Environmental Law

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) is charged with protecting the environment, public health and the natural resources of Texas. The Railroad Commission (RRC) is charged with regulating the oil, gas and mining industry in Texas, which often encompasses public health matters. Sometimes there is overlapping jurisdiction, especially with regards to the oil and gas industry. Decisions by the TCEQ and RRC impact Texans in many ways, although the path to obtaining those decisions is different. MSMWO represents operators, landowners, residents, environmental groups, and commercial and governmental entities in a broad spectrum of environmental issues. The firm draws heavily from the experience of its numerous attorneys that spent years working at the TCEQ and RRC. Familiarity with the regulations, procedures and agency staff is critical to our approach and our successes.

 

PERMITTING

MSMWO represents clients in all stages of permitting before the TCEQ and RRC. The firm has obtained permits for numerous operators and commercial entities from both the TCEQ and RRC. The firm has extensive experience in contested hearings both before the State Office of Administrative Hearings and before agency examiners and administrative law judges.  MSMWO has represented clients in contested hearings regarding disposal wells, hazardous waste storage, coal power plants, landfills, industrial wastewater discharges, groundwater and surface water rights, oil and gas waste disposal facilities, rock crushers, and uranium mining. MSMWO has also assisted clients with permitting such facilities in uncontested matters such as permits by rules and registrations. We have sat at all sides of the table – examiner, applicant, and protestant.

 

LITIGATION

Environmental matters impact health and private property rights. Consequently, they can result in lawsuits and administrative appeals. Our firm represents clients in state and federal court on nuisance, negligence, trespass, indemnity, products liability claims, and appeals of administrative agency decisions.

 

REGULATORY COMPLIANCE

Our firm helps clients interpret regulations and operating obligations. We serve as liaisons with the TCEQ and RRC to determine the safest and most economical path for compliance while preventing exposure to enforcement actions. We also assist with environmental audits under the Texas Environmental, Health, and Safety Audit Privilege Act.

 

SITE REMEDIATION

Our firm has represented multiple entities in cleanup actions initiated by TCEQ, RRC and the Environmental Protection Agency under state and federal environmental statutes including CERCLA, RCRA, and SWDA. We have been successful in minimizing financial responsibility of our clients by demonstrating liability of the appropriate third parties or identifying other potentially responsible parties.

 

ENFORCEMENT

In the event the TCEQ or RRC seeks enforcement of regulatory violation, our firm counsels clients and negotiates towards efficient and cost-effective resolutions.