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Air Quality & Regulatory Compliance

Davis Graham & Stubbs LLP environmental lawyers have been representing clients in significant federal and state enforcement defense, litigation, and rulemaking proceedings under the Clean Air Act (CAA) and related state statutes for decades.  We regularly play a leading role in defending numerous oil and gas company clients in EPA’s national enforcement initiative focusing on storage tank emissions at upstream oil and gas production facilities. We also assist clients and regulators in crafting reasonable, effective emission control measures aimed at tackling the Denver Metro area’s long-term ozone nonattainment issue.  

We know the challenges of demonstrating compliance and reporting variances from compliance for sources under Title V operating permits, minor source construction permits, and dealing with related agency information requests.  We have handled many successful minor modifications of permits while avoiding the triggering of major source applicability.  We are also very familiar with the vagaries of permitting “aggregated” emissions from co-located sources and have been directly and prominently involved in some of the most significant national CAA aggregation cases.  We regularly advise  clients on how to comply with regulations regarding stationary engines, including New Source Performance Standards (NSPS)—including the recently-issued Quad Ob and Oc provisions—and National Emissions Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants regulations such as Quad O/Quad Oa, Quad I, Quad J, and the RICE MACT provisions.  We have often assisted clients in responding to lengthy EPA and state information requests regarding their compliance with applicable air quality laws. 

We have also successfully navigated Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) Air Pollution Control Division applicability determinations, including top-down analyses for Best Available Control Technology (BACT) determinations and Regulation No. 3 Reasonably Available Control Technology (RACT) determinations for existing client facilities, as well as for various NSPS provisions.  We have handled several complex air quality enforcement actions, including a precedent-setting PSD judicial enforcement action by the Department of Justice and citizen suit enforcement in federal court challenging the validity of permits CDPHE issued to our clients.   

We understand the constant need for compliance evaluation and potential corrective actions.  Accordingly, we are well-versed in both state and federal environmental audit privilege and immunity laws and policies and the implementation of both large- and small-scale audits. 

We continue to be a significant presence in Colorado’s Air Quality Control Commission’s and Energy and Carbon Management Commission’s frequent rulemaking efforts, representing both private oil and gas operators and local governments.  These rulemaking efforts stem from the  Colorado Senate Bill 2019-181, Colorado Governor Jared Polis’ ongoing efforts to reduce emissions from the oil and gas sector, and other recent legislation addressing ozone non-attainment, climate action, and environmental justice.   

Climate Change 

Our clients have faced voluntary and mandatory greenhouse gas (GHG) reporting, new GHG emission reduction requirements, emerging theories of potential liability in climate change litigation, and public disclosure of the costs and risks posed by climate change issues. We have the multidisciplinary skills and experience to help our clients meet these rapidly evolving challenges. 

Representative Experience

Policy Analysis

  • Provide strategic advice related to federal, state, and regional air quality initiatives surrounding climate change 
  • Advise clients on current and future impacts to business operations as a result of methane and climate change regulation 
  • Assist various entities (including governmental agencies and corporations) in analyzing policy impacts of climate change in areas such as public disclosures, insurance trends, and local and state policy trends  
  • Frequently participate in stakeholder efforts which inform and direct policy and regulatory efforts, especially in advance of rulemaking 
  • Counsel clients on climate change impacts and considerations for proposed projects under the National Environmental Policy Act 

Regulatory Compliance 

  • Counsel oil and gas and other clients on GHG reporting under Subparts C and W 
  • Advise oil and gas clients on implementation of Colorado’s new and evolving upstream methane and NOx reduction regulations 
  • Track climate change-related regulations for SEC disclosures and due diligence on transactional matters, particularly in the oil and gas sector 
  • Advise clients on litigation and procedural challenges to state rulemaking efforts and prosecute appeals of final agency action under the Colorado APA and Colorado Air Pollution Prevention and Control Act 

GHGs & the Clean Air Act (CAA) 

  • Provided legal analysis regarding regulation of new, modified, and existing sources under CAA §111(b) and (d), as part of a collaborative project for the Environmental Council of the States (ECOS) 
  • Represented regional oil and gas trade association in national litigation related to federal regulation of methane under New Source Performance Standards (NSPS)  
  • Advise clients on evolving Best Available Control Technology (BACT) determinations under New Source Review (NSR) and Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) programs 
  • Counsel clients on permitting and compliance strategies related to fugitive methane emissions 
  • Work closely with technical air quality experts to help clients address regulatory initiatives related to climate change, including ozone issues in the Denver and North Front Range 8-hour Ozone Nonattainment Area 

New Technology 

  • Counsel clients on a wide variety of issues related to increasing use of infrared cameras and emerging air quality monitoring technologies 
  • Advise clients on development of various technology improvements to meet climate change demands, ranging from use of renewables in oil and gas fields, to, alternatives to flaring of associated gas, and other technological advancements 
  • Assist startup companies in assessing climate change trends and potential impacts on availability of funding and other startup needs 
  • Advise clients on the implementation and approval of alternative technologies to detect methane emissions 

Government Relations 

  • Utilize extensive governmental contacts to assist companies in advancing climate change and emission control related agendas and initiatives 
  • Consult frequently with regulatory staff and personnel regarding air quality policies and regulation 

Air Quality & Regulatory Compliance

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