Environmental & Natural Resources

Gallagher & Kennedy’s environmental and natural resources team is as dynamic and broad as our diverse client base.

Who we help

We represent associations and companies across the U.S. including those in the following sectors:

  • Agriculture, including dairies, farms, ranches, and greenhouse operators
  • Biotechnology groups
  • Conservation districts
  • Companies with operations on tribal land
  • Financial services
  • Manufacturing, including fertilizer and pesticide manufacturers
  • Mineral processing
  • Mining
  • Oil and gas, including upstream, midstream, and downstream
  • Real estate
  • Semiconductor
  • Technology
  • Trade associations
  • Utilities

How We help

Working with federal and state regulatory agencies, courts, and at administrative levels, we mitigate and resolve sophisticated environmental problems involving:


We help clients across the country comply with the complex demands of federal, state, and county air quality permits, regulations, rulemaking, and enforcement actions, including Title V and other major source permit programs. 

For example, in Arizona, we successfully litigated to overturn improper state and county air regulations and excessive permit requirements. We also serve as national counsel to a chemical manufacturing trade association in Washington D.C., participating in federal rulemaking and litigation, and provide legal counsel and lobbying services to various Arizona and New Mexico trade organizations and businesses on air quality rulemaking and legislative matters.

Further, we have and continue to represent a variety of companies such as fertilizer manufacturers, mining operations, and oil and gas producers in EPA enforcement initiatives brought under federal air quality laws and regulations. 


Gallagher & Kennedy attorneys have substantial background and expertise with respect to water quality laws and implementing regulations. We are highly equipped to handle any type of water quality matter, whether it originates from federal, state, or local jurisdictions.

Since the inception of modern water quality laws, we have lobbied on behalf of our clients on both a federal and state level to ensure that water quality laws are adopted and then implemented in a cost-effective and scientifically-defensible manner. We have assisted numerous clients in obtaining necessary water quality permits in a timely manner to authorize new or expanded mining and industrial operations.


Nationally recognized for their work in resolving solid and hazardous waste issues associated with the extraction, beneficiation, and processing of ores and minerals across, Gallagher & Kennedy’s waste management team represents national and multi-national companies in complex compliance matters, high-profile civil enforcement cases, EPA and state rulemakings, and legal challenges to EPA final rules.

Our clients include fertilizer manufacturers, mining operations, and chemical manufacturers. We also represent national trade associations and advocate for their members at the federal and state levels. One such example of our valued and long-standing relationships with such entities, we have represented The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) for over 30 years.


We help industrial, mining, commercial, and governmental clients manage their potential liabilities and regulatory requirements associated with remediation sites across the country, including sites involving impacts to soil, groundwater, sediments, surface water, and indoor dust. 

Currently, our team has a leading role representing clients at over 100 sites undergoing remediation under federal and state Superfund, voluntary cleanup, or brownfield programs. We have helped clients across 40 states and in all 10 EPA Regions coordinate remediation activities, seek cost recovery, and defend personal injury, property damage, and natural resource damage claims. 

Our comprehensive experience enables us to integrate the legal aspects with policy, scientific, technical, stakeholder, and community issues and develop effective strategies to address site remediation and manage liability. For example, in New Mexico, we represent upstream and midstream companies in proceedings before the Oil Conservation Division and Commission regarding compulsory pooling, injection well permitting, site remediation, rulemakings, and other matters.

We have also assisted clients in buying and selling well over 500 contaminated properties. As part of these transactions, we have successfully addressed issues such as qualifying for liability protections, obtaining agency oversight and site closure, obtaining or pursuing insurance coverage, seeking cost recovery against prior owners or operators, and obtaining brownfields funding or other tax incentives for redevelopment.


G&K’s environmental team works with clients to ensure compliance with the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) hazardous materials regulations. When necessary, we represent clients in DOT enforcement actions alleging violations of the hazardous materials regulations.


