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Environment, Lands and Resources

Go-To Firm for Environmental Matters

Bracewell has one of the largest and most highly respected environmental practices in the United States. We were named a Law360 Environmental Group of the Year in 2020, and our practice and its lawyers are consistently ranked in the top bands in Chambers USA, Legal 500 US and other leading legal publications.

Our team combines legal and policy depth with knowledge in media relations and lobbying, all focused on energy, environmental and natural resources issues faced by companies across the United States. This comprehensive and holistic approach enables us to advise clients facing severe challenges that arise simultaneously in litigation, legislative debates, agency actions and public discourse. Air Liquide, Baker Hughes, Cheniere Energy, The Dow Company, Equinor and Kinder Morgan are some of the companies that regularly engage our team on environmental matters.  

We provide a uniquely informed perspective based on decades of experience working at the forefront of issues facing companies in the oil and gas, refining, power generation and transmission, chemical, manufacturing, technology, mining and construction sectors. Team members include lawyers with extensive experience working in house at Fortune 100 companies, as well as lawyers who have served in the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the US Department of the Interior, the US Department of Justice (DOJ), the Army Corps of Engineers, the White House, the US Congress, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) and the US Attorney’s Office.

Clients turn to us for advice and guidance on policy matters at the top of the national agenda, including:

  • offshore wind development
  • renewable fuels standards
  • regulation of greenhouse gases
  • carbon capture utilization and sequestration (CCUS)
  • Clean Water Act, Section 401 reform
  • Infrastructure development
  • NSR reform
  • renewable energy policies
  • hydrogen development
  • onshore and offshore royalty disputes
  • oil and gas leasing and decommissioning
  • Chemical Safety Board reform
  • NEPA reform

We handle regulatory matters for energy and energy-related companies before a myriad of federal agencies, including the Bureau of Land Management, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, the Army Corps of Engineers, the Department of Energy (DOE), the Department of Transportation (DOT), Customs and Border Protection, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), the EPA, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), the Fish and Wildlife Service, the US National Park Service and the Surface Transportation Board.

In addition, our environmental litigation group — in collaboration with our market-leading white-collar defense, appellate and energy regulatory practices — handles some of the largest and most complicated environmental litigation matters in the nation. For example, we represented Halliburton in the federal criminal investigation that arose from the Deepwater Horizon explosion — perhaps the most significant criminal environmental investigation in a generation. More recently, we represented Kinder Morgan in connection with regulatory and litigation issues surrounding the development of the Permian Highway Pipeline, as well as RES in the negotiation and execution of an innovative fixed-price restoration agreement with Klamath River Renewal Corporation in connection with the largest dam removal in the United States.

Global Recognition for Excellence

The strength and experience of our environmental strategies practice is nationally recognized by Chambers USA, Legal 500 and other legal publications. In 2020, Law360 honored us as an Environmental Group of the Year.

  • Chambers USA – Nationwide Climate Change; Nationwide Energy Transition; Nationwide Environment; Nationwide Offshore Energy (Band 1); Texas Environment (Band 1); Washington, DC Environment
  • Legal 500 US –Environment Litigation; Environment Regulatory; Environment Transactional; Government Relations
  • U.S. News – Best Lawyers – National Environmental Law (Tier 1); National Environmental Litigation (Tier 1); Austin Environmental Litigation (Tier 1); Austin Water Law (Tier 1); Houston Natural Resources Law (Tier 1); Washington, DC Environmental Law (Tier 1); Washington, DC Environmental Litigation (Tier 1)

Bracewell’s team has expertise across the spectrum of environmental matters, including air, water and waste.

Chambers USA, 2023

IMAGE: Pipeline over water

Market-Leading Engagements

Our team represents leading energy and energy-related companies on some of the most critical issues that they face in the marketplace.

  • Air Liquide Large Industries LP and Airgas USA in negotiating a settlement agreement with the US Department of Justice and US EPA regarding alleged violations of the Clean Air Act risk management program
  • The American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity on a challenge to the Clean Power Plan, acting as one of the leading firms in the litigation in both the DC Circuit and the Supreme Court
  • Ascend Performance Materials with a significant risk management plan, water and hazardous waste enforcement actions brought by the US EPA
  • Cheniere Energy on all environmental and safety regulatory, permitting and compliance matters in connection with the construction and operating of its LNG export facilities in Sabine Pass, Louisiana, and Corpus Christi, Texas, as well as the development of related pipelines
  • The Electric Reliability Coordinating Council on a wide range of regulatory and legislative matters that arise under various environmental statutes
  • Equinor Wind on environmental and leasing issues related to its flagship offshore wind projects in the United States
  • Halliburton Energy Services, Inc. on various investigations that arose from the Deepwater Horizon incident, including President Obama’s Special Task Force, the US Congress and the CSB. Bracewell’s team brought the matter to a very successful resolution for Halliburton — one that included no criminal charges related to the explosion, the oil spill or the environmental impacts
  • Kinder Morgan, Inc., Kinder Morgan Texas Pipeline LLC and Permian Highway Pipeline LLC on permitting and litigation surrounding the construction of the Permian Highway Pipeline