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Air Quality

Air Quality

Resolving Air Quality Permitting and Enforcement Matters

Marten Law represents some of the largest companies in the Pacific Northwest in connection with air quality issues at their facilities in Alaska, Washington, Idaho and other states. We have extensive experience advising clients on the federal Clean Air Act and state and local air quality laws and regulations. We work creatively with clients to help them meet air quality requirements and obtain the permits they need for their plans to move forward.

Our work includes compliance counseling, representation in enforcement proceedings and citizen suits, and participating in the development of regulations and legislation. We help clients interpret and evaluate new source performance standards and other technology standards, and ambient air quality and visibility impacts. We assist in obtaining construction and operating permits and permit amendments for new projects and for modifications to existing facilities, as well as with emissions trading.

Addressing New Greenhouse Gas Regulations

Our lawyers understand the opportunities and risks posed by emerging laws and regulation of greenhouse gas (“GHG”) emissions at the local, state, regional, and national levels. (See our Climate Change practice page). We assist our clients in understanding and planning for GHG control regimes. We also help identify business opportunities in emerging carbon markets. We work with companies in carbon-intensive industries, as well as with renewable energy developers and others providing GHG emissions offsets.

Experience

  • New Source Review Permitting
  • Title V Air Operating Permits
  • Appeals and Variances
  • Climate Change
  • Compliance Counseling
  • Defense of Enforcement Actions
  • Litigation
  • Mobile Sources, Fuels and Additives
  • New Source Performance Standards
  • Hazardous Air Pollutants
  • Regulatory Development

Representative Client Work

Permitting and Regulatory Compliance

Assisted refineries, aluminum smelters, pulp mills, and utilities in preparation of the first round of air operating permit applications.
Developing new air operating permits required a complete review if each facility’s permitting and regulatory history and evaluation of all potentially applicable air regulations.
Representing oil pipeline company on air quality matters, which have included permit appeals, regulatory interpretation, agency negotiations and support for negotiations, and assistance with permitting of new and modified facilities.
Client operates the Trans Alaska Pipeline System, including the Valdez Marine Terminal. At peak production, client transported more than 2 million barrels of oil per day. Current throughput averages just under 700,000 barrels per day.
Advising manufacturing clients on greenhouse gas reporting rules.
Many commercial and industrial facilities are now required to track and report their greenhouse gas emissions to state and federal agencies.

Defense of Enforcement Actions

Defended a major oil company in an enforcement action in California involving allegations of failure to comply with air quality regulations.
Negotiated settlement that was mutually agreeable to the client and the agency.
Assisted an aircraft painting company in responding  to a formal inquiry by EPA regarding compliance with new source review requirements, as well as technology standards, recordkeeping, and reporting requirements.
EPA information requests often are the first step in formal enforcement actions, but if handled well they can resolve agency concerns and bring the matter to a close.

Development of New Standards

Represented an industry coalition during the development of Alaska’s air operating permit program, as well as the overhaul of Alaska’s construction permitting rules.
By knowing the rules inside and out, we are better able to help our clients.
Represented oil pipeline company in the development and implementation of several air toxics (MACT) technology standards.
Resulted in more than $100 million in capital investments in client’s facilities.
Assisted a client in obtaining critical revisions to Washington State incinerator rules that allowed our client to comply with regulations that were otherwise intractable.
Successfully persuaded EPA that the revisions were not less stringent than the previous rule, so that the revisions could be incorporated into the federally approved State Implementation Plan and become federally enforceable.

