Paul Tough

Paul practices energy and environmental law.  He regularly appears before the Railroad Commission of Texas and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to assist clients with a wide variety of oil and gas regulatory issues and environmental matters. He also assists clients with pooling and commingling applications before the General Land Office.  He has experience with rate proceedings before the Public Utility Commission and contested cases before the State Office of Administrative Hearings. His clients include oil and gas operators, landowners, municipalities, and nonprofit groups.

Paul graduated with a degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin and then from the University of Miami School of Law.  His background in engineering and law makes him well suited to handling more complex and technical cases.  Prior to joining McElroy, Sullivan, Miller & Weber, LLP, Paul was a staff attorney at the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality with an emphasis on permitting and water law.

Paul comes from a family of engineers and health professionals.  He is married to a nurse practitioner and they have three rowdy boys.  Paul enjoys hiking, camping, fishing, and coaching his kids in sports.


notable representations

Oil and Gas Experience

  • Injection and Disposal Wells
  • Carbon Sequestration and Acid Gas Injection Wells
  • Seismicity, including claims of induced seismicity
  • Mineral Interest Pooling Act
  • Allocation, Production Sharing Agreements and Drilling Permits
  • Pooling
  • Rule 37 and 38 Spacing Exceptions
  • Qualified Subdivisions (Rule 76)
  • Rule 40 Assignment of Acreage Issues
  • Flaring and Venting Issues (Rule 32)
  • Pit Permitting and Rule 8
  • Recycling Permitting and Pilot Projects
  • Pipeline Discrimination and Ratemaking Issues
  • Pipeline Permitting and Tariffs
  • Good Faith Claim Complaints
  • Single Signature P-4s
  • Directional Surveys (Rule 11)
  • Surface and Downhole Commingling
  • New Field Discovery and Field Rule Hearings
  • Net Gas Oil Ratio (GOR) Hearings
  • Maximum Efficient Rate (MER) Hearings
  • Voluntary Cleanup Program and Operator Cleanup Program
  • Enforcement

Environmental and Water Experience

  • Air Permitting
  • Carbon Sequestration and Injection Wells
  • Water Rights and Permitting
  • Waste Registrations and Landfills
  • Wastewater Discharge
  • Federal and State Superfund
  • Environmental, Health, and Safety Audits
  • Enforcement

Related Litigation Experience

  • Casing and Coupling Failures
  • Pipeline Failures
  • Injection and Disposal Well Impacts
  • Title and Property Rights, including retained acreage, pore space and field rule applicability
  • Administrative Appeals



Austin Bar Association Oil, Gas and Mineral Law Section – Past Chair, Vice-Chair, Treasurer and Secretary (2012-2016).

Austin Bar Association Environmental Law Section – Member

Austin Bar Association Administrative Law Section – Member



Fundamentals of Carbon Capture and Sequestration, 48th Annual Ernest E. Smith Oil, Gas and Mineral Law Institute, April 2022

Induced Seismicity and Potential Liability, Permian Basin Water In Energy Conference, 2022

Agency Changes of an ALJ’s Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law, Advanced Texas Administrative Law Seminar, 2021

Flaring – RRC and TCEQ, Dallas Bar Association, Energy Law Section, 2021

You Suffered A Well Failure: Now What? Litigating Downhole Failures, Austin Bar Association Oil, Gas, and Mineral Section, 2020

You Suffered A Well Failure: Now What? A Primer for General Counsels and Litigators, The Advocate (2018)

Author, Drilling Waste Disposal, Advanced Oil, Gas and Energy Resources Law.

Author, City of Dish: Potential New Air Requirements on Oil & Gas Production Sites, Advanced Oil, Gas and Energy Resources Law.


  • Energy
  • Environmental
  • Water
  • University of Texas at Austin, B.S. Chemical Engineering
  • University of Miami, J.D. cum laude
  • State Bar of Texas, 2005