Natural Resources

Baker Botts has substantial experience assisting clients with litigation over, or the regulation of, a wide range of natural resources. In addition to our extensive practice relating to oil and gas development and renewable energy resources, we represent clients in connection with government protections for fish and wildlife and their habitat, including protections for wetlands and water bodies, under a number of federal and state statutes, including but not limited to the Endangered Species Act, the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, the Clean Water Act, the Marine Mammal Protection Act and the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act.

Our natural resource lawyers are known for their strategic and creative approaches to resolving natural resource issues. From developing innovative pre-listing conservation plans used to avoid listing of species to high-stakes U.S. Court of Appeals cases involving key precedent-setting policy issues, the firm works collaboratively with partners and stakeholders to obtain the best results for our clients.

Our lawyers have assisted clients in obtaining government approvals for impacts to natural resources associated with a number of different types of development projects, including residential and commercial developments and energy-related projects such as pipelines. We have also counseled clients in connection with the preparation of large-scale plans to authorize projects involving natural resource impacts over broad areas. In addition, we have assisted clients in commenting on and challenging a variety of rulemakings, such as the rulemaking concerning the scope of “waters of the United States” under the Clean Water Act and potential listings of species and designations of critical habitat under the Endangered Species Act.

In addressing these natural resource issues, we work closely with consultants to assess the scientific bases for government actions and to develop mitigation and conservation plans. Our work has involved us in negotiating with myriad federal agencies, including:

  • The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
  • The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
  • The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
  • The Bureau of Land Management
  • The U.S. Forest Service
  • The National Park Service

We also have considerable experience with claims for damages to natural resources under the Oil Pollution Act, the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act and state statutes. We have defended clients in connection with natural resource damage (NRD) claims asserted by federal and state trustees in a variety of contexts, ranging from claims for damages to groundwater resources from contamination at an industrial facility to claims for hundreds of millions of dollars in damages to wildlife and habitat ranging over entire watersheds. In defending these claims, we have worked closely with consultants to assess the methods used by trustees to evaluate and assign dollar values to damages to natural resources and to develop alternative frameworks for negotiation and potential resolution of these claims.

Related Pages     
 Natural Resource Damage Actions Endangered Species and Migratory Bird Treaty Acts   Wetlands



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