Environmental & Regulatory

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Steptoe & Johnson environmental attorneys understand the complex, technical nature of environmental issues and provide team-based solutions and strategies to help clients navigate today's heavily regulated industries. Clients facing environmental litigation know they can count on the team's skilled litigators to protect them in high profile cases. Team members hold leadership positions in national environmental and energy-related trade organizations, serving as client advocates and thought leaders in environmental law. This seasoned team understands the business impact of environmental regulations and emerging technologies and is well known for the ability to translate technical issues into legal solutions to eliminate problems today and shape environmental law for the future.


What Sets Us Apart?

  • Technical and scientific degrees held by team members in geology, engineering, environmental science, and mining provide clients with solid legal representation built on a technical foundation
  • Leadership roles in environmental/energy trade organizations and regional/national multi-stakeholder technical advisory groups provides clients with a voice on critical issues
  • Team members are actively involved in shaping environmental and energy policy and promulgating regulations
  • Active working relationships with state and federal government officials in all licensed states
  • Represent regulated industries including energy, power generation, chemical, manufacturing, mining, municipalities, research and development, transportation, waste disposal, commercial development, and banking and finance
  • More than 50% of the team has in-house counsel or regulatory agency experience
  • Attorneys licensed in: IN, KY, OH, PA, VA, WV, TX
  • 75% of team members recognized as The Best Lawyers in America®
  • Three registered lobbyists represent clients regarding environmental issues in multiple states
  • Provides the right experience mix of lawyers, government affairs professionals, and paralegals to enhance efficiency 

19 Team Members

We're all in this together
Co-Team Leader
Co-Team Leader
Of Counsel
Of Counsel
Government Relations Coordinator - PA
Of Counsel
Tips for Dealing with Increased EPA Enforcement Initiatives

Know How

Alert: April 18, 2014 - Here's What's Trending on Steptoe & Johnson's Environmental Essentials Blog
EPA Mercury Rule Upheld by Divided Court Published by Armando F. Benincasa A federal appeals court on Tuesday upheld the nation’s first-ever national standards requiring power plants to cut emissions of mercury and other hazardous air pollution. Click here to read more.Oklahoma Sues Fish & Wildlife Service, Kansas Joins Published by Laura P. HoffmanOn March 17, 2014, Oklahoma’s Attorney General, Scott Pruitt, filed suit in Tulsa against the U.S. Department of the Interior and U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS). Click here to read more.

