Eric Waeckerlin

Eric Waeckerlin


Eric Waeckerlin is a partner in the Natural Resources, Environmental Law, Energy, and Cleantech & Climate Law Groups of Davis Graham & Stubbs LLP. Mr. Waeckerlin counsels clients throughout the country on a number of complex environmental matters under the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, CERCLA, NEPA, RCRA, and the Safe Drinking Water Act, as well as their state equivalents. Mr. Waeckerlin’ s experience includes environmental risk management counselling for numerous industries undergoing internal audits and government investigations and he frequently counsels clients concerning environmental liabilities for a wide range of transactional matters. He has represented clients in major federal and state rulemakings, national litigation before the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, and a variety of regulatory and enforcement matters before the Environmental Protection Agency and state administrative agencies.

His recent experience includes compliance and enforcement matters under both mobile and stationary provisions of the Clean Air Act, audit and enforcement matters under section 404 of the Clean Water Act, the defense of CERCLA cost recovery and contribution actions, and environmental liability counselling on numerous real estate and major stock and asset transactions. In addition, Mr. Waeckerlin frequently represents trade associations in regulatory proceedings and administrative litigation.

Following law school, Mr. Waeckerlin served as a judicial clerk to the Honorable Sam E. Haddon of the U.S. District Court for the District of Montana. In the six years prior to joining DGS in 2012, Mr. Waeckerlin practiced environmental and natural resources law in the Washington, D.C. office of a national law firm.

Mr. Waeckerlin serves as a vice chair on the American Bar Association’s (ABA) Climate Change, Sustainable Development, and Ecosystems Committee, and  as a vice chair on the ABA’s Superfund and Natural Resource Damages Litigation Committee. He also serves as co-chair of the firm’s Cleantech & Climate Law Group.

Mr. Waeckerlin is a recognized expert and frequent author and speaker on various environmental topics.


University of Montana, J.D., 2005
Duke University, M.S., 2001
University of Wyoming, B.S., 1998


Representative Matters

  • Represents trade association in judicial and administrative challenge to recently enacted EPA rules governing air emissions from oil and gas sources.
  • Represents a variety of clients in air-related enforcement matters before the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s Air Pollution Control Division.
  • Counsels oil and gas clients on compliance with state and federal air quality regulations, including implementation of Colorado’s new methane regulations and other greenhouse gas- and climate change-related regulations.
  • Counsels clients related to voluntary multi-media and air-quality audits, including self-disclosure under federal and state audit policy laws.
  • Represents clients in NEPA and ESA matters.
  • Represents ethanol manufacturer with air permitting compliance.
  • Counsel oil and gas clients on regulatory and compliance issues related to enhanced hydrocarbon recovery, including compliance with state water law requirements.
  • Counsels up- and mid-stream oil and gas sector clients on compliance and enforcement issues related to flares and flaring of natural gas.
  • Represented clients in criminal environmental matters.
  • Counsels clients on climate-change related issues for SEC disclosures.
  • Performs environmental due diligence on a range of transactional matters.
  • Represents clients at multiple CERCLA sites defending contribution claims.
  • Represents clients before the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and EPA in connection with compliance and enforcement matters under section 404 of the CWA.
  • Represents clients in enforcement matters under the CAA, including issues related to mobile source CAA provisions affecting the oil and gas industry.
  • Represents oil and gas clients with CAA compliance in multiple Western states as well as Pennsylvania, New York, and Texas.
  • Represents mining industry clients in connection with transactional due diligence.
  • Represented a Fortune 50 corporation at a contaminated sediment waterway Superfund site.
  • Represented a major corporation in a mobile source enforcement action in California.
  • Represented a national coalition before the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals in a challenge to EPA’s Definition of Solid Waste rulemaking under RCRA.
  • Represented several trade associations in Clean Air Act and RCRA rulemakings before EPA.

