Derek R. McDonald



P: +1.512.322.2667 F: +1.512.322.8342
Derek McDonald Photo

Derek McDonald practices in the areas of environmental law and litigation, concentrating on air quality matters and development of high-profile projects.  He frequently handles cases before the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, the Texas State Office of Administrative Hearings, the Railroad Commission of Texas and other federal and state environmental agencies, including proceedings on air quality, water quality, municipal, hazardous and radioactive waste and endangered species. Mr. McDonald’s litigation experience includes representing energy clients in complex environmental litigation in Texas state and federal courts.

Related Experience

  • Liquefied natural gas export terminal - representation of LNG company in first evidentiary hearing before the State Office of Administrative Hearings and Texas Commission on Environmental Quality for the issuance of State air quality and Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) permit for an LNG export terminal in Texas
  • Industry association – representation of Texas industry association in connection with challenge to and conservation planning for proposed listing of the Dunes Sagebrush Lizard whose habitat includes the Permian Basin as endangered under the federal Endangered Species Act
  • Wholesale power generation companies – representation of wholesale power generation companies in administrative and judicial litigation before the State Office of Administrative Hearings, Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, and state court in successful issuance and affirmance of State air quality, Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD), and case-by-case Maximum Achievable Control Technology (MACT) permits for two new supercritical pulverized coal-fired electric generating units in Texas. Representation also included contested case hearing on TPDES permit and authorization of new landfill for coal combustion residuals.
  • Wholesale power generation company – representation of operator of coal-fired power plant in defense of citizen suit brought by environmental association under federal Clean Air Act
  • Construction company - Representation of a concrete recycler before SOAH, TCEQ and Texas state courts in permitting of new rock crusher protested by the City of Houston and Harris County
  • Major land developer – representation of applicant in a contested case hearing for a TCEQ waste water permit seeking authorization for land disposal of treated effluent on golf course property, securing the first-ever summary disposition of an application protest
  • Energy company – representation of an energy company in the assessment of a vast parcel of land in the Middle East that was claimed to have been impacted by oilfield operations in international arbitration before the ICC International Court of Arbitration, including work with technical experts to develop an auditing and sampling program that allowed for the assessment of any environmental impact to air, soil, groundwater, flora and fauna by petroleum constituents and the identification of appropriate remediation standards and guidelines in the Middle East
  • Energy company – representation of an energy company in the negotiation of environmental terms of a production sharing agreement for oilfield operations in a Middle Eastern country
  • Oilfield service company – representation of oilfield service company in contested case hearing before the Railroad Commission of Texas in permitting of protested oilfield pits
  • Worldwide industrial gas provider – representation of gas supplier in contested case hearing before the Railroad Commission of Texas on approval of underground gas storage cavern
  • Major mining company – assistance in representing a major mining company in the assessment and adjudication of over $11 billion in environmental contamination claims in the United States and Canada
  • Municipal utility – representation of applicant in a contested case hearing resulting in issuance of a PSD air permit for the first new coal-fired generating unit to be built in Texas in more than fifteen years
  • Major chemical company – representation of chemical company in complaint proceedings before the Railroad Commission of Texas relating to underground brine mining and storage caverns
  • Large manufacturing company – negotiation of the settlement of federal and state claims for response actions and natural resource damages arising as a result of the discharge of hazardous substances into a Texas bay
  • Petroleum refiner – representation of applicant for a PSD quality permit to authorize the continued operation and expansion of a fluid catalytic cracking unit (FCCU) at one of the largest petroleum refineries in Texas
  • Oilfield service company – defense in the litigation of a personal injury and property damage tort action arising as a result of allegedly improper oilfield activities in New Mexico
  • Waste management company – representation of the seller of a commercial hazardous waste complex in Port Arthur, Texas, that involved complex environmental permitting and real estate issues, including the first-ever split and separation of a hazardous waste disposal permit and a tender of performance under purchase agreement

Awards & Community

Listed in Chambers USA, 2004-2018 and The Best Lawyers in America (Woodward White, Inc.), 2006-2018

Recognized as a Texas Super Lawyer-Rising Star (Thomson Reuters), 2004 and as a Texas Super Lawyer (Thomson Reuters), 2004 & 2010-2016

Recognized in The International Who's Who of Environment Lawyers (Law Business Research Ltd), 2011

Recognized by Who's Who Legal:Texas (Law Business Research Ltd), 2007

Recognized as Austin Business Journal's "Best of Business Attorneys-Environmental," 2006


Publications, Speeches & Presentations