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Timothy A. Wilkins
Partner
P: +1.512.542.2134
F: +1.512.479.3934
P: +1.713.221.1136

Angela Trafton

+1.512.494.3666

Tim Wilkins is a partner in Bracewell's Environmental Strategies Group, described by Chambers USA as “a very astute lawyer, liked for his quickness and thorough responses” (2007) and having  “great business acumen and amazing negotiation skills” (2009). Tim represents large companies that rely on him for strategic environmental permitting assistance, the defense of environmental enforcement actions, and assistance with the environmental aspects of major transactions. He is a nationally-recognized leader in environmental auditing, having overseen environmental compliance audits involving thousands of locations, handled hundreds of environmental audit disclosures, and pioneered the development and use of U.S. EPA's audit policy for new owners. His work in recent years has included helping clients successfully obtain permit authorization from U.S. EPA for greenhouse gas emissions from ten new chemical, energy, and power industry projects. Clients also note in Chambers USA that Tim is “fantastic, detailed and very strong with management systems” as well as capable of delivering “practical, cost-effective solutions for his clients” (2011). 

Tim served for nearly a decade as the head of Bracewell’s firm-wide Environmental and Natural Resources practice group and for six years as Managing Partner of the firm’s Austin office.  In addition to his duties at Bracewell, Tim periodically teaches the course in Corporate Environmental Law at The University of Texas School of Law. Before joining Bracewell, Tim was research assistant to Professor Laurence H. Tribe of Harvard Law School, Editor-in-Chief of the Harvard Environmental Law Review, and a judicial clerk for the Honorable Henry A. Politz, Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.

Representative Matters

Enforcement Defense
Assisting a major chemical company in its defense against a series of EPA Risk Management Plan inspections, information requests, and enforcement actions.

Defending a large chemical manufacturing facility against an EPA hazardous waste enforcement action under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act.

Defending a chemical manufacturer against a TCEQ Clean Air Act enforcement action arising from an unanticipated air emissions event.

Defending a chemical manufacturing facility in connection with a Notice of Violation and potential civil enforcement action commenced by Harris County Pollution Control relating to an air emissions event.

Assisting a petroleum refiner in its response to an EPA information request under the Clean Air Act and other federal environmental statutes.

Secured the dismissal of all charges against a Houston-area company that had been indicted on three counts of felony water pollution.

Defended a major terminal owner in connection with a stormwater discharge incident that had been referred for criminal prosecution, achieving its successful de-referral.

Handling significant multi-site wetlands enforcement matters opposite U.S. EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers for two large energy companies.

Defended a terminal company against an EPA Clean Air Act civil enforcement action involving extensive EPA FLIR camera inspections into storage tank and flare emissions issues.

Defending a downgradient industrial property owner in litigation at the Omega Chemical Superfund Site in Los Angeles.

Environmental Auditing
Assisting a major midstream energy company in connection with environmental compliance audits and audit disclosures associated with a number of recently-acquired facilities.

Representing a chemical manufacturing company in connection with a privileged review and evaluation of its EHS compliance programs.

Assisting a large independent oil and gas company with the review, evaluation, and updating of its full suite of Clean Air Act compliance programs.

Overseeing compliance audits and audit disclosures under EPA's new owner audit program with respect to midstream energy assets acquired in two recent multi-billion dollar acquisitions.

Completed an environmental compliance audit and audit disclosure involving approximately 1,500 upstream and midstream oil and gas facilities under EPA's new owner audit program following a $12 billion acquisition, resolving the disclosed audit findings without penalty.

Negotiated with EPA headquarters a corporate auditing agreement under EPA's new owner audit policy, oversaw compliance audits of dozens of acquired locations, and prepared environmental audit disclosures in connection with the merger of two major industrial construction companies with a combined value of $9 billion. This effort resulted in complete penalty relief for all audit-identified and disclosed violations.

