J. Barton Seitz

Partner

bart.seitz@bakerbotts.com

Washington

P: +1.202.639.7895 F: +1.202.585.1046
J. Barton Seitz Photo

Bart Seitz handles a wide range of environmental, health and safety matters, including regulatory counseling, complex litigation and transactions. He has particular experience in advising corporate and public sector clients regarding complex regulatory compliance and enforcement issues arising under the major federal environmental, health and safety statutes, including the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), the Clean Water Act, the federal Occupational Safety and Health Act, the Clean Air Act, the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), the Safe Drinking Water Act and the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act.

With respect to environmental counseling, Mr. Seitz regularly advises clients regarding the myriad regulatory and permitting issues associated with hazardous waste generation, treatment, storage and disposal; the corrective action requirements for hazardous waste facilities and underground storage tanks; wastewater discharges from various types of industrial operations; and the manufacture and import/export of chemical substances. Much of this work has involved analysis of regulatory matters confronting the owners and operators of oil and gas exploration and production facilities, pipelines, refineries, petrochemical facilities, industrial and consumer product manufacturing plants and electric generating facilities.

As part of his regulatory practice, Mr. Seitz also provides clients with significant assistance and advice regarding specific health and safety regulatory compliance and enforcement matters involving the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration's general industry standards for Process Safety Management (PSM), Hazard Communication, and Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Action Plans, among others. Through this work, he has assisted clients with assessing their compliance with particular OSHA standards, worked with OSHA experts to develop improved compliance programs for individual facilities, participated in detailed assessments of various corporations' PSM compliance and performance, and defended clients in OSHA enforcement proceedings. In related efforts, Mr. Seitz has provided substantive advice on and performed numerous environmental, health and safety audits, and has assisted clients with establishing effective corporate environmental, health and safety management systems,, including systems that conform to applicable international consensus standards such as ISO 14001 and OHSAS 18001.

In addition to his regulatory counseling experience, Mr. Seitz represents clients in high-stakes environmental litigation and toxic tort cases in both state and federal court, including environmental cost recovery and contribution actions under the federal Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) law and state analogs, leaking underground storage tank cases and actions by federal and state agencies to enforce environmental requirements.

A significant portion of Mr. Seitz's litigation experience has involved complex environmental cleanup matters. This work has ranged from defending clients against federal/state claims alleging property damage and personal injury due to the impacts of hazardous substances such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), lead, pesticides and numerous industrial chemicals, to assisting companies regarding "liability transfer" projects and contractual allocation disputes involving contaminated sites. He also has provided counsel on the rigorous environmental investigation and cleanup requirements for contaminated PCB and RCRA hazardous waste sites, and various other impacted properties under TSCA, RCRA, CERCLA and numerous voluntary cleanup programs in numerous states, including Ohio, Virginia, Maryland, the District of Columbia, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Texas.

Related Experience

  • International consumer products company – defended a multi-million-dollar Clean Water Act enforcement action by the U.S. Justice Department in which the government sought to require that the client pay for the cleanup of contaminated river sediments, ultimately resulting in a settlement for less than 10 percent of the government’s initial claim
  • Former owner of a cast iron foundry – defended the former foundry owner in a multi-million dollar PCB and lead contamination suit alleging that our client’s foundry operations and disposal activities had impacted various residential properties, parks and downstream waterways. The federal district court dismissed all of the plaintiffs’ claims on summary judgment in a landmark CERCLA decision, which was affirmed by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
  • Petroleum refiner - advised and defended client in responding to OSHA actions in a workplace injury investigation and enforcement proceeding
  • U.S. mining company – defended a major domestic mining company in litigation to resolve multi-billion dollar environmental cost recovery and natural resource damage claims by federal/state governments in federal bankruptcy court, received a favorable settlement for the client
  • International manufacturer - provided legal advice and assistance throughout the multi-year process of preparing, documenting and implementing the client’s environmental, health and safety management system at two U.S. domestic facilities, including obtaining third-party registration
  • Regional water and sewer authority – defended this client against personal injury and medical monitoring claims based on alleged exposure to noxious fumes and improperly treated wastewater, by achieving dismissal of the plaintiffs’ claims in federal district court
  • Major manufacturing concern – defended the company against tort and contract claims alleging that its wastewater discharges had damaged the local sewer collection and treatment system. This case was settled prior to trial on favorable terms
  • International telecommunications tower company - advised the client with respect to preparing for OSHA inspections and developing an effective worker health and safety program
  • Oil and natural gas services firm – provide ongoing advice and regulatory counseling on various aspects of emerging legislative and regulatory requirements for hydraulic fracturing and related oil and gas development matters
  • Privately held company – advised and assisted with the sale of natural gas gathering facilities, processing plants, compressor stations and associated pipeline assets in Oklahoma, Texas and Arkansas
  • Numerous manufacturing and energy sector clients - prepared and submitted voluntary written disclosures of environmental regulatory violations pursuant to federal and state environmental audit programs, and negotiated favorable settlements under which the clients were assessed either no penalties whatsoever, or substantially reduced penalties
  • Northeastern U.S. pipeline company– provided legal advice and regulatory assistance for the relevant environmental requirements for a major pipeline expansion project in New York, including water quality certification/conditions, stormwater permitting/management, environmental restoration and related matters
  • International petroleum pipeline project – provided advice and assistance in the drafting of a comprehensive set of national environmental regulatory decrees to govern the construction and operation of a 660-mile long oil pipeline
  • Several energy company clients – conduct analysis of federal/state environmental reviews, wetlands jurisdiction and permitting issues and other environmental permit requirements and related governmental reviews/approvals for major new pipeline projects
  • International metal poles and products manufacturer – provide advice on a wide range of complex, sophisticated regulatory issues involving the interpretation of RCRA requirements for the generation, treatment, storage and/or disposal of hazardous waste
  • U.S. specialty chemicals manufacturer – supply regulatory counseling on obligations under applicable OSHA standards; assistance with a PSM audit and development of appropriate corrective measures

Awards & Community

Recognized as a Washington D.C. Super Lawyer, 2014, 2015 & 2017

Board Member, Editorial Advisory Board for Environmental Claims Journal, 2011-2015

News

Publications, Speeches & Presentations

Events

Recent

A Fresh Look at Superfund

Baker Botts will be hosting a half-day Superfund seminar and cocktail reception in our Dallas office on September 19th .