Before the EPA Environmental Appeals Board
- Successfully defended a PSD permit that authorized an expansion of a major chemical manufacturing plant. In representing the permittee, Sidley’s briefing defeated arguments by a national environmental group that the new units were required to install carbon capture and sequestration units, an experiment control technology that is so expensive that it would have made the expansion unaffordable.
- Successfully defended a PSD permit that authorized the construction of a greenfield natural gas electric generating station from a challenge by a national environmental group claiming that solar power should be required to be installed to offset greenhouse gas emissions from the proposed project.
- The defense of a PSD permit for the construction of new gas-fired peaking units. The firm, working on behalf of the permittee, successfully persuaded the EPA Environmental Appeals Board (EAB) to reject an environmental group’s claim that the plant was required to use combined cycle combustion turbines as Best Available Control Technology (BACT), as doing so would make it technologically impossible for the units to fulfill their role in providing peaking generation.
- The defense of a PSD permit for a wood-fired power plant. We represented the permittee in a successful defense of the appeal by local residents and a non-governmental organization to challenge the permit on BACT and other technical grounds.
- Successfully defended a PSD permit on behalf of a major utility before the EAB. We defended the appeal against several environmental groups raising claims regarding control technology determinations and environmental justice issues.
- Defended a PSD permit on behalf of a developer of a greenfield coal-fired power plant on Indian Land before the EAB. We defended the appeal against several national environmental groups raising claims regarding control technology determinations, air modeling and many other NSR/PSD permitting requirements.
- Represented a major industrial company before EAB in petitioning for reimbursement of remedial expenses.
- Represented an industry trade association as amicus curiae before EAB in appeal of a Title V permit against challenges by environmental groups raising novel claims regarding the definition of a “source” under the Clean Air Act.
- Represented an industry trade association as amicus curiae before the EAB and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in a series of challenges to Clean Air Act permits for off-shore oil drilling operations in Alaska.
Before Federal and State Appellate Bodies
- Successfully defended a PSD permit for the construction of a new biomass fuel power plant at a lumber mill, including the BACT selected for greenhouse gas emissions.
- Successfully defended a state permit for oil and gas compressor stations before the state appellate court where petitioners claimed NSR/PSD regulations required oil and gas sites to be aggregated as one source.
- Successfully defended a PSD/Title V permit for a new coal-fired power plant on behalf of a major utility company. We defended those permits from broad-based challenges by neighbors and national environmental groups in a two-week evidentiary hearing before a state administrative board, through the state court system and before the Arkansas Supreme Court. Our team also successfully defended the client against a parallel Clean Air Act lawsuit in federal district court and before the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals.
- Successfully defended three large electric utilities in major NSR enforcement actions in district courts—two settled on advantageous terms, and in a third, Sidley handled the only NSR case to be successfully defended in a jury trial. We also successfully defended a utility on appeal for the Seventh Circuit in a major NSR enforcement action.
- Successfully appealed a minor source permit where the appeals court rejected a state permitting agency’s novel legal theory used to combine two separate sources owned by two different companies under a single permit.
- Represented numerous companies, including petroleum refining, wood products, glass and chemicals manufacturing companies, in NSR enforcement cases brought by the U.S. Department of Justice.
- Advised numerous trade associations in connection with many EPA Clean Air Act rulemakings, including challenges to EPA rules in the U.S. Courts of Appeals.
- Successfully represented an industry trade association as amicus curiae before the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in a gas company’s appeal of an EPA determination requiring it to obtain a Title V and PSD permit. Citing arguments made on behalf of our client, the court reversed the EPA’s 30-year-old interpretation of “source” under the Clean Air Act.
Permitting Advice and Compliance
- Assisted companies from the electric utility, chemical, petroleum, cement and general manufacturing industries in developing and implementing multi-facility Title V operating permit programs, including NSR/PSD issues. We also aided in strategic decisions regarding whether facilities qualify for minor and “synthetic minor” permits to avoid Title V status, developing model applications and permits and negotiating permit terms and conditions.
- Assisted a client in successfully obtaining a PSD permit for a new major greenfield steel mill. We provided advice on permit negotiating strategies, as well as legal and practical advice related to the complex modeling analyses required for PSD permit applications and to the control technology selection issues.
- Assisted a major meat processor in successfully obtaining air permits for a new greenfield processing plant with multiple ovens and smoke houses.
- Assisted a major refining company in obtaining minor and major source Clean Air Act permits throughout various refineries nationwide. We worked closely with technical consultants to ensure permits were legally defensible and the permitting process was robust and complete.
- Assisted an alternative energy supplier in developing plans to comply with air permitting requirements applicable to the construction and operation of district cooling plants to serve the downtown area of a large city.
- Successfully assisted a minerals company with operations in the western United States in obtaining a reversal of the EPA’s interpretation of the definition of “source” under the Title V and NSR programs.
- Assisted various refining and industrial clients in responding to petitions to the EPA Administrator to object to Title V permits under the Clean Air Act.