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Environmental Enforcement

As environmental regulators’ enforcement focus and demands continue to increase, so does the need for counsel with deep experience in helping companies address allegations of environmental noncompliance. Arnold & Porter’s team has represented clients in the successful resolution of some of the most high-stakes environmental enforcement matters of the 21st century, including civil and criminal cases at the federal and state levels and across environmental media. We also have extensive experience working with clients on voluntary disclosures, audit programs, environmental management systems, and other strategies to minimize the risk of becoming an enforcement target. When enforcement does occur, we work closely with our clients to develop effective strategies for negotiating settlements when appropriate and defending enforcement litigation when favorable settlements cannot be achieved.

  • Enforcement Agency Insight: Successfully handle matters initiated by the DOJ, EPA, California Air Resources Board, and other federal and state agencies based on our deep understanding of their policies, practices, and enforcement objectives.

  • Specialized Experience: Recognized excellence in enforcement agencies’ priority areas, including climate change, air emissions from vehicles and engines, contaminated sites, chemicals of national interest, Natural Resource Damage, hazardous waste management, water discharges, and oil spills.

  • Integrated Advice on Strategies: Cross-practice environmental, white collar, and complex litigation teams provide seamless strategic advice for meeting enforcement challenges and efficiently work with clients’ co-counsel.

Select Federal and State Guidance: See our COVID-19 Environmental Enforcement Update.
Industry Coverage: Up-to-date information on how enforcement efforts impact specific sectors.

Experience Highlights

  • BP, as primary environmental counsel related to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill since 2010, in serving as core members of its virtual legal team; acting as lead counsel to the incident investigation team; being part of the negotiation team for the global civil enforcement settlement with the federal and state governments; managing the economic claims process; defending BP in citizen action lawsuits; leading the company's Natural Resource Damages defense; participating as trial counsel in the Clean Water Act penalty phase; participating in the defense of federal government and foreign state actions; and acting as lead counsel on claims related to federal debarment.

  • American chemical company in a criminal investigation by the Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Justice, and the US Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia of alleged violations of the Clean Air Act. Secured an important victory for the client, with the government closing the two-year investigation without bringing criminal charges or a civil or administrative action against the company or any employee.

  • Chemours, a chemical manufacturer, across a range of regulatory, compliance, and litigation matters stemming from the manufacture of PFAS chemicals, including enforcement matters involving air and water emissions and waste remediation.

  • Mosaic, a fertilizer manufacturing company, in negotiating and implementing a settlement  of RCRA claims brought by the United States, Florida, and Louisiana, involving nine facilities that were the focus of EPA’s national mineral processing enforcement initiative.

  • Detroit Diesel Corp. in enforcement, compliance, and regulatory legal matters including in relation to its supply of engines to Freightliner LLC, the largest commercial vehicle manufacturer in the world. 

  • Kohler, an engine manufacturer, in resolving a federal and California enforcement matter involving alleged violations of Clean Air Act certification requirements related to the manufacture and sale of small off-road engines; in implementation of the consent decree;  and defending a consumer class action arising out of the consent decree settlement.

  • Automobile manufacturer in an enforcement action initiated by the California South Coast Air Quality Management District related to noncompliance with California’s cap-and-trade program for greenhouse gas emissions.

  • Manufacturer of off-highway vehicles and engines in an EPA and California enforcement action regarding engine calibration mapping.

  • Major gasoline companies in defense of EPA enforcement actions concerning volatility, sulfur, and benzene requirements for gasoline.