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Environmental

Davis Graham & Stubbs LLP is widely known for its environmental expertise. Our environmental attorneys work with clients across the country 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 extensive experience in all matters that arise from of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), also known as Superfund. We have defended significant governmental cost-recovery actions, and successfully initiated 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 CERCLA Superfund and state-led 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 brought and defended 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 many natural resource companies operating throughout the country including major oil and gas exploration and production, coal, and hard rock mining companies as well as industry trade associations, government entities, and 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 motion 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.

Related Attorneys

John R. Jacus

Partner, Air Quality & Regulatory Compliance, Clean Energy & Sustainability, Environmental Law & Litigation, Natural Resources, Federal Oil & Gas Leasing, Safety & Health, Brownfields Redevelopment, Tribal Lands & Resources, Midstream Services, Endangered Species, NEPA, CERCLA & State Equivalent Programs, Environmental

Brandee Caswell

Partner, Property Rights, Construction & Real Estate Litigation, Natural Resources

Tariq Adawi

Senior Associate, Corporate & Business, Mergers & Acquisitions, Emerging Companies & Venture Capital, Private Equity, Intellectual Property & Technology Transactions, Corporate Governance, Cross-Border Transactions, Corporate Finance

Lindsey P. Folcik

Associate, Property Rights, Real Estate, Real Estate Development, Environmental

News & Events

DGS Legal Alert | UPDATE: New Construction Stormwater Discharge Applications Will Now Be Accepted In March 2024

The Colorado Water Quality Control Division (the “Division”) has announced it will now accept new permit applications under the Stormwater...

Permian Basin Lizard Proposed to be Listed as an Endangered Species

On July 3, 2023, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) proposed to list the dunes sagebrush lizard as endangered...

DGS Ranks Among 2023 Best Law Firms

Davis Graham & Stubbs LLP was named among the 2023 U.S. News – Best Lawyers® “Best Law Firms” by publisher...

Governor Polis Signs Bills to Require Disclosure of Chemical Additives in Oil & Gas Operations & Reduce the Use of PFAS Chemicals

Last month, Governor Jared Polis signed two bills into law in response to growing public concern in Colorado and elsewhere...

Energy & Environment: What's Changed & What's Coming Under the Biden Administration Seminar

Amidst its many challenges and priorities, the new Administration has already initiated major changes to public lands and environmental policies...

A Crackdown on Methane: At Both New and Existing Oil and Gas Facilities

On November 2, 2021, the Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) proposed a suite of New Source Performance Standard (“NSPS”) program rules...

DGS Ranks Among 2022 Best Law Firms

Davis Graham & Stubbs LLP was named among the 2022 “Best Law Firms” by publisher Woodward/White, Inc. in the latest...

The Superfund Program Goes Green – Part I

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is addressing the impact of climate change at Superfund sites through three main initiatives: (1)...

Recent Wildlife Developments Affecting Clean Energy

In the last few months, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) initiated a variety of regulatory efforts that may...

CEQ Proposes First Phase of Revisions to NEPA Regulations

On October 7, 2021, the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) published proposed revisions to the regulations implementing the National Environmental...

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Publishes Draft Environmental Impact Statement on Regulations Defining Scope of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act

Last week, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) took another step toward finalizing regulations that would define the scope...

“Pulling Back the Curtain” – EPA Proposing to Increase Transparency for Guidance Documents

The Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) is proposing to give the regulated community a more active role and voice in developing...

Serious Ozone Update: Live Video Webinar

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently bumped up the Denver Metro and North Front Range Area's nonattainment status for ozone...

A Trio of Air Quality Developments Affecting Oil & Gas Facilities

Three recent air quality developments will have a significant impact on regional oil and gas facilities: (1) the Colorado Air...

Colorado Supreme Court Issues Decision in Martinez v. COGCC

On January 14, 2019, the Colorado Supreme Court issued its decision in Martinez v. Colo. Oil & Gas Conservation Comm’n...

A Trio of Air Quality Developments Affecting Oil & Gas Facilities

Three recent air quality developments of particular note involve (1) important new guidance in Colorado for oil and gas operators...

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