Related News

Energy & Mining Regulatory Landscape

The energy and mining industries find themselves swimming in new regulations, policies, and departmental guidance released in the waning days of the Obama Administration. These …

See You in Court? – Examining the Unusually High Degree of Uncertainty of Major Clean Air Act Rules Under the Trump Administration

The Congressional Research Service (CRS) issued a report on January 24, 2017 analyzing how the 115th Congress and new administration may impact key Obama-era Clean …

The More Things Change, the More They Stay the Same—What the New Administration Might Mean for the Clean Water Act 404 Program

On January 24, 2017, a federal district court judge in Minnesota enjoined the Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from asserting …

The Clean Air Act From 10,000 Feet

On January 24, DGS hosted the Colorado Oil & Gas Association’s first session of Experts & Eats. Eric Waeckerlin co-presented with Regional Air Quality Council Executive …

The OOOO’s of Air Quality Compliance

The past few years have seen a suite of new federal and state actions focused on the further regulation of air emissions from the oil …

Regulatory Déjà Vu: Environmental Groups Sue to Require Review of E&P Waste Rules Under RCRA

On May 4, 2016, environmental groups (Plaintiffs) sued EPA, alleging that it has failed to review and revise regulations for the disposal, storage, transportation, and handling of oil and gas (O&G) wastes as required by the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA).See Environmental Integrity Project et al. v. EPA, No. 1:16-cv-842 (D.D.C. May 4, 2016).

DGS Earns Certifiably Green Denver Designation

DENVER – April 22, 2016 – Davis Graham & Stubbs LLP received certification from the Denver Department of Environmental Health’s Certifiably Green Denver program, which …

Air Tight: Behind Colorado’s Precedent Setting Air Regulations

The New BLM Proposed Rules for Venting & Flaring

Please join our panel for a discussion of BLM’s proposed rule and what it might mean for your company. Topics will include putting the rule into context, analysis of key provisions of the proposed rule, discussion of how the rule may impact your operations, and initial thoughts about areas to focus on during public comment.

BLM Issues Venting, Flaring, and Leaking Rule – And a Jurisdictional Challenge May Be Brewing

Today, the Department of Interior (DOI)/Bureau of Land Management (BLM) issued its much-anticipated proposed rule on venting, flaring, and leaking from oil and gas operations on onshore federal and Indian leases, along with a four-page fact sheet. DOI’s press release, which discusses the proposal largely in terms of air quality, notes that the rule will “help curb waste of our nation’s natural gas supplies, reduce harmful methane emissions and provide a fair return on public resources for federal taxpayers, Tribes, and States.” DOI is proposing to update NTL-4A by requiring operators to limit venting and flaring through new technologies, processes, and equipment including storage tanks, adopt leak detection and repair programs, and limit gas losses during liquids unloading. The proposed rule would also prohibit venting, except during emergencies and other limited exceptions–effectively implementing a “no venting” standard. Finally, the rule proposes to clarify when operators owe royalties on flared gas and allow BLM to set royalty rates at or above 12.5 percent of the value of production.

EPA Launches New Environmental Audit Policy eDisclosure Portal with Important Implications for Environmental Self Audits

Considerations in Handling Information Requests Under Environmental Statutes & Environmental Audits

Two Part Environmental Enforcement Series

Part Two: Environmental Self-Audits and Self-Disclosure

Environmental self-audits are an effective tool to detect and correct potential non-compliance with environmental laws. In addition, EPA’s Audit Policy and various state environmental audit privilege and immunity laws provide incentives for self-disclosure of non-compliance subject to certain eligibility criteria.

DGS Client Alert Update: New Clean Water Rule Stayed in Colorado and 12 Other States

Rule Now Effective In All Other States, But Legal Challenges Loom Nationwide As discussed in a previous DGS alert, on May 27, 2015, the Environmental Protection …

Controlling Methane from the Upstream Oil and Gas Sector: Lessons from the Colorado Experience

The Legal Controversy Surrounding EPA’s Clean Power Plan

Third Time’s a Charm? EPA’s Proposed Rule for CAA Source Determinations in the Oil Patch

Clean Water Act and Endangered Species Act Compliance: Section 404 Overview

Waters of the U.S.

Please join Davis Graham & Stubbs for a discussion of EPA’s and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineer’s recently finalized jurisdictional Waters of the U.S. …

EPA’s New Clean Water Rule and Unique Concerns for Western Operators

On May 27, 2015, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) issued a pre-publication final rule defining the jurisdictional “Waters of the United States” regulated under the Clean Water Act (CWA). Unless blocked by some federal legislation or court order, the final rule will go into effect 60 days after publication in the Federal Register. That effective date will likely be around mid-August.