Transactions
Assisted a private equity firm in its acquisitions and financings with respect to gas-fired power plants in locations around the country.

Represented a major natural gas company on the environmental aspects of several divestitures, principally of midstream assets, totaling $3.6 billion.

Represented a private equity firm on the environmental aspects of an acquisition of six power plants including one location that is part of a federal Superfund site.

Represented an electric utility company on the environmental aspects of the divestiture of district energy facilities supplying heat and comfort cooling to area buildings.

Handled the environmental aspects of a $2.85 billion acquisition by Apache Corporation of Oklahoma and Texas operations in the Anadarko basin that use hydraulic fracturing to produce oil and natural gas.

Represented a major integrated petroleum company in connection with the environmental aspects of its securities filings and on the allocation of cleanup liabilities associated with a corporate spinoff and initial public offering.

Advised a large independent energy company on the environmental aspects of a major upstream and midstream oil and gas acquisition involving a major oil company's assets in Alaska's Cook Inlet.

Represented the agent bank on the environmental aspects of a financing for a newly-formed master limited partnership secured by significant petroleum terminal, pipeline, and other assets.

Represented the agent bank on the environmental aspects of a billion-dollar secured term loan for the acquisition of a publicly-traded oil and gas exploration and production company.

Handled the environmental aspects of the financing of a $3 billion, 680-mile interstate natural gas pipeline through four western states.

Advised on the environmental aspects of numerous acquisitions, divestitures and financing transactions in the energy, refining, electric power, chemicals, telecommunications, real estate, waste handling and municipal sectors.

Air Quality and Permitting
Assisted an international chemical manufacturer in obtaining its air and greenhouse gas permits for a $2 billion greenfield manufacturing facility located in Corpus Christi, including the successful and innovative resolution of contested case hearing challenges to the facility’s proposed permits.

Represented a power project developer before the Environmental Appeals Board opposite a national non-governmental organization with respect to a federal Prevention of Significant Deterioration permit issued by U.S. EPA for greenhouse gas emissions from a South Texas gas-fired power plant project.

Assisted an industrial gases company in obtaining a federal PSD permit for greenhouse gas emissions from U.S. EPA for a Houston-area cogeneration facility. This effort included successful extensive negotiations with a national non-governmental organization.

Assisted a chemical manufacturer in obtaining a federal PSD permit for greenhouse gas emissions from a proposed Houston-area propylene manufacturing facility under the Clean Air Act and U.S. EPA's Tailoring Rule.

Assisted an independent power generation company in obtaining two federal PSD permits for GHG emissions from proposed gas-fired power generating stations under the Clean Air Act and U.S. EPA's Tailoring Rule.

Assisted a midstream energy company in obtaining federal PSD permits for GHG emissions from proposed gas processing and fractionating facilities under the Clean Air Act and U.S. EPA's Tailoring Rule.

Represented a Texas-based specialty chemicals manufacturer in connection with Clean Air Act Title V permitting and aggregation issues.

Successfully represented an industrial gases manufacturer in an agency inquiry on the aggregation of emissions from co-located facilities in connection with an air permit amendment.

Assisted a major chemical manufacturing facility with the reorganization and reissuance of its major air emissions permits to better facilitate compliance and development activities, as well as corporate financing and transactional opportunities.

Assisting a major midstream energy services company with policy and regulatory issues relating to U.S. EPA's proposed revisions to Clean Air Act New Source Performance Standards and National Emissions Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants.

Other Representative Matters
Defending a large independent oil and gas company in ongoing environmental litigation by the landowner alleging lease violations associated with several reserve pit closures.

Secured Texas Commission on Environmental Quality non-permit authorizations for wastewater impoundments at a new gas-fired power plant.

Prepared a Data Quality Act challenge to an Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry Health Consultation relating to a major natural gas producer's upstream operations.

Advised a major consumer products manufacturer in connection with pesticide-related wastewater permitting and enforcement activities.

