Our lawyers regularly represent clients seeking federal permits, licenses and authorizations in connection with transactions that may affect the environment. In many cases, the federal approval process necessitates the application of federal statutes related to protecting natural resources or protected species, including the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA), the Endangered Species Act (ESA), Clean Water Act, the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA), Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA).
We bring value to our clients in the following ways:
- Regulatory knowledge: Our natural resource knowledge is supplemented by our experience in permitting under the many environmental statutes. This includes Clean Air Act conformity determinations, Clean Water Act permitting, ESA compliance, NHPA determinations and Memoranda of Agreement, right-of-way grants under the Mineral Leasing Act and Federal Land Policy and Management Act, as well as findings regarding parkland and protected lands under Section 4(f) of the Department of Transportation Act.
- Compliance enforcement: Our lawyers have worked closely for many years with federal agencies, private applicants and environmental contractors to assure timely and successful compliance with the myriad environmental and natural resource statutes applicable in federal permitting contexts.
- Environmental risk assessment: In this era of “NEPA streamlining,” Environmental Impact Statements (EIS) serve as a platform for a host of decisions made by federal agencies. We have extensive experience advising local civic organizations regarding the EIS process. In one such matter, our lawyers reviewed an EIS prepared by the Federal Highway Administration for a controversial connector highway in the greater Washington, D.C. area. We have also represented clients in proceedings before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and in subsequent litigation before the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.
Our recent work related to natural resource protection includes:
- Advising the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on federal environmental compliance duties under NEPA and related federal statutes arising from two historic undertakings: first, the FAA’s review of the proposal by the City of Chicago to conduct a multibillion-dollar improvement project at O’Hare International Airport and, second, the FAA’s redesign of the navigable airspace over New York, New Jersey and Philadelphia.
- Assisting the TransCanada Pipeline Company on NEPA, the Clean Water Act, historic preservation, ESA and related matters in conjunction with the U.S. Department of State’s permit requirements for a crude oil pipeline that crosses an international border of the United States and similar issues relating to a domestic crude oil pipeline that was challenged by a national environmental organization.
- Helping a natural gas pipeline operator in the NEPA review conducted by FERC in connection with the issuance of federal approvals for the construction and operation of the interstate pipeline.