Environment in Colombia
Providing compliance assessment to major companies from all economic sectors of the economy, full-service Gómez-Pinzón Abogados (GPA) renders preventive and day-to-day advice, as well as support and representation in investigations and requirements before the authorities. With a practice that combines environmental law with corporate and M&A matters, practice head Lina Uribe has extensive experience across the environmental spectrum, from punitive proceedings to contaminated site remediation. Uribe leads an eight-strong team that also includes key senior associate Lina Correa, who focuses on preventative and compliance matters (including staff training), and also has expertise in social and community matters.
Gases Industriales de Colombia
Procter & Gamble
Condominio Hatogrande Reservado
ABB Power Grid
- Provided advice to Cryogas regarding its medicinal gas distribution operations, including punitive proceedings, the renewal of a water concession, and collection of environmental fees.
- Provided environmental advice to Enfragen on its $420m acquisition of Zona Franca Celsia.
- Permanent advice to CMPC Tissue group on environmental and litigation matters regarding the disposal of paper, and mud, odour and wastewater regulations.
- Permanent advice to Clorox Company, which recently has included obtaining an air emissions permit and compliance with wastewater discharge regulations.
Holland & Knight is widely respected for its deep and broad environmental focus, which encompasses a comprehensive spread of regulatory and compliance issues, corporate support matters, permitting and certifications, and top administrative and judicial litigation. In terms of industry strengths, the team is best known for its expertise in the energy and natural resources sector, but it also acts for private and public sector clients in the food, beverage, transport and construction sectors, among others. A longstanding authority in the field, practice head José Vicente Zapata has 'an impressive practical sense and never limits himself to just answering what the law says', leads the 15-associate strong team. Senior counsel Juan Israel Casallas, who focuses on public law, arbitration, and constitutional and administrative litigation; and associates Margarita Solorza (corporate and litigation), and Camila Del Villar (environmental law), render key support.
‘We highlight the presence of José Vicente Zapata, who is definitely the soul of Holland & Knight’s environmental practice. His practicality and knowledge of the operations of his clients, makes his participation and that of his team in the affairs of the company, friendly, without losing the critical analysis and correct and timely recommendations, so much so that we feel he is part of the organisation’s work team. Finally, José Vicente’s team goes through a process of training and team building, which generates a lot of confidence and tranquility when working with any lawyer who has been trained at his school‘.
‘José Vicente Zapata stands out in this area. As a partner of the firm, he always strives to understand the client’s needs and provide comprehensive advice. José Vicente has an impressive practical sense and never limits himself to just answering what the law says, but goes further and tries to explain how the law may or may not affect the client’s business. In addition, Jose Vicente provides excellent customer service as he is always attentive to answering the emails that are sent to him and to meeting the deadlines that are agreed with him‘.
‘It is a very organised team, with a lot of knowledge of the subject, very agile in the requirements and always complying with the proposed times. The team is very well articulated and they have a lot of knowledge on environmental issues‘.
‘In general, the team works very well. Their strength is being able to balance lawyers with a strong theoretical foundation with lawyers with a very practical sense. This allows their opinions to be duly supported by the law but attending to the client’s business needs. In environmental law issues, they also stand out for their creativity and in not limiting themselves to giving text book answers, but, actually trying to solve clients’ legal problems‘.
‘Customer service, the importance given to the different issues, the opportunity in their responses, the warmth of the people, the knowledge and handling of the legislation, the experience put at the service of providing the best alternative solutions‘.
- Advised a global food and beverage company on environmental, real estate, contractual and urban law for the construction of a manufacturing plant.
- Advising a power company as part of its legal defence in a class action that seeks to challenge the environmental license of one of its projects.
- Advised a municipal entity on the environmental law component for the technical, legal and financial structuring of a public-transport project.
- Permanent legal advice to a hydrocarbons’ company on constitutional and environmental matters.
A medium-sized firm with a broad service offering, Muñoz Tamayo & Asociados houses a sophisticated and comprehensive environmental practice led by reputed specialist Juan Manuel Sabogal, who is highlighted for his 'up-to-date and forceful knowledge', as well as for his availability and attentiveness. The four-strong area advises local and multinational companies on day-to-day compliance and regulatory issues, primarily in the energy and extractive sectors, but also for clients in the construction, aviation and public utilities areas. The team is particularly sought after for its weight in strategic matters, especially audits, administrative defence and environmental litigation. Key experience comes from noted senior associate Silvia Méndez, whose past experience includes as an environmental advisor at the International Affairs Office of the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development.