Assisting a major midstream energy services company in Texas Railroad Commission proceedings relating to environmental remediation and reporting issues.

Successfully represented a large industrial construction company in overturning a "poor" compliance history score issued by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.

Publications and Speeches

Presenter, “Recent Environmental Enforcement Trends in the Energy Industry,” Association of Corporate Counsel South Central Texas Chapter's Oil & Gas Law Lunch and Learn, San Antonio, April 28, 2016.

Author, “A Regulator’s Reach Exceeds its Grasp: The Quiet Expansion of the TCEQ’s Water Code Jurisdiction,” Texas Environmental Law Journal, Vol. 46, No. 1, March 2016.

"Key Environmental Enforcement Trends for the Energy Industry," Texas Oil and Gas Association, Austin, Texas, April 14, 2016.

Presenter, “EPA’s ‘Next Generation’ Enforcement Initiative – and What it Means for the Next Generation of Environmental Auditing,” The Auditing Roundtable’s 2016 National Meeting, Tempe, AZ, April 11, 2016.

“Next Generation Enforcement and Its Implications for Auditing,” The Auditing Roundtable’s South Central Regional Meeting, Houston, February 29, 2016.

“EPA’s Next Generation Compliance Initiative,” Bracewell Environmental Law Seminar, Fall 2015.

 “EPA’s Next Generation Enforcement Initiative: What It Means for the Next Generation of Environmental Auditing,” Auditing Roundtable Webinar, October 7, 2015.

Co-author, “Methane Emissions: EPA Hits Oil and Gas Industry with a Flurry of Proposed Methane Regulations,” Oil & Gas Financial Journal, October 2015.

Co-author, “Disclosure 2.0: Enter EPA’s E-Disclosure Audit Program,” Law 360, June 16, 2015.

“Audit Disclosure How-To’s,” Auditing Roundtable South Central Region Meeting, April 10, 2015.

Co-author, "Under Attack: How to Protect Your Power Generation Project Against Environmental Group Opposition," Power Engineering, November 25, 2014.

"Attorney-Client Privilege in OSHA Compliance Self-Audits," Corporate Counsel, August 2014.

Co-author, "Texas Railroad Commission Proposes Regulation to Address Earthquake Risks from Disposal Wells," Oil and Gas Investor, Sept. 18, 2014.

Co-author, "First Texas GHG Permit Upheld by EPA Appeals Board," Electric Light & Power, May 13, 2014.

Co-author, "Texas Greenhouse Gas Regulations Go into Effect," Electric Light & Power, April 24, 2014.

"EPA's Texas Greenhouse Gas PSD Permitting Program," Air & Waste Management Association Conference, Houston, Texas, Sept. 18, 2013.

"Environmental Law Update," The Auditing Roundtable, South Central Region meetings, August 3, 2015, April 10, 2015, August 6, 2014, March 28, 2014, July 31, 2013.

"Managing Environmental Risk in Transactions," 24th Texas Environmental Superconference, Austin, Texas, August 3, 2012.

Co-author, "Don't Dump Your Money Down a Well," Law360, May 5, 2011.

"Legal Issues for EHS Auditors," The Auditing Roundtable Auditor Training, Houston, Texas, November 10, 2010.

"Using EPA's 'New Owner' Audit Policy," 21st Texas Environmental Superconference, Austin, Texas, August 7, 2009.

"Environmental Compliance Auditing: Getting It Right, Now More than Ever," TCC/ACIT Environmental, Health and Safety Seminar, Galveston, Texas, June 11, 2009.

Co-author, "A New Enforcement Reality," Energy Lawyer, May 18, 2009.

"Using EPA's Audit Policy in Transactional Contexts," The Auditing Roundtable National Meeting, San Antonio, Texas, April 21, 2009.

Education

J.D., cum laude, Harvard Law School, 1993
M.P.P., Harvard University, 1993
B.A., magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, Trinity University, 1