Energy, Environment and Natural Resources REGULATORY AND GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS

WilmerHale's Energy, Environment and Natural Resources Practice draws on its substantive legal and technical background, knowledge of industry, and insight from government service to achieve our clients' objectives in a range of regulatory, litigation, legislative and transactional matters arising at the intersection of law, business, science, and public policy. Attorneys in our practice have served in senior positions in the US Department of the Interior, US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), US Justice Department, and Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Partner Ken Salazar has served as Secretary of the Interior, United States Senator for Colorado and Colorado Attorney General. Partner Tom Strickland served as Chief of Staff and Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks for the US Department of the Interior. Partner Andy Spielman currently serves as Vice Chair of the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission and Chair of the Colorado Regional Air Quality Council.

We represent clients in a broad spectrum of industries—including oil and gas exploration, production, and transportation, renewable energy, gas and electric transmission and distribution, mining, recreation, aviation, defense, life sciences and pharmaceuticals, and financial services. Our practice focuses on addressing the development, counseling, transactional and litigation needs of that diverse range of clients, including highly charged Congressional and agency investigations, crisis counseling, and strategic response. We have one of the nation's foremost public lands practices, and work seamlessly across the firm's regulatory, transactional and litigation practices to represent clients in developing many of the most significant and complex projects on federal and private lands, both onshore and offshore.

Spielman, Andy

Andrew L. Spielman

Co-Partner-in-Charge, Denver Office

Chair, Energy, Environment and Natural Resources Practice

+1 720 274 3161 (t)

andy.spielman@wilmerhale.com

Gorelick, Jamie

Jamie Gorelick

Partner

+1 202 663 6500 (t)

jamie.gorelick@wilmerhale.com

Kalpin, Mark C.

Mark C. Kalpin

Partner

+1 617 526 6176 (t)

mark.kalpin@wilmerhale.com

Kirsch, Robert C.

Robert C. Kirsch

Partner

+1 617 526 6779 (t)

rob.kirsch@wilmerhale.com

Louis, Frédéric

Frédéric Louis

Partner

+32 2 285 49 53 (t)

frederic.louis@wilmerhale.com

Ross, Lester

Lester Ross

Partner

+86 10 5901 6588 (t)

lester.ross@wilmerhale.com

Salazar, Ken

Ken Salazar

Partner

+1 720 274 3131 (t)

ken.salazar@wilmerhale.com

Seyfarth, Martin

Martin Seyfarth

Partner

+49 30 20 22 64 30 (t)

martin.seyfarth@wilmerhale.com

Spielman, Andy

Andrew L. Spielman

Partner

+1 720 274 3161 (t)

andy.spielman@wilmerhale.com

Experience

Some examples of our work include:

  • Advising a global energy company in enforcement proceedings and federal agency and Congressional investigations stemming from a major accident and resulting oil spill.
  • Representing a major US oil and gas producer as national coordinating counsel on Clean Water Act regulatory and enforcement matters.
  • Assisting energy companies in successfully resolving suspension and debarment proceedings at the Department of the Interior and US EPA.
  • Assisting clients in developing, enhancing, and auditing corporate compliance programs, and when advantageous, guiding clients in voluntary self-disclosure under applicable federal and state audit policies.
  • Providing advice and counsel to a multi-national pharmaceutical company on a wide variety of aspects of environmental permitting, compliance and enforcement in connection with its research, manufacturing and laboratory operations.
  • Advising a multi-national pharmaceutical company on remediation of a proposed R&D headquarters location, zoning variances and environmental permits, and hazardous material handling and disposal permits, resulting in the successful development of a 1.5 million-square-foot campus.
  • Representing specialty chemical manufacturing companies in Toxic Substances Control Act enforcement and regulatory compliance matters, including design and implementation of TSCA auditing programs under EPA consent agreements.
  • Securing federal, state and county land use approvals for nearly 4,000 megawatts of wind energy, including more than 1,000 megawatts in Eastern Colorado.
  • Advising renewable energy companies in the development, financing and operation of solar generation, wind generation and biofuel production facilities throughout the United States.
  • Representing clients in connection with the licensing and permitting to construct, operate or expand publicly controversial facilities including in the nuclear energy, waste management, retail and recycling sectors.
  • Representing ski areas nationwide as public lands, NEPA, forest service and land use counsel.
  • Representing major Independent Power Producers (IPPs) with ensuring compliance with federal and state wildlife laws.
  • Successfully challenging in federal district and appellate court, based on constitutional Supremacy Clause grounds, and striking down a state law imposing a heightened cleanup standard on a single contaminated site.
  • On a pro bono basis, representing seven national, state and Western Slope environmental and conservation groups as parties to the successful mediation and settlement of the 30-year long Black Canyon of the Gunnison water rights litigation.
  • Representing several state entities on energy and environmental regulatory issues in connection with the proposed conversion of the state's existing generation fleet from oil-based fuels to natural gas fuels, compliance with EPA's MATS standards, and the proposed construction of an LNG import facility.
  • Defending a financial services company against electric market manipulation charges asserted by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
  • Assisting national commercial retailers, national financial companies and municipalities in connection with the purchase of electricity and natural gas from competitive suppliers on a single facility and regional basis, and in the direct purchase of energy supplies from regional wholesale electric markets.
  • Representing clients in numerous CERCLA and analogous state-lead enforcement proceedings throughout the United States, including defense and prosecution of cost recovery claims and designation as common counsel at various multi-party sites.
  • Representing a petroleum marketing company in bankruptcy proceedings and negotiating resolution of issues relating to closure of underground storage tanks.
  • Advising major oil and gas companies on risk allocation and negotiated environmental terms and conditions in billion-dollar asset-based transactions.
  • Representing several clients in diverse matters relating to hydraulic fracturing, including: monitoring of and advocacy in federal and state regulatory proceedings; defense of personal injury/property damage claim; and evaluation of risk associated with waste management and disposal. 