‘Juan Manuel Sabogal is an excellent advisor, with clear up-to-date and forceful knowledge. He is a calm, respectful and timely person when providing his services‘.
‘They offer a very personalised attention delivered by expert professionals, which makes the difference, because normally the in-house lawyer prefers to have immediate answers, and this can only be done by a lawyer who is willing to attend to the client’s concerns at any time‘.
‘Juan Manuel Sabogal is highlighted for his innovation, his solutions to each case and his close but transparent relationship with government entities‘.
‘They are a strong and consolidated team, always willing to listen and review the cases and concerns we have as a company. They also have excellent document project skills. To conclude, they compare favourably with teams from other firms‘.
‘Juan Manuel Sabogal and Silvia Méndez are two outstanding and excellent people. The partner has an excellent personality. He listens, gives solutions and is very human – a quality that many partners from other firms lack‘.
Petróleos Sudamericanos Sucursal Colombia
Asociación Nacional de Empresas Generadoras (ANDEG)
Escuela Colombiana de Ingeniería Julio Garavito
Explotaciones Carboníferas Yerbabuena
- Provided legal counsel to Terpel regarding a potential environmental liability arising from oil spills at two of the company’s major storage plants.
- Defended GeoPark in three lawsuits concerning its responsibility for the effects of an extraordinary flooding emergency at its most important oil production block located in the east of the country.
- Provided strategic consultancy to Petrosud with regard to the elaboration of an environmental matrix to comply with those elements of Colombia’s environmental law that are applicable to the oil and gas sector.
- Secured an important regulatory adjustment in the energy sector regarding the way in which energy is valued (known as charge for restriction), on behalf of Asociación Nacional de Empresas Generadoras (ANDEG).
Full-service firm Philippi Prietocarrizosa Ferrero DU & Uría features one of the leading practices in the market after the incorporation of former corporate environmental law boutique Macías Gómez y Asociados Abogados SAS. Recognised specialist Luis Fernando Macías, a former legal chief of the Ministry for Environment who also has over 20 years' private practice experience, is deeply knowledgeable, particularly in environmental litigation and arbitration. He leads an eight-strong group that covers the full array of environmental-related services with a focus on the corporate aspect; the team can also fall on the support from the firm's other departments. The practice has a broad sector approach and beyond the energy and extractive industries advises major players in the food and drinks industry and the financial sector, particularly in relation to environmental impact assessments for potential investment projects. Key support comes from principal associate Alexander Acosta, who focuses on sustainability and renewable energies, and senior associate María Alejandra Gómez, who is experienced in identifying and mitigating potential risks.
‘The environmental team that came from Macías y Asociados have given us good service‘.
‘We can attest to the timely, efficient, professional, ethical and solid advice of María Alejandra Gómez. Extraordinary and knowledgeable in environmental matters‘.
Aerovías del Continente Americano
- Permanent legal advice to Mansrovar Energy concerning applicable regulations and legal representation before the environmental authorities and administative courts.
- Permanent legal advice to Manuelita concerning applicable environmental regulations, as well as representation of the company before the administrative courts.
- Permanent legal advice to Aerovías del Continente Americano regardding environmental law and regulation.
- Permanent legal advice to a global oil and gas company in the area of environmental law and legislation, relating to or arising from new applicable regulations relating to upstream activities.
Brigard Urrutia's environmental law practice is distinguished by its close links with other firm departments, particularly the natural resources and infrastructure and public utilities practices, which translates into a steady stream of both transactional and regulatory support matters, as well as acting before regulators and courts. Senior associate Guillermo Tejeiro, who has prior experience in sustainability matters as consultant for an NGO and an environmental law boutique in Brazil, is the key name in the area, and leads the seven strong team. Providing an interdisciplinary approach, the group assists with obtaining environmental authorisations and permits, undertaking due diligence on legal and socio-environmental issues, and planning and executing prior consultations with ethnic communities.