Three Revisions to EPA’s CERCLA Model Settlement Documents Every PRP Should Know About

Air Quality Summit

It’s hard to deny that air quality regulations are one of the most important government initiatives impacting business and industry today. To help understand what the latest and likely future air quality requirements will look like, we have assembled three panels consisting of some of the leading federal and state regulators, as well as several industry and air quality planning experts, to provide their perspectives.

Federal & State Greenhouse Gas Regulation – Implications for the Western Oil & Gas Industry

DGS Names Three New Partners

DENVER – DECEMBER 8, 2014 – Davis Graham & Stubbs LLP has elected three new partners. Mark Bussey, Zachary Detra, and Eric Waeckerlin will become …

Let’s Talk Turkey About EPA’s Proposed Lower Ozone Standards

Today, EPA issued its long-awaited new National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS) proposal for ground level ozone, the federal health-based standard that states must decide how to meet. The new primary 8-hour ozone NAAQS, which EPA is proposing to set at between 65 and 70 parts per billion (ppb), represents a significant tightening of the standard from the current level of 75 ppb and would put a significant portion of the country in non-attainment. The agency is also taking comment on setting the primary NAAQS as low as 60 ppb, which could drastically expand non-attainment designations even further. The agency has also proposed tightening the secondary ozone standard, which exists to protect “public welfare” (as opposed to public health) values such as soils, water, crops, wildlife, weather, economic values, visibility and climate, and personal well-being.

Today’s proposal marks yet another substantial federal air quality action by EPA in a year that has seen, perhaps, as many significant air quality rules or court decisions as any on record. These include the U.S. Supreme Court’s validation of EPA’s Cross State Air Pollution Rule (CSPR), the Court’s ruling on the extent of EPA’s authority to regulate CO2 from stationary sources in the Utility Air Regulatory Group case, EPA’s proposed Clean Power Plan focusing on CO2 reductions from coal-fired power plants, the proposed reversal of EPA’s policy on affirmative defenses for startups, shutdowns, and malfunctions; and the Supreme Court’s recent acceptance of certiorari to review the legality of the Mercury Air Toxics Standard (MATS). Of these, it is perhaps the ozone NAAQS that poses the most serious and important consequences for businesses as well as state regulators, and even the EPA itself. A further lowering of the ozone NAAQS (it was last lowered in 2008) will significantly impact nearly every industrial sector, necessitating, in our view, widespread participation in EPA’s notice and comment process. Comments will be due 90 days after publication of the proposal in the Federal Register; although, given the significance and breadth of the rule’s potential impacts, it is possible the comment deadline will be extended. A final rule is expected by October, 2015.

Read more…

Mission Creep: EPA Further Narrows its Start-Up, Shut-Down, and Malfunction Policy

On September 17, 2014, EPA further revised its policy regarding start-up, shut-down, and malfunction (SSM) events, issuing a Supplemental Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (SNPR) that would remove the availability of an affirmative defense for air emission exceedances resulting from malfunction events.

Recent Developments in Federal and State Greenhouse Gas Regulation: Implications for your Industry

EPA Actions on GHG Permitting Following the UARG Decision

As discussed in our client alert of June 24, 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court in Utility Air Regulatory Group v. EPA (UARG) invalidated EPA’s greenhouse-gas (GHG) regulations …

The Supreme Court “Tailors” EPA’s GHG Permitting Program

Yesterday, Justice Scalia, writing for a majority of the United States Supreme Court, invalidated EPA’s greenhouse-gas (GHG) regulations to the extent they require stationary sources to obtain a Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) and/or Title V major source permit based solely on the source’s GHG emissions. The Court, however, also validated EPA’s extension of “best available control technology” (BACT) requirements to GHG emissions at sources already subject to PSD requirements based on criteria pollutant emissions (so-called “PSD-anyway” sources).

Emerging Regulatory Frameworks for Controlling Methane Emissions and Flaring from Oil and Natural Gas Sources

The Devil’s in the Details: EPA’s Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on Hydraulic Fracturing Disclosure

On May 9, 2014, the U.S. EPA issued a pre-publication copy of an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR) requesting public comment on regulatory and voluntary mechanisms for obtaining information on chemical substances and mixtures used in hydraulic fracturing (HF) operations.

