Hunton & Williams LLP has a highly diversified practice in virtually every aspect of the Clean Water Act and the Oil Pollution Act of 1990. We represent industrial and municipal clients and their trade associations in proceedings at the federal, state and local levels. Our practice spans the legal framework of the legislative and regulatory processes to the various matters arising from implementation and enforcement of that framework.
We have represented clients in various lobbying efforts involving the Clean Water Act since its enactment almost three decades ago. Our attorneys have performed similar legislative work in a number of states. The broad experience we have gained from our work on permitting and enforcement matters greatly enhances our effectiveness at the legislative level.
The firm has counseled clients and prepared comments in response to virtually every significant technology-based and water quality-based rulemaking EPA has proposed in the water arena. Through that work, our attorneys have developed a comprehensive understanding of the NPDES/TMDL program, which we bring to bear in dealing with new issues that arise in that area.
Judicial review often becomes necessary in rulemaking proceedings, and we have briefed and argued many such cases in a variety of federal and state courts. We also have participated in and litigated state water quality standards proceedings.
The firm has a very active NPDES practice, having counseled clients in hundreds of NPDES permit proceedings. Those efforts include the strategic issues associated with completing permit applications, as well as negotiating reasonable permit limits and conditions with regulatory authorities. We also have developed use attainability analyses and negotiated related variances from water quality standards. Our efforts cover both process wastewater and storm water. We deal with the full range of legal and complex scientific issues including more esoteric topics, such as cooling systems §316(a) and (b), whole effluent toxicity, and analytical test methods.
NPDES challenges often arise after permit issuance. We represent clients in those proceedings, in filing challenges, engaging in settlement discussions, and participating in associated evidentiary or other proceedings at the state and federal levels.
The water regulatory process is moving increasingly toward a watershed approach. The firm is counseling a variety of clients involved in §303(d) listing or total maximum daily load (TMDL) proceedings. Through that representation, we bring to bear our extensive NPDES experience on complex technical, legal and political issues as they apply to multiple point and nonpoint sources discharging to a common waterbody.
Much of our practice involves compliance counseling. We work with our clients in the interpretation and application of the highly complex regulatory provisions that govern their activities through established laws, regulations, guidance and permits.
The firm also has a very extensive enforcement practice at the judicial and administrative levels. We have represented numerous clients in proceedings initiated by EPA, the states, and citizen groups throughout the country. That practice involves counseling on §308 requests, negotiating settlements, responding to pleadings, participating in hearings and trials, negotiating supplemental environmental projects (SEPs), and related appellate work.
We have an active practice in oil spill and prevention programs such as the Oil Pollution Act and the SPCC regulations. Those efforts range from compliance counseling to enforcement defense.
In connection with a number of lease financings involving vessels and mobile offshore drilling units, we have provided advice to equity investors regarding their potential liability risks under the Oil Pollution Act of 1990, Section 311 of the Clean Water Act, the MARPOL Protocol, and the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS). We have drafted and negotiated environmental provisions in transaction documents to incorporate liability protections provided by OPA in an effort to minimize the liability risk to our clients.
We regularly counsel industrial clients on pretreatment issues. We also represent them in enforcement actions initiated by municipalities. We recently negotiated a very favorable settlement on behalf of a client facing allegations regarding more than 50 such facilities in New England.
We also assist municipalities in developing municipal pretreatment programs, including sewer use ordinances and enforcement response plans. In addition, we provide advice on complying with Section 503 sludge requirements.