For over 45 years, our team has helped clients maintain compliance with ever-changing environmental laws and regulations, and obtain necessary environmental permits at the federal and state levels, including:

  • Hazardous waste treatment, storage, and disposal 
  • Deep well injection 
  • National pollutant discharge elimination system 
  • Air and water quality 
  • Safe Drinking Water Act 
  • Aquifer Protection 
  • Groundwater Discharge 

Since 2000, EPA has increased scrutiny on manufacturers and those engaged in agriculture, utilities, technology, mining, and mineral processing, to ensure compliance with federal and state laws and regulations involving pollution prevention and mitigation, including:

  • Resource Conservation and Recovery Act
  • Clean Air Act
  • Clean Water Act
  • Toxic Substances Control Act
  • Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act
  • Safe Drinking Water Act

When clients are facing an EPA enforcement action, our national expertise and relationships in Washington, D.C., and in every EPA Regional Office enable us to successfully advocate for clients in virtually all complex enforcement issues associated with federal and state regulatory matters. This includes preparing for facility inspections and responding to enforcement actions brought by the EPA and analogous state agencies, including environmental and health and safety enforcement actions brought by agencies in Arizona, New Mexico, and several other states.

For example, we represent upstream, midstream, and downstream oil and gas clients in environmental and other regulatory matters, including project development, environmental permitting, regulatory compliance counseling, and defense of air quality, water quality, and other environmental enforcement matters.


We advocate for clients during high-profile federal and state administrative proceedings, rulemakings, and court actions in Arizona, New Mexico, and throughout the United States, including challenges and appeals in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, and U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, as well as in lawsuits brought under myriad state environmental laws. 

For example, we successfully represented The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) in a federal court of appeals legal challenge to a U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) memorandum that would have imposed over $100 million in compliance costs on the fertilizer manufacturing and retail sectors. In its 2016 unanimous decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit vacated OSHA’s memorandum.

Our work includes developing and submitting comments on EPA’s and analogous state agencies’ proposed rules and advocating for clients before these agencies and with the Office of Management and Budget regarding EPA’s cost estimates associated with its rules.

Many of the proceedings involve negotiated administrative consent orders and court consent judgments and decrees. We also represent clients in permit and license hearings before administrative bodies and courts and appeals of permit actions. In addition, we defend clients against natural resource damage claims and assist in obtaining administrative and court-approved settlements of those claims.

For example, in New Mexico, we represent upstream and midstream companies in proceedings before the Oil Conservation Division and Commission regarding compulsory pooling, injection well permitting, site remediation, rulemakings, and other matters.


Gallagher & Kennedy attorneys have been intimately involved in the initial establishment of mined land reclamation laws, and in implementing regulations in western mining states including Arizona and New Mexico. Based on this indispensable regulatory background, we have assisted numerous clients in developing appropriate operating, closure and reclamation, and financial assurance strategies to meet mined land reclamation requirements, whether on a local, state, or federal level.


Representing clients before the Arizona and New Mexico state and local legislative and executive branches, we assist in developing and seeking passage of legislation promoting our clients’ interests and opposing unfavorable legislation. We also help clients develop and propose new rules before administrative agencies, boards, and commissions, develop comments and testimony on proposed rules that affect our clients’ interests, and represent clients in rulemaking hearings and appeals.

In addition, we advocate for our oil and gas clients in Arizona and New Mexico on matters concerning project development, permitting, regulatory compliance counseling, and beyond. 

Click here to learn more about our governmental advocacy practice.


In conjunction with real estate transactions and for ongoing commercial, industrial, and mining operations, our substantive experience handling tribal, public, and private land issues includes surface and mineral leases on tribal lands, federal and state public lands, and private lands; mineral materials contracts on tribal lands and federal public lands; public lands development; obtaining and defending legal access, rights of way, special use permits, and mining claims; federal and state land exchanges and land acquisitions; evaluating and protecting water rights; and evaluating water lease options on tribal lands.  

We also handle environmental reviews associated with public lands transactions and litigation associated with public lands issues.

Learn more about our real estate practice.


Gallagher & Kennedy environmental attorneys actively participate in conducting comprehensive due diligence investigations in connection with real estate transactions and corporate mergers, acquisitions, and divestitures nationwide. These due diligence services are performed in a manner to maximize confidentiality and security issues.

For example, we represent mining companies in mineral property title examinations, and a variety of companies in stock and asset purchase and sale transactions, and related due diligence. 

Learn more about our real estate and corporate practices.


Our experience with federal and state wildlife laws includes the Endangered Species Act and other special status species laws, the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, and addressing wildlife issues as part of NEPA compliance and environmental permitting. For example, we have assisted in the preparation of habitat conservation plans, wildlife protection plans, and other voluntary compliance efforts. We have defended clients in criminal prosecutions and civil proceedings regarding wildlife issues, including defense of natural resource damage claims.