Oleoducto de Los Llanos Orientales and Oleoducto Bicentenario de Colombia
Fortescue Minerals Group (FMG)
Future Pipe Industries
Sociedad Internacional de Transporte Masivo – Ciudad Móvil
Compañía Multinacional de Transporte Masivo – Connexión Móvil
Bogotá Móvil Operación Sur (BMO)
Ministerio de Ambiente y Desarrollo Sostenible
Quad Graphics Colombia
Asociación Colombiana de Movilidad Sostenible – Andemos
Veolia Holdings Colombia
- Oleoducto Bicentenario de Colombia – Oleoducto de Los Llanos Orientales appointed the firm as their general environmental advisor for operational matters, including advisory on legal, technical and social aspects of their activities in Colombia.
- Conducted environmental due diligence of a Colombian company that produces pipes in Colombia, Mexico, and Argentina on behalf of Future Pipe Industries.
- Legal counsel to Permian on defining the legal nature of sequestrated carbon in public forests, forest carbon certificates, non-timber products of the forest, and assisting in negotiations with the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development.
- Appointed general environmental advisor of Cali-based Sociedad Internacional de Transporte Masivo – Ciudad Móvil, which has been awarded tenders related to mass transport systems in Bogotá and other Colombia cities.
Providing comprehensive advice to project development and business compliance, Posse Herrera Ruiz's environmental practice group is co-led (at partner-level), by Álvaro José Rodríguez, a former legal advisor and international negotiator for the country's ministry of environment before entering private practice. The group handles the strategic planning of environmental licensing and permitting applications for complex energy, infrastructure and manufacturing projects, considering conservation areas, land use restrictions, municipal plans and community’s consultations. The team also undertakes environmental litigation and representation in administrative authorities’ investigations. Energy and natural resources senior associate Erika Serrano, who joined from Philippi Prietocarrizosa Ferrero DU & Uría in October 2019, has past in-house environmental experience; she and corporate-focused associate Julián Aguirre in the Medellín office, act as fellow co-heads in conjunction with Rodríguez. However, the group lost administrative litigator María Lucía Posada in July 2020, as well as associate María Catalina Visbal, who left for Parex Resources, in August 2019.
‘This firm has a very strong team in different areas of law and as a team they provide coordinated and solid assistance. It is our preferred law firm for the correctness and timeliness of the opinions. Another important aspect is availability. They are always attentive to our requirements. The informative bulletins that each team emits according to the topic, as well as the meetings and workshops that they offer, allow us to keep up to date with the legal news that occurs in Colombia‘.
‘Their deep legal knowledge and their availability to provide timely and accurate legal advice. We can mention Álvaro Rodríguez, Mariana Sánchez, Julián Manrique and Carolina Camacho‘.
Sociedad Minera de Santander
Hidrocarburos del Casanare
- Permanent advice to Conoco Phillips; including defence in a class action brought by an NGO, and advisory in relation to an oil field under usage limitations imposed due to a zoning plan.
- Provided a legal opinion as to the viability of disposing wastewater from Continental Gold’s mining operations in various treatment plants in the department of Antioquia on behalf of Resister.
- Permanent advice to Hidrocarburos del Casanare regarding the environmentl aspects of its day-to-day operations; recent matters included advisory on a sanctioning proceeding initiated by the National Authority of Environmental Licenses.
Araújo Ibarra Consultores Internacionales
Araújo Ibarra Consultores Internacionales advises companies on the implementation of environmental due diligence, related investments and clean development mechanisms (CDM), among other matters. In addition, the top tier international trade and customs firm offers counsel on the application of environmental tax benefits. With over 20 years in the sector, including in-house positions at energy companies, Javier Eduardo Trillos leads the four-strong practice group, which focuses on energy (particularly a growing caseload in the non-conventional segment), and construction of road infrastructure and water treatments. In a recent example of the latter, the team advised Central Ganadera on tax benefits for the implementation of a treatment plant that is an integrated system for reducing the pollution of water resources.
- Advised Consorcio SH on the preparation of studies for the modification of environmental licenses concerning the 4G Rumichaca-Pasto road project.