Coming to a Shale Basin Near You: Emerging Regulatory Frameworks for Controlling Methane Emissions and Flaring from Oil and Natural Gas Sources

Troubled Waters Ahead: CWA Rule Sure To Rock The Boat

Troubled Waters Ahead! New Proposed Rule Defines Areas Regulated by Clean Water Act

On March 25, 2014, EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers issued a pre-publication release of the much-anticipated proposed rule to define the jurisdictional “Waters of the United States” that are regulated under the Clean Water Act (CWA). The proposed rule is aimed at providing clarity and certainty to “jurisdictional water” determinations in the wake of the uncertainty resulting from the 2006 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Rapanos v. U.S.

Colorado’s Greenhouse Gas Inventory Update: A Work in Progress

On December 11, 2013, the Colorado Department of Public Health (CDPHE) issued its Draft Colorado Greenhouse Gas Inventory – 2013 Update (the GHG Update); a report required every five years. The GHG Update summarizes all of Colorado’s GHG emissions and sinks from 1990 to 2030. To generate the GHG Update, CDPHE used the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) model for assigning emission factors and making emission projections.

Climate Action Plan Seminar

Please join us for a well-informed and balanced roundtable discussion of the challenges and opportunities posed by climate change for the Rocky Mountain West from three different perspectives, including, Shaun McGrath, Regional Administrator of the EPA, Region 8; Kathleen Sgamma, Vice President of Government & Public Affairs, Western Energy Alliance; and Amelia Peterson, Senior Research Associate, Governors’ Climate & Forests Task Force, University of Colorado Law School Research Faculty.

The Winds of Climate Change are Blowing

The winds of legal, regulatory, and policy responses to climate change are blowing perhaps more than ever before. The consequences for all stakeholders, and particularly those companies operating in the energy sector, are significant.

The New ASTM Standard — A Catch-22 for Property Transactions Needing a Phase I Site Assessment

On November 6, 2013, ASTM International (“ASTM”) issued its revised Standard Practice for Phase I Environmental Site Assessments (“Phase I site assessments”) or “audits,” used …

Where There’s Smoke There’s Fire? – How it Just Got Harder for Colorado Oil and Gas Operators to Meet Air Emissions Requirements

The Air Pollution Control Division has again revised its P.S. Memo 10-02: “Oil & Gas Atmospheric Condensate Storage Tank Batteries System Reporting Guidance” to make several significant changes regarding reportable air emissions under Air Quality Control Commission Regulation No. 7, § XII.

Colorado Air Quality Regulatory Update for Oil & Gas

Rebuilding After the Colorado Floods – Complying With Clean Water Act § 404

The recent devastating floods in Colorado have created significant challenges for a wide variety of companies. In the aftermath, affected businesses must quickly make important decisions related to response activities that may be subject to a variety of regulatory programs, including Section 404 of the Clean Water Act. 

Hydraulic Fracturing & Air Emissions Seminar

Please join us for this seminar that will focus on recent air emission studies and issues related to oil and gas operations. As concerns over increased oil and gas activity using hydraulic fracturing continue to mount, significant efforts and focus have turned to air emissions – both from oil and gas operations generally, and hydraulic fracturing specifically. In this session, our speakers, who have been and are involved in the forefront of these issues, will present an overview of completed and ongoing studies regarding the impact of airborne emissions associated with oil and gas operations.

Air Quality Permitting, Compliance, and Enforcement for Stationary Engines

Please join us as we discuss important air-quality permitting, compliance, and enforcement issues related to non-road and stationary engines. Operators in the oil and gas and other industrial sectors rely on these engines to power their operations. Yet, a complex patchwork of state and federal air quality rules and regulations often make compliance difficult, which can significantly impact day-to-day business operations. Attendees will get an in-depth look at a variety of issues that manufacturers, owners, and operators of these engines in Colorado, and elsewhere, need to be aware of to avoid compliance pitfalls and serious business interruptions

Clean Water Act Section 404

DGS Attorneys to Speak at 59th Annual Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation Institute

DGS partners Zach Miller and Larry Nemirow will be speaking at the 59th Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation Annual Institute being held July 18-20 in Spokane, Washington. DGS associate Eric Waeckerlin also co-authored …

Colorado Considering Significant Revisions to Emission Control, Permitting, and Reporting Requirements for the Oil and Gas Industry

At the February 28, 2013 Stakeholder Meeting, the Colorado Air Pollution Control Division (Division) revealed a suite of revisions it is considering to Air Quality Control Commission Regulation No. 7, in the form of significant new and expanded control options for Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), Greenhouse Gases (GHGs), and other hydrocarbon emissions from oil and gas facilities. The Division anticipates a formal rulemaking process to begin in November, 2013. 