Publications & News

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April 20, 2016

Interior Releases Final Rule for Blowout Prevention Systems and Well Control in Offshore Drilling Operations

On April 14, 2016, the Department of the Interior, through the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, released a final rule establishing requirements for certain offshore oil and gas drilling, completion, workover, and decommissioning processes that are designed to enhance safety and minimize well-control incidents. 

March 27, 2016

WilmerHale Lawyers and Practices Recognized in 2016 Edition of Chambers USA

Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business announced its final rankings for the 2016 edition, with WilmerHale ranking among the nation's best in 47 practice area categories. Chambers also ranked 82 WilmerHale lawyers as leaders in their respective fields.

March 17, 2016

Energy Sector Alert Series: Appellate Courts Hearing More Energy Cases

Over the last several years, a number of important energy-related cases have reached the US Supreme Court or the federal courts of appeals. Many of these cases concern the scope of authority of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the Environment Protection Agency to regulate in this area.

March 11, 2016

Oil and Gas Sector Should Seize Opportunity to Shape Methane Regulations

On March 10, President Obama announced that Canada would join the United States in its goal to reduce methane emissions in the oil and gas sector. The President said that the countries together would “move swiftly to establish comprehensive standards to meet that goal.”

March 10, 2016

Energy Sector Alert Series: Hot Topics in California

Important energy issues continue to arise at the intersection of law and policy in California. Here are eight hot topics that require the attention of entities with interests in California's energy sector.

March 3, 2016

Energy Sector Alert Series: As Oil Prices Descend, Patent Enforcement Litigation Increases Within Energy Industry

The recent slump in oil prices has impacted oil and gas companies in a variety of ways, some to be expected, some less so. One unwelcome development is that while these companies have been implementing cost-savings and other measures to offset decreasing revenues, their expenditures on patent infringement litigation have been increasing.

February 25, 2016

Energy Sector Alert Series: Five Essentials for Managing Deal Risk

Oil prices have fallen below $30 per barrel for the first time in more than a decade. This trend, along with the shale gas boom, evolving regulatory constraints, and a growing focus on renewables, have made one thing clear: the oil and gas industry is getting a makeover. 

February 18, 2016

Energy Sector Alert Series: Modern Compliance Programs in an Age of New Threats

Companies operating in the energy space face a host of new compliance obligations and challenges, ranging from data privacy to new regulations to physical security. While many federal agencies have a policy or set of guidelines addressing their expectations for a compliance program, reliance solely on agency guidance is often inadequate. 

February 11, 2016

Energy Sector Alert Series: Climate Change Disclosures in 2016

A sweeping federal rule from the Environmental Protection Agency, aggressive enforcement by a state attorney general, a landmark international accord, and the persistent demands of investors are combining to bring increased scrutiny to public companies' climate change-related disclosures. 

February 4, 2016

Energy Sector Alert Series: Risks and Opportunities in Distressed Oil and Gas

Recent volatility in the energy markets has put increasing stress on the capital structures of companies operating in those markets. When commodity prices were higher between 2010 and 2014, many of those companies took on significant amounts of debt to pursue new opportunities.