Environmental Law

Davis Graham & Stubbs LLP is widely known for its environmental expertise. We are staffed with some of the best environmental attorneys in the country who works with clients to ensure compliance, minimize potential exposure to environmental liability, and win cases when litigation arises.

We have a wealth of knowledge and experience in handling a broad array of compliance, permitting, transactional, enforcement, and litigation matters. These often include issues pertaining to air and water quality, solid and hazardous wastes, underground storage tanks, spills and releases, remediation, brownfields, corrective action, cost recovery, and other environmental and natural resource issues.

Clean Air Act

DGS environmental lawyers have represented clients in important aspects of air quality regulation and enforcement defense for many years. The firm’s air quality clients include extractive industries, manufacturers, and small businesses. Areas of particular experience include enforcement defense and civil penalty negotiation, Title V operating permit application and compliance, and auditing of stationary source facilities for compliance with state and federal requirements. The firm’s air quality involvements on behalf of multiple clients have included participation in numerous rulemakings concerning new source review reforms, ozone control strategies, leak detection and repair for oil and gas facilities, and malfunction defense reforms. We have also conducted pre- and post-acquisition audits of stationary source facilities, and have advised clients on the disclosure of discovered noncompliance events under federal and state audit policies.

CERCLA and Natural Resource Damages

DGS has experience in all aspects of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), also known as Superfund. We have defended significant governmental cost-recovery actions, and numerous private-party contribution actions. DGS attorneys routinely apply their expertise to evaluate potential exposure to CERCLA and other environmental liabilities for clients in mergers and acquisitions. We frequently work with clients in brownfield redevelopment and similar property transactions to ensure that all requirements are met. We also provide remedial oversight at major CERCLA Superfund sites across the country. Our clients have relied on us to ensure that their environmental response actions are consistent with the requirements of the National Contingency Plan, to challenge the adequacy of other parties’ response actions, and to review and comment on governmental response actions. Our lawyers have been heavily involved in CERCLA natural resource damages actions since the mid-1980s, representing clients such as, General Electric, Union Pacific, and Viacom.

Resource Conservation and Recovery Act

We have considerable experience in the regulation of hazardous wastes generated in the oil and gas, mining, and manufacturing industries that are regulated under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). We are intimately familiar with the scope and limitations of the “E&P” and “Bevill” exemptions under RCRA and the “petroleum exclusion” under CERCLA. All of our lawyers practicing in this area have counseled major oil and gas, mining, and manufacturing clients on the intricacies of compliance with solid and hazardous waste laws and regulations at their facilities across the U.S., and have worked with federal and state regulators, including oil and gas commissions, in negotiating the outcome of sites where these materials have come to be located.

Clean Water Act

DGS represents clients in a wide range of permitting, enforcement and compliance matters under the federal Clean Water Act and comparable state laws throughout the U.S. Our lawyers are experts at dealing with non-point source pollution as well as changes in the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System program. We continue to litigate Clean Water Act jurisdiction issues on behalf of our clients, including the scope of activities regulated under the Act.

Endangered Species Act and Other Fish and Wildlife Statutes

DGS attorneys routinely assist clients in Endangered Species Act and other fish and wildlife matters that arise in conjunction with their oil and gas, mining, recreational, real estate, and water projects. We have worked closely with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Forest Service, and state and tribal fish and wildlife agencies in developing successful solutions to Endangered Species Act and other fish and wildlife issues. We have also successfully represented clients in federal courts throughout the West in defending challenges to decisions approving our clients’ projects on such grounds.

National Environmental Policy Act

DGS assists clients in effectively participating in all phases of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process. Our services range from counseling clients on influencing federal decisions through participation in NEPA’s public comment process, to bringing and defending administrative challenges to agency decisions, to litigating NEPA matters in federal courts throughout the country. DGS regularly represents clients proposing projects that require resort to the NEPA process, including oil and gas, coal, hard rock mining, real estate development, and water supply projects. Our clients on NEPA matters include most of the major oil and gas exploration and production companies operating in the West and in Alaska; coal companies operating in the Powder River Basin, Colorado, Arizona, and New Mexico; hard rock mining companies with operations in Alaska, California, Washington, Oregon, Montana, Nevada, Utah, Wyoming, Colorado, and New Mexico; industry trade associations headquartered in Washington, D.C., and Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, and New Mexico; governmental entities, including the State of Wyoming; and Indian tribes.

Underground Storage Tanks

Attorneys at DGS have represented clients in underground storage tank (UST) matters since the EPA established its regulatory program in 1988 and prior to the inception of Colorado’s UST program in 1989. Since then, Colorado’s tank program has evolved to encompass both underground and aboveground storage tanks (ASTs) and DGS attorneys have been at the forefront of this developing program, learning the nuances of Colorado’s regulations, policies, and practices governing compliance, remediation of petroleum contaminated sites, and the intricacies of obtaining reimbursement from Colorado’s Petroleum Storage Tank Fund. Due to their extensive experience with the federal UST program and various state programs around the country, DGS attorneys have also significant national experience consulting on UST remediation projects, reimbursement applications, and compliance issues. DGS attorneys represent petroleum marketers in cases ranging from methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) contamination to bad faith breach of contract and also represent a wide variety of current and former tank owners and operators, abandoned tank owners, property owners and lenders dealing with UST and AST issues.

Fuels

We have years of experience working with the EPA’s Fuels Program and are well situated to manage, negotiate, and resolve enforcement proceedings and associated business issues related to conventional and reformulated fuels.  We have fostered excellent working relationships with representatives of the EPA and DGS attorneys have unique insight into agency enforcement practices and priorities.  DGS has a wealth of knowledge and experience in handling a broad array of compliance, transactional, and enforcement-related matters pertaining to fuel and fuel additive registration, specifications, production and distribution, and other operational issues. We also represent a number of large and small refineries, product terminals, and fuel retailers who are engaged in fuels production and/or distribution.

Environmental Litigation

Attorneys at DGS have litigated cases arising under each of the environmental statutes and programs identified above as well as other federal and state environmental programs.  We have brought and defended cases in Colorado and many other Western states including Arizona, California, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, and Wyoming.   Environmental cases are often resolved by summary judgment motions or, where favorable to our clients, through settlement.  When our clients’ interests are best served by trial, a DGS team of lawyers and professional staff efficiently prepare and present the case to the trial court or a jury for decision.  Although several members of the DGS environmental practice group have a definite litigation-focus to their practices, DGS and its clients have often found it advantageous to staff these cases with teams consisting of lawyers from both the Environmental Law and Trial Groups.

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