Climate Change

Representing an independent power developer building the first ever integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) project in the U.S. to use carbon capture and sequestration. Advice on federal Dept. of Energy grant application and federal tax credit application, Clean Air Act greenhouse gas regulation, federal carbon sequestration policy, and NEPA compliance.
The project, to be built near Odessa, Texas, has been awarded $350 million in federal grants and is planned to start construction in 2010. The plant will integrate proven carbon capture and gasification technologies designed to achieve a 90% carbon capture, the highest ever proposed.
Negotiated a carbon emissions mitigation agreement with a company desiring to locate a large fossil fuel fired power plant in Northwestern Washington.
For several years, Washington law has required mitigation for carbon dioxide emissions from major new electric power plants.
Representing a timberland owner on development of California’s protocol for forestry-based emission offsets, and on the emission offsets provisions on pending federal legislation.
Emission offset markets have the potential to offer significant economic opportunities to companies with carbon sequestration resources and to provide alternatives for companies needing emissions offsets.
Representing the largest private composter in the U.S., processing over one million pounds of biomass per day, and serving over two million customers.
Company is building commercial methane digesters to capture methane and generate electricity from biomass to sell back to the grid.

Litigation

Represented regional air authority in successful defense of a Title V air operating permit issued to Washington State’s only coal-fired power plant. Permit was challenged by environmental plaintiffs on the grounds that it fails to include limits on carbon dioxide and mercury emissions. They also sought more stringent nitrogen oxide limit for the plant. Appeal was heard by Washington's Pollution Control Hearings Board, which upheld permit on summary judgment.
Appellants sought a ruling that the air authority was obligated to develop emission limits based on a general nuisance standard, in advance of pending regulatory action on both mercury and carbon dioxide emissions at the federal and state level. The Board ruled that an air operating permit is a collection of existing applicable requirements, and that the Air Authority did not have the power to establish new emission limits when issuing an air operating permit. Appellants also argued that new limits should be established under the State RACT standard. The Board ruled that permitting agencies are not required to update its RACT determination for a source when it issues an operating permit, and that the requirements that exist at the time the permit is issued are RACT for purposes of the operating permit program.

Svend A. Brandt-Erichsen Practice Head

Svend A. Brandt-Erichsen
Svend Brandt-Erichsen has been an environmental lawyer for 25 years, with 20 years in private practice. His practice is focused on the development and ongoing operation of energy and natural resource projects.

Bradley M. Marten

Bradley M. Marten

Brad Marten is the Managing Partner of Marten Law. He is consistently ranked by his peers as one of the nation’s top environmental lawyers. Brad is the Immediate Past President of the American College of Environmental Lawyers. More »

Kevin T. Haroff

Kevin Haroff

Kevin Haroff is the managing partner of the firm’s San Francisco office. He has represented businesses, individuals, and governmental entities in civil litigation and regulatory matters for more than 25 years. More »

Brian K. Ferrasci-O’Malley

Brian Ferrasci-O’Malley

Brian Ferrasci-O'Malley's practice focuses on environmental and natural resource litigation, permitting, and review. He assists clients in cases arising under CERCLA, MTCA, the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act, and the Endangered Species Act. More »

Alyeska Pipeline Service Company: Permitting and Electric Power Agreements

We are counsel to Alyeska Pipeline Service Company on air, water, and waste issues. We handle permit appeals, regulatory interpretation, agency negotiations, and support for negotiations; assist with permitting of new and modified facilities; negotiate electric power agreements; and provide antitrust counseling. More »

Green Diamond Resource Company: Climate Change Protocols and Provisions

We have counseled Green Diamond, one the largest timberland owners in California, on development of California’s protocol for forestry-based emission offsets, and on emission offsets provisions in pending federal legislation. More »

Regional Air Authority: Title V Operating Permit Challenge

We represented a regional air authority in the successful defense of a Title V air operating permit issued to Washington State’s only coal-fired power plant. The permit was challenged by environmental plaintiffs on the grounds that it fails to include limits on carbon dioxide and mercury emissions. They also sought a more stringent nitrogen oxide limit for the plant. More »

Summit Power Group Inc.: Dept. of Energy Grant for First Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle Project in U.S.

We assist this independent power developer, which is building the first integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) project in the U.S. to use carbon capture and sequestration. We have provided advice on a federal Dept. More »

Transportation Services Company: EPA Compliance and Reporting

We assisted an aircraft painting company in responding to a formal inquiry by EPA regarding compliance with new source review requirements, as well as technology standards, recordkeeping, and reporting requirements. More »