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Air Emissions

Spencer Fane Environmental attorneys advise leaders of manufacturing, industrial, refinery, and utility operations with major sources of emissions on compliance, permitting, and enforcement matters, easing the regulatory burden while they maintain compliant enterprises that also achieve business objectives.

We advise and represent clients in litigation nationwide on environmental laws, regulations, and liabilities, and our attorneys provide leadership in groups focused on developing sensible solutions for environmental challenges like air emissions and air quality. Our attorneys have supported NSR and PSD construction and operating permit applications for operations with the potential to emit significant air emissions.

Our attorneys support permit applications and defend administrative permit challenges for utility and industrial sources, handling the often-complex legal procedures required to permit facilities under major environmental statutes. This includes permits for projects like coal-fired electric utility power plants, industrial facility environmental control improvements, refinery expansions, landfill construction, air emissions permits, process changes, and more. These projects often include interrelated and overlapping approvals from state, federal, and local authorities under a variety of statutes and regulatory schemes.

Environmental permits will become even more important as state and federal regulators seek to restrict emissions believed to contribute to global climate change.

To that end, Spencer Fane also represents businesses in strategic planning regarding air emissions issues to help clients identify, assess, and address current environmental concerns. We evaluate all business practices and help clients implement projects that have less adverse environmental impact and a reduced carbon footprint. This can include changes in process to control or eliminate emissions — a benefit of which may eliminate the permit process. Our attorneys also guide clients on the broad scope of RMP compliance and have extensive experience in enforcement defense and emergency response, along with voluntary audit and program implementation that includes coordination with PSM.

Representative Experience

  • Represented clients in multiple industries including manufacturing, electric utilities, landfills, and refineries, regarding Title V air permit applications, new source review issues, and PSD determinations.
  • Served as lead counsel for major utility in permitting a new 900 MW coal-fired electric generating unit (EGU) and retrofitting environmental controls on an existing EGU adjacent to the planned new EGU in Western Missouri. Significant activities included the successful negotiation of all environmental permits and certifications necessary to construct the new EGU and retrofit the existing EGU, including a PSD permit, a Section 10 Rivers and Harbors Act certification, a Section 401 CWA certification, a Section 404 CWA permit, and approval of an Environmental impact Assessment in lieu of an Environmental Impact Statement. Also successfully defended an appeal by the Sierra Club and a local citizen’s group challenging the PSD construction permit for the new EGU.
  • Served as lead counsel for a Kansas refinery in successfully defending a Clean Air Act enforcement action brought by the US Department of Justice alleging the installation and operation of an inadequate air emissions control device for an oil-water separator.
  • Served as lead counsel for a major utility in a dispute over whether a state can impose emissions-based fees on a substituted Phase I affected unit before 1995. After responding to the state’s demand letter with a memorandum supporting the utility’s position and appearing before the State Air Conservation Commission to object to the state’s demand, the state elected not to pursue the fees.
  • Served as lead counsel in successful appeal of October 1998 NOx SIP Call final rule on behalf of a consortium of six Western Missouri utilities. Although the court ruled in favor of the EPA as the rule applied to all but 17 of the 22 affected states, the court rejected the rule as it applied to Western Missouri and the six Western Missouri utilities we represented.