Representative Experience

  • Represented oil and gas exploration and production facilities relative to air permitting issues to include air aggregation assessments
  • Represented chemical manufacturing operations on air compliance matters and waste management matters
  • Conducted environmental audit of chemical manufacturing facility
  • Represented national trade association in developing comments to an Endangered Species Act proposed listing
  • Filed administrative appeals of industrial NPDES permits and negotiated revised permit conditions
  • Represented coal-fired power industry on regional air quality issues
  • Developed multi-jurisdictional environmental crisis management plans
  • Developed major facility environmental permitting outline
  • Represented manufacturers, power companies, coal companies, petroleum refineries and trade organizations in state and federal energy and environmental matters focusing on national air quality regulatory issues, water quality issues, oil and gas regulatory issues, and solid and hazardous waste compliance
  • Appealed regulatory decisions of the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection
  • Represented small materials handling company in developing Clean Air Act compliance program and defending multiple notices of violation in two states
  • Defended PCB disposal company against EPA Toxic Subtances Control Act and notices of violation
  • Participated on defense team defending carbon black company against several hundred plaintiff toxic tort action
  • Participated on defense team defending large refinery against several thousand plaintiff toxic tort action
  • Participated on defense team defending coal company against several hundred plaintiff water contamination action
  • Located and developed scientific expert witnesses for various toxic tort matters
  • Represented chemical company in CERCLA cost recovery action for PCB contamination 
  • Represented PCB contaminated equipment disposal company in CERCLA cost recovery action for PCB contamination
  • Represented trade association in appeal of EPA Mercury and Air Toxics Standard
  • Represented trade association in appeal of EPA Clean Air Transport Rule
  • Represented energy company in a Clean Water Act citizens' suit brought by various environmental groups alleging failure to comply with KPDES permit effluent limitations and fraud
  • Defended energy company in a Clean Water Act citizens' suit alleging wastewater contamination from selenium and conductivity
  • Provided advice on permitting, surface mining, water discharge and other environmental issues to the coal industry
  • Principal industry negotiator in the development of state hazardous waste, groundwater, and air pollution legislation
  • Member of the stakeholder groups related to water quality trading and TMDLs
  • Member of the West Virginia Carbon Capture and Sequestation ("CCS") Working Group and Chair of Legal Subcommittee involving preparation of draft CCS legislation
  • Represented clients in connection with various national stakeholder proceedings, rulemakings and litigation related implementation of requirements under the federal Clean Air Act related to regional haze
  • Advised clients with respect to climate change issues including legislative policy, rulemakings and stakeholder proceedings
  • Advised clients on conducting environmental due diligence and "all appropriate inquiry" investigations in advance of the acquisition of industrial property
  • Represented multiple clients in the defense of CERCLA claims advanced by both USEPA and the Corps of Engineers including implementation of alternative remedies undertaken by PRPs 
  • Represented client in the siting of petroleum pipeline including crossings of a navigable river, wetlands and sites of historical significance
  • Principal industry negotiator of oil and gas E&P waste management guidelines of the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission and State Review of Oil and Gas Environmental Regulations, Inc. ("STRONGER")
  • Industry participant in the STRONGER review of the oil and gas E&P regulatory programs in Kentucky and West Virginia
  • Represented multiple industrial clients in the defense of toxic tort actions in both federal and state courts involving releases of material to the air, surface water and groundwater and claims that these releases caused damages related to human health and property
  • Represented clients in connection with USEPA enforcement actions related to alleged violations of the agencies new source review ("NSR") program under the federal Clean Air Act
  • Represented clients in numerous negotiations, appeals and enforcement actions related to NPDES water pollution permits and state and federal air pollution permits
  • Represented client in connection with citizen suit enforcement of the imminent and substantial endangerment provision of the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act ("RCRA")
  • Represented clients in connection with criminal investigations of state and federal government related to alleged violations of air, water and waste laws, regulations and permits
  • Represented multiple clients in connection with USEPA efforts to develop new and renewed National Ambient Air Quality Standards ("NAAQS") and regulatory requirements to address the interstate transport of air pollutants, including appeals of final rules
  • Represented multiple clients in connection with efforts of downward states to impose new emission reduction requirements on upward states pursuant to various provisions of the federal Clean Air Act 
  • Advised clients on programs to audit compliance with state and federal environmental programs
  • Represented subsidiary of acquired manufacturing company in defense of coordinated federal-state enforcement actions targeting operating plant for historic air permitting violations
  • Developed and coordinated strategic responses to USEPA investigations of suspected environmental regulatory violations at operating plants for mining company
  • Represented manufacturing and pharmaceutical companies in conducting environmental due diligence in potential acquisitions of companies with multiple operating sites in different states as well as the evaluation of legacy liabilities
  • Served as Environmental Director for mining/manufacturing company with several regional environmental managers directly reporting
  • Represented major steel company in environmental cleanup (superfund) cases in several states
  • Represented company in voluntary disclosure to state environmental agency of prior inaccurate reporting of monitoring data by subsidiary following acquisition of parent company.  State agency commended company for prompt voluntary disclosure and assessed only minimal civil penalties for noncompliance. 