- Permanent accompaniment of Terpel in environmental and urban issues so as to determine the viability of new service stations and legalise existing plants in terms of land use.
- Preparation of an environmental study for Drummond Energy regarding the modification of land use in the implementation of an industrial park.
Baker McKenzie S.A.S.
Baker McKenzie S.A.S. environmental law practice is distinguished by its close links with other firm departments, particularly the corporate and real estate teams, which translates into a steady stream of transactional support matters. Led by energy, mining and infrastructure specialist Alejandro Mesa -'an excellent lawyer and a pleasure to deal with', the group also has significant capability in regulatory matters regarding renewable energy (wind, solar and biomass) and in mining. Associate Camila Jiménez, who advises clients in the extractive industries, as well as the manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, and plastic and chemicals industries, is also a key name.
‘What makes this practice unique is the priority with which the requests are attended to. Its strengths are the knowledge of the topics and the speed of the answers. It is one of the best firms I have ever worked with‘.
‘For us this is a fairly strong team compared to other firms’ teams, firstly because of the preparation and training they have and, secondly, because they make objective analysis of the existing regulations, conferring security on the concepts they give, as well as recommendations’.
‘The people who make up the team are always ready to help, responding quickly and effectively to any concern. Their concepts not only respond to what is required, but they also present proactive alternatives to each concern‘.
‘Associate Camila Jiménez’s attention and dedication to the requirements and quality of the work received is highlighted.‘
Trafigura Marketing Colombia
Oak Creek Energy
MAC Johnson Controls
Graña y Montero (Morelco)
- Advised Solargreen on several regulatory assessments in connection with coexistence between it and other energy sourced (i.e. oil and gas and mining) projects in thesame vicinity.
- Assisted Trafigura Marketing Colombia with a regulatory and contractual review and design of a proper structure for it to intermediate in the sales of natural gas.
Palacios Lleras is a popular choice for complex environmental litigation, particularly for mining companies, representing them before the highest courts. However, the firm, also a regulatory powerhouse, additionally advises clients on the impact of environmental regulatory changes to their businesses and operations. Founding partner Hugo Palacios Mejía and senior partner Óscar Gutiérrez, both widely recognised as experienced litigators, head the six strong team. The team has particular expertise advising public and private entities regarding royalties’ payments for environmental services, and on corporate and social responsibility in relation to projects.
Drummond Coal Mining
- Defended Drummond in a constitutional action for the protection of fundamental rights and claim for resettlement due to alleged air pollution caused by mining operations.
- Represented Drummond Energy in a proceeding in which the company is assisting the Ministry of Mines and Energy, one of the defendants, regarding the possibility of imposing a ban on the use of hydraulic fracturing in Colombia.
A market-leader in real estate and construction matters, Pinilla González & Prieto Abogados is best known for the strength of its environmental advisory focused on urban and planning matters. The five strong practice, led for the last three years by environmental specialist Natalia Nuñez, has consolidated its presence in a number of other sectors, including energy, mining and agricultural. The practice handles advisory on the dismantling of industries, public utilities, connectivity issues, environmental due diligence and representation in administrative environmental litigation, as well as processing licenses and permits. Senior associate Ángela Pinzón who focuses on environmental law and public services, provides key support.
‘It is a strengthened team. They know that clients always want to be up to date on rules and procedures. They are professional in their practice‘.
‘The commitment of their work with the client stands out. They are all very good. I acknowledge the work of Natalia Nuñez, Natalia Álvarez, Sandra Lizcano, Angela Caicedo, Julian Rojas, Margarita Hurtado, Cristo Ángel, and David Garzón, and that of Juan Manuel González. They are a very strong team‘.
‘They are reliable, competent, and friendly. I highlight Natalia Nuñez‘.
Autopistas Del Café
Club Náutico El Muña
Compañía Urbanizadora Toro y Constructora y Edificadora Ortiz (Torortiz)
Promotora Parque Industrial El Cortijo
- Provided comprehensive advice to Prodesa on environmental issues for different urban development projects, which included legal representation in administrative environmental proceedings and the processing of environmental permits.
- Permanent advisory to Agrobetania regarding public-utility issues and all necessary environmental permits for its operations; including negotiation for the authorisation of water-recirculation as a method of internal water supply.