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  1. Environment: regulatory
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Environmental boutique Beveridge & Diamond, P.C. remains a key player in the market, advising on a range of issues in the real estate and natural resources arenas, including due diligence, permitting and site cleanups. Notable work included advising Duke Energy on the development of a statewide coal ash compliance plan and its implementation; representing the Information Technology Industry Council in negotiations for the movement of end-of-life electronic equipment; and defending major chemical manufacturing clients in administrative enforcement proceedings under the Clean Air Act (CAA). Karen Hansen and Nicholas van Aelstyn jointly chair the practice from Austin and San Francisco respectively, and the group also has a strong presence in Washington DC, where Karl Bourdeau and Donald Patterson are the key contacts.

Latham & Watkins LLP has significant experience advising on various regulatory requirements and governmental approvals for energy generation, and is frequently involved in rulemaking proceedings impacting energy clients. The environmental group currently represents SoCalGas in connection with a natural gas leak in the Aliso Canyon, a matter involving considerable scientific and technical issues surrounding the cause and seriousness of the accident. The firm is also acting for the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, advising on the regulatory aspects of Florida v Georgia, a case concerning the apportionment of waters between the two states known as ‘The Tri-State Water Wars’. Mary Rose Alexander and James Arnone are the key contacts in Chicago and Los Angeles respectively, and newly promoted partner Kegan Brown is the name to note in New York.

Sidley Austin LLP’s ‘outstanding’ team is based across Washington DC, Chicago and Los Angeles, and frequently handles complex air, water, waste and climate change-related matters. The firm also advises individuals on domestic and international regulatory initiatives, and works with clients to manage product supply chain and natural resources issues to ensure they do not develop into liabilities. Key individuals include Roger Martella, who currently advises 25 companies and trade associations on the EPA’s Clean Power Plan; Judith Praitis, who represented a number of product manufacturers in regulatory challenges to California’s Proposition 65; and Byron Taylor, who is assisting Exelon Generation with seeking a variance from Illinois air emission rules. David Buente is the other leading individual, representing clients in environmental litigation and rulemaking matters.

At Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP, practice chair Brian Israel advises clients on contaminated sites across the US and is a leading figure in Natural Resource Damages (NRD) matters. Other key practitioners include Peggy Otum; Lawrence Culleen, who handles EPA programs governing chemicals, pesticides and antimicrobials; Jonathan Martel, a CAA regulatory expert; and New York’s Edward McTiernan, who focuses on state and federal regulatory issues, including real estate development, energy and infrastructure transactions and site remediation. Highlights included advising the American Cleaning Institute, along with several other chemical manufacturers, on matters concerning the amendment of the Toxic Substances Control Act. Other significant clients include Bayer Crop Science, The Mosaic Company and Stanford University. Named attorneys are based in Washington DC except where indicated otherwise.

Dentons’ ‘outstanding’ team is ‘exceptionally knowledgeable in the field’ and ‘appreciates the need for timely advice and sensitivity to costs’. Notable strengths for the practice include environmental impact assessment, chemical and product regulation and climate change matters. The ‘highly strategic’ Peter Gray in Washington DC and San Francisco-based Matthew Adams are the key practitioners; the latter recently advised the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands on various environmental and natural resource issues, including the renegotiation of a bilateral treaty with the US. San Francisco-based Nicholas Yost is the other name to note.

Hunton & Williams LLP is noted for its expertise in relation to the energy sector but also receives a stream of work relating to water, waste and chemicals, advising on the full range of legislative and regulatory issues. Highlights included advising Utility Water Act Group on various appeals against the EPA with regards to the Clean Water Rule, and defending the American Petroleum Institute against a challenge to a key permit relied on by various pipelines, transmission lines and other linear projects. William Wehrum heads the practice in Washington DC, and Tom Boer is the key partner in the San Francisco office, handling a range of enforcement, defense and counseling matters.

Vinson & Elkins LLP’s ‘excellent’ team is ‘a pleasure to work with’ and ‘always takes the time to understand the client’s business, values and priorities’. The firm has a strong reputation for securing and defending permits for development projects, and also assists clients with matters involving state and federal governments, investigative boards and non-governmental organizations, advising on business strategy and the mitigation of environmental risks. In Houston, practice head Larry Nettles and counsel Taylor Pullins advised Mitsui & Co on a cost recovery matter related to a Pasadena Superfund site, where cleanup costs were estimated at $30m. Andrew Stewart is also a key individual.

Baker Botts L.L.P. is ‘a leading choice in the oil and gas area’, and also maintains a strong air, water, crisis prevention and site cleanup practice. Austin-based Aileen Hooks handles real estate and environmental matters, and also advises on safety regulation issues, liability considerations and matters affecting the energy industry. Steven Leifer heads the practice from Washington DC, where he focuses on environment-related litigation and advises on remediation and compliance issues. BP Products North America, ExxonMobil, Halliburton and Hess Corporation are among the firm’s key active clients.

Bracewell LLP’s ‘highly recommended’ team is currently representing the Electric Reliability Coordinating Council before Congress, the EPA and in court in a wide range of regulatory and legislative matters arising under the CAA and other environmental statutes. Practice head Jason Hutt (Washington DC) is advising a major oil and gas producer on Clean Water Act (CWA) compliance, auditing, disclosure and enforcement matters in over 600 locations. Former EPA administrator Jeffrey Holmstead (Washington DC) is recommended for climate change issues, and Timothy Wilkins heads the environmental strategies group from Austin.

Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP provides ‘an outstanding level of service - the response times, communication and value for money are all excellent’. Highlights included representing DuPont in connection with the catastrophic release of toxins resulting in two fatalities in La Porte, Texas; the matter involved advising on potential responses to media and government agencies, analyzing liabilities and successfully minimizing risks for the company. The firm also advised the Barack Obama Foundation on the negotiation of environmental agreements with the City of Chicago. In Washington DC, Nadira Clarke gives ‘outstanding strategic advice which is direct and to the point’ and Steven Solow co-heads the white-collar, investigations and compliance practice; and Austin-based Danny Worrell focuses on permitting and enforcement. Scott Elliott and Ben Patton are also names to note.

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP’s broad environmental offering includes compliance, permitting, risk avoidance and crisis management counseling. The group acts for clients in the energy, manufacturing, chemicals and real estate sectors, among others, and frequently interacts with regulatory agencies to obtain permits, arrange settlements and comment on proposed new rules. James Dragna is the main contact in Los Angeles and is currently acting for several municipalities in wastewater disputes and permitting issues. Princeton-based John McGahren recently represented a retail electric and natural gas company in license revocation proceedings initiated by Texas’ and Pennsylvania’s public utility commissions. Los Angeles-based Yardena Zwang-Weissman is recommended for bank-related investigations and internal examinations.

Headed by Christopher Carr in San Francisco, Morrison & Foerster LLP’s regulatory group has significant compliance and enforcement expertise, and also advises on due diligence, natural resources matters, consumer products law and various emerging environmental issues. William Tarantino and James Schurz currently represent Lumber Liquidators in various matters; these include three state’s attorney investigations, a California Air Resources Board enforcement action, and a US Consumer Product Safety Commission investigation regarding excessive levels of formaldehyde in the client’s floorboard product. Lummi Nation, Consolidated Edison Development and Eastern Municipal Water District are also key clients.

Van Ness Feldman LLP provides ‘an excellent level of service’, including ‘timely responses, deep knowledge of environmental permitting processes and good value for money’. Key figure Andrea Hudson Campbell’s clients include automobile, engine and equipment manufacturers, electric utility companies and trade associations, and she has notable expertise advising on regulations addressing vehicle emissions. Highlights included advising Arctic Slope Regional Corporation on a range of federal policy and regulatory issues, most notably the Endangered Species Act, Marine Mammal Protection Act and various Arctic-related initiatives. The group also advises North Slope Borough on the laws and policies affecting indigenous Alaskans, which includes a bilateral treaty with Russia governing the designation of critical polar bear habitat. Kyle Danish is ‘helpful, approachable and highly knowledgeable’.

Baker McKenzie LLP’s range of regulatory expertise includes global compliance programs, sustainability initiatives, climate change policy changes and environmental risk assessments and management. John Watson chairs the practice group from Chicago, where he advises US and multinational companies on the environmental issues associated with their industrial and manufacturing operations. Douglas Sanders is the key contact for contentious matters, representing clients in federal and state courts and in administrative proceedings.

Goodwin has a strong presence in Washington DC and New England, advising on various areas of policy and enforcement. The group has notable experience handling contaminated sediment site matters, along with hard rock mining and hazardous waste issues, Superfund mega sites and NRD claims. Laurence Kirsch chairs the practice, which currently serves as counsel to Newmont Mining and its subsidiaries with respect to nationwide environmental, energy and public lands matters. Gregory Bibler and Elise Zoli are the key individuals in Boston.

At King & Spalding LLP, highlights included acting for Kia Motors in response to US government claims relating to the fuel economy of the client’s vehicles. The firm also represented Statoil in a series of regulatory investigations and enforcement actions related to a well pad fire and explosion, and acted for the City of Fort Smith in a CWA enforcement action brought by the EPA. Patricia Barmeyer heads the environmental practice from the firm’s Atlanta office.

At Paul Hastings LLP, Gordon Hart advises on a mix of permitting, transactional and regulatory matters; Robert Hoffman has notable expertise in hazardous waste management issues; and Peter Weiner advises on renewable energy, contaminated site cleanup, redevelopment and Occupational Safety and Health Administration matters. Clients include First Solar, Boeing and the Related Companies; the firm advised the latter on negotiations with Santa Clara City Council, successfully securing an approval for a $6.5bn private development in Silicon Valley. The group also assists Genentech with various matters related to the investigation and cleanup of a facility, along with the sale of the property to a mixed-use developer.

Seattle-based Karen McGaffey chairs the environmental practice at Perkins Coie LLP, which advises on environmental compliance, enforcement, permitting and project development, among other things. The firm currently represents 11 petroleum refining companies in challenging the Renewable Fuel Standard, a matter involving two petitions to the DC Circuit, and is also advising Repsol, Shell and Statoil on three controversial oil and gas projects in Alaska. In another highlight, Donald Baur, John Pierce and Laura Godfrey Zagar - based in Washington DC, Bellevue and San Diego respectively - represented the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound in its successful opposition to the Cape Wind Project. Hecla Mining, Stanford University and Chevron are also notable clients.

Thompson & Knight LLP provides ‘very rapid responses to complex issues’ and has ‘very strong leadership with an excellent support team’. In Austin, practice head James Morriss is described by clients as ‘a true leader in this area’ and offers ‘excellent knowledge together with sound, practical advice’, Christopher Smith is ‘great at coordinating with the TCEQ and EPA when negotiating penalties’, and counsel Ashley Phillips is ‘especially knowledgeable in audits’. Work highlights included representing Brazos Electric Power Cooperative in a pollution control and property tax abatement matter before the El Paso Court of Appeals, and advising the Capitol Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America on endangered species issues associated with its use of a 5,000-acre ranch.

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