EPA Proposes Significant Changes to its Startup, Shutdown, and Malfunction Air Rules

On February 22, 2013, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a sweeping proposal regarding the treatment of excess emissions in state rules from sources during periods of startup, shutdown, and malfunction (SSM). The proposal responds to a petition for rulemaking filed in 2011 by the Sierra Club, and promises to fundamentally alter the way most states, including Colorado and North Dakota, treat SSM events in their State Implementation Plans (SIP). Comments on EPA’s proposal are currently due March 25, 2013. 

Strange Bedfellows – Bicycles and Hydraulic Fracturing

What do bikes and hydraulic fracturing have in common? Prior to this week, the answer was probably very little. On February 4, 2013, however, the Colorado Supreme Court unanimously issued an opinion striking down the City of Black Hawk’s ban prohibiting bicycle traffic on certain local streets. 

COGCC’s “Setback” Rulemaking Means More Regulation for the Oil and Gas Industry

Sixth Circuit Strikes Down EPA’s Clean Air Act Source Aggregation Approach

In a 2-1 opinion issued August 7, 2012, in the case of Summit Petroleum Corp v. EPA, No. 10-4572, slip op. (6th Cir. Aug. 7, …

Federal Clean Water Act Jurisdiction After Sackett

When one door closes, another door opens – or so the saying goes. Earlier this year, the U.S. Supreme Court closed the door on the …

EPA Issues Permitting Guidance on Hydraulic Fracturing Activities Using Diesel

On the same day that the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) issued its proposed rules governing hydraulic fracturing operations on federal and Indian land (read the DGS Alert), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a draft of its long-awaited “Permitting Guidance for Oil and Gas Hydraulic Fracturing Activities Using Diesel Fuels.”  The guidance is intended to aid in the permitting of oil and gas hydraulic fracturing using diesel fuels under the Safe Drinking Water Act’s (SDWA) Underground Injection Control Program (UIC) where EPA is the permitting authority – including, importantly, in Pennsylvania and New York.  The guidance, however, suggests that it also would prove useful to state UIC permit writers.  It also notes that some states may seek to revise their current UIC program to follow the guidance.

Read More…

BLM Issues Proposed Rules Regulating Hydraulic Fracturing

Two New York Municipal Bans Upheld – Why They Might Be Overturned

Hydraulic Fracturing & TSCA: EPA’s Surprising Move and Its Sweeping Implications

Aftershock Of Earth-Shaking Fracking Concerns

Expanding Government Oversight, New Regulations, New Enforcement Powers: What’s Coming Down the Pike?

A Premature TSCA Fracking Petition?

Supreme Court Case to Be Heard Next Term May Have Big Impacts for Fracking

Erin Brockovich Comes to DC – Congress and EPA Focus on Hexavalent Chromium

Telephonic Depositions of Cooperative Witnesses Abroad: Key Considerations

The Saga Continues – Howmet and the Ongoing Uncertainty of Solid Waste Regulation Under RCRA

Hydraulic Fracturing: Short-Term Key Issues for Industry

EPA Studying Air Toxic Emissions Near Schools, While Litigation Commences

Environmental Policy Under Obama: A Changing Climate in Washington – Part 4

Environmental Policy Under Obama: A Changing Climate in Washington – Part 3

Environmental Policy Under Obama: A Changing Climate in Washington – Part 2

Environmental Policy Under Obama: A Changing Climate in Washington – Part 1

D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals Rejects EPA Clean Air Interstate Rule

The Rights of Potentially Responsible Parties Under CERCLA

EPA Proposes Additions To Its Audit Policy For New Corporate Owners

Executive Order 13422