We help clients evaluate and manage their environmental risks by conducting and implementing sophisticated and comprehensive assessments involving compliance with environmental, DOT, OSHA, and Arizona Division of Occupational Safety and Health (ADOSH) regulations. With over 100 such assessments performed across the country, clients rely on our expertise to meet their needs in a cost-effective and confidential manner. 

When enforcement actions are brought by EPA, DOT, OSHA or ADOSH, our team defends clients against alleged violations of the health and safety laws and regulations.


For the past 20 years, we have been heavily involved in complex and emerging NRD issues in Arizona, New Mexico, and six other states, as well as several tribal jurisdictions. We have successfully resolved liability with federal, state, and tribal trustees on complex sites involving potential impacts to soil, surface water, groundwater, sediments, and alleged injuries to plants and habitat for animals.  


Gallagher & Kennedy attorneys have expertise in evaluating and protecting water rights, either in conjunction with real estate transactions or for ongoing commercial, industrial, and mining operations. Our experience includes addressing day-to-day water rights issues, developing long-term strategies related to sustainable water supply and use, ongoing adjudication of water rights, and other important water rights concerns.


Led by Chris Leason, we help clients implement the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards at their facilities and prepare for DHS inspections.


We represent clients in federal and state courts throughout the United States in cases involving all major federal environmental statutes, including CERCLA, RCRA, Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, TSCA, FIFRA, Endangered Species Act, and NEPA.

Many of our environmental and natural resources attorneys have formal training and substantive work history in engineering and the sciences, particularly the science associated with regulated substances such as heavy metals, mold, asbestos, benzene, pesticides, TCE, and PCBs. 

Combining our understanding of complex statutes and regulations in environmental law with our technical expertise in the areas of geology, engineering, chemistry, hydrology, biology, and toxicology, our team is known for its ability to translate scientific and technical concepts to lay jurors, judges, and arbitrator in litigation regarding various oil and gas property and commercial issues. 

Click here to learn more about our litigation practice.


Customers, investors, and government agencies increasingly expect businesses to address environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors in their decision-making, creating a minefield for businesses looking to either embrace or minimize this focus. Accusations of greenwashing, supply chain misbehavior, over-promising community involvement, an apathetic board of directors, and more can cause legal and reputational nightmares and permanently damage your business. 

Our multidisciplinary approach to evaluating and resolving complex ESG issues is through strategic legal counseling, legislative advocacy, and proactive risk management.

Environmental Issues
Whether a company is looking to mitigate its negative environmental history, footprint, and impact or address external pressures and negative accusations, G&K helps clients navigate the laws and politics involved in ensuring the right environmental goals are set and met, reducing legal and reputational risk.

Federal and state legislative and administrative lobbying is a crucial component of our ESG practice. Our extensive institutional experience working with and in governmental agencies means we know how to accurately interpret and apply the myriad environmental and natural resources laws and regulations critical to reaching your goals.

Representative experience includes defending and settling government enforcement actions, air and water quality permitting and compliance, water rights and management, solid and hazardous waste compliance, NEPA, endangered species and public land projects, due diligence, mineral and oil/gas exploration and development, mitigating risks in real estate transactions and development, Superfund liability, natural resource damages, and remediation and reclamation.

Social License & Community Relations
When your company makes a public claim, you have an obligation to ensure you have policies and management structures in place to support it. Otherwise, your company and its leadership will come under greater scrutiny for touting ESG-related goals without supporting policies and systems. 

Tailored to your business’s needs, we develop strategies, policies, and management structures involving all aspects of your operations and corporate culture to help clients remain good employers and stewards of their communities. We also conduct environmental and community impact assessments on planned and proposed operations and projects to determine the most appropriate and achievable goals.

Implementation of best practices in corporate due diligence and effective governance is vital to the success of any business. These protocols and procedures help businesses optimally allocate roles and responsibilities and align the interests of various stakeholders in both internal efforts and external negotiations.

We work with public and privately held businesses, boards of directors, governmental entities, non-profit organizations, and trade associations in all aspects of corporate accountability, governance, and operations. 


Particularly as it relates to our oil and gas clients, we represent upstream, midstream, and downstream oil and gas companies on environmental and other regulatory matters, including state and local taxation issues. 

As part of our remediation work, we have assisted clients in buying and selling well over 500 contaminated properties, successfully addressing a myriad of issues including obtaining brownfields funding or other tax incentives for redevelopment.

Click here to learn more about our work in the areas of state and local tax planning, controversy, and litigation.