirements associated with:

  • Water management plans;
  • Impoundments for fresh water and flowback storage;
  • Single source determinations (aggregation) and air permitting under the Clean Air Act;
  • Water loss claims;
  • Permitting UIC disposal wells;
  • Stream crossings and wetland disturbance permits;
  • Transportation and disposal of produced water; and
  • Pipeline safety.

The Appalachian coal mining industry has been the foundation of industrial development across the region for more than a century. However, federal and state environmental permitting and compliance policies impose significant risks and expenses to mining operations. Operators often seek our assistance to respond to regulatory challenges such as:

  • NPDES water quality based effluent limits
  • AMD treatment trusts
  • Environmental information requests
  • Citizen Suits
  • Greenhouse gas reporting
  • Stream redesignations
  • MSHA citations
  • Beneficial use of coal combustion residuals

The emerging renewable energy industry presents new growth opportunities while requiring environmental expertise common to Babst Calland’s established environmental practice group.  We advise clients on environmental permitting strategies and site development considerations prior to and during construction, as well as counsel clients on maintaining regulatory compliance during operation of facilities.   A representative list of our services applicable to the industry includes:

  • Environmental due diligence on behalf of prospective aggregators, buyers, sellers, trade partners, equity investors and financing sources;
  • Draft and negotiate environmental contractual provisions for financings, acquisitions and divestitures;
  • Pursue local land use and zoning site permits, approvals and provide advice on compliance with local ordinances (primarily through Babst Calland’s Public Sector and Land Use Practice Group);
  • Address National Environmental Policy Act requirements;
  • Guidance on Erosion and Sediment Controls during construction;
  • Apply for and obtain federal, state and local environmental permits and approvals, including those related to protected wildlife, air, cultural resources, streams, wetlands, floodplains, other special resources, waste management and brownfield development;
  • Assist with spill prevention planning and reporting; and
  • Coordinate and analyze transmission infrastructure and similar studies.

Members of our Energy and Natural Resources Group are active in trade associations, including regional groups such as the Pennsylvania Coal Alliance, the Marcellus Shale Coalition, and other oil and gas associations in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio, in addition to national groups such as the Smart Electric Power Alliance and the Energy Bar Association. We frequently speak at industry-related functions, and regularly represent clients in negotiations with federal and state agencies, including the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. We also participate in agency advisory committees to help shape emerging issues likely to affect the energy industry.  We have extensive experience representing clients before hearing boards and trial and appellate courts, allowing us to provide seamless support for regulatory matters that may involve litigation.

“Our clients rely on our experience and trusted counsel in understanding the legal, regulatory and operational challenges facing the industry. We help clients maintain regulatory compliance, and when necessary, resolve issues through effective negotiation and advocacy in administrative tribunals and the courts.”

– Kevin J. Garber

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