  • Represented client in litigation involving perchloroethylene contamination of ground surrounding a dry cleaning establishment
  • Represented production and midstream energy companies with regard to the negotiation and resolution of federal environmental claims pursuant to the Clean Water Act
  • Represented client in wasteload allocation and NPDES permit process over objections of local citizens and industry competitors
  • Represented production and midstream energy companies with regard to the negotiation and resolution of state air quality, water, and waste environmental claims pursuant to various state acts in Appalachia
  • Represented clients before environmental agencies in numerous environmental enforcement actions
  • Performing environmental due diligence in transactions involving acquisition of manufacturing facilities and/or real estate
  • Defend clients before both federal and state environmental agencies and administrative judicial boards related to permitting, enforcement and penalty actions 
  • Represented energy, regulatory, and municipal clients with regard to permitting, enforcement and administrative matters before environmental agencies and boards in Appalachia, including claims regarding well contamination, permit issuance, permit terms and conditions, and permit transfer
  • Provided client with advice and consultation to allow consistent compliance with regulatory obligations
  • Negotiated surface damage agreements on behalf of oil and gas operators
  • Address environmental due diligence and site assessment issues arising during the purchase or sale of client's mining, manufacturing or service businesses 
  • Represented major oil and gas exploration company in unitization application process before Ohio Department of Natural Resources
  • Represented client in Ohio Supreme Court challenge to EPA's application of longstanding environmental rule to client's manufacturing operations
  • Designed and managed TSCA/EPCRA environmental compliance program for global chemical business
  • Defend, or pursue as necessary, various damage and injunction claims arising in environmental-related cases.  Pursue civil damage claims for clients in both tort and contract actions.
  • Drafted environmental memorandums concerning endangered species issues, carbon sequestration, and other regulatory issues potentially effecting industrial operations
  • Represented clients in numerous environmental enforcement actions
  • Represented clients in numerous CERCLA, RCRA and other solid waste-related matters
  • Defended major new source review permit issued to a public utility against a citizen suit
  • Regularly negotiate terms and conditions of NPDES permits with state agencies
  • Led environmental audit team from initial response to TSCA and CERCLA regulations through audit and results presentation
  • Jury trials and defense of corporations and management officials prosecuted for criminal violations of federal environmental laws
  • Participated in first appellate court decision on Ohio EPA's Title V permitting program, overturning Ohio EPA's imposition of new requirements in a Title V permit
  • Conducted product liability risk assessment for medical devices and other FDA regulated products
  • Represented numerous clients before state administrative boards, including the West Virginia Environmental Quality Board, the West Virginia Shallow Gas Well Review Board and the West Virginia Coalbed Methane Review Board
  • Reviewing permit and regulatory/statutory obligations to ensure clients are aware of/meeting requirements; reviewing reports and sworn compliance certifications prior to their submission, with an eye to minimizing any self-incrimination or admission of noncompliance
  • Evaluated environmental, health and safety compliance, and site contamination risks, and counseled clients about reporting obligations and compliance
  • Represented client in wasteload allocation and NPDES permit process over objections of local citizens and industry competitors
  • Commenting on Ohio and US EPA on rulemaking packages affecting clients, including Title V permit program, major New Source Review rulemakings, PM2.5 and NOx SIP call rulemakings, Ohio's air toxics rules, and others
  • Assisted municipal client in drafting stormwater ordinance to comply with statewide general permit for municipal separate storm sewer systems (MS4)
  • Organized group of utilities to implement funding legislation for Chesapeake Bay program and appeal WV DEP's implementation of the Bay program
  • Alerting clients to legal developments that may impact their business
  • Worked with state agencies to modify public service district's upgrade plans and maintain compliance with a WV DEP grant order
  • Representing natural gas exploration companies in unitization proceedings before the Ohio Department of Natural Resources
  • Litigated numerous claims for property contamination and CERCLA cleanup actions
  • Regularly counsel clients regarding permitting, compliance and enforcement matters associated with RCRA hazardous and solid waste
  • Helping clients understand and navigate potential regulatory hurdles
  • Represented municipality in the sale of its water and sewer systems
  • Assisting clients to obtain permits and approvals needed for operating their businesses
  • Sought contribution under CERCLA from responsible party for $100+ million environmental remediation
  • Appealing unsatisfactory permit terms and defending challenges to permits before administrative review boards and in the court system
  • Negotiating consent decrees and penalties with state and federal agencies, including Ohio EPA and US EPA
  • State and federal enforcement experience including responses to notice of violations, federal information requests under Section 114 of the Clean Air Act and Section 104 of CERCLA, site inspections, negotiation of noncompliance penalties, and civil litigation
  • Extensive rulemaking and administrative appellate experience
  • Worked on statutory and regulatory language related to Senate Bill 315 and its implementation, including new pipeline safety requirements
  • Experience with environmental regulation of pipelines (leak detection, site clearing, wetland issues, etc.)
  • Have helped develop comprehensive emergency plans for chemical and oil and gas industry clients
  • Experience working with federal regulators in connection with emergency incidents, in particular, matters subject to CERCLA, EPCRA and Section 112 General Duty requirements


Steptoe & Johnson PLLC is a U.S. energy firm with core strengths in energy, labor & employment, litigation and transactional law. In 2013, Steptoe & Johnson celebrates 100 years of helping clients reach their goals.

Leaders in our Field

22 of us are ranked as “Leaders in their Field” by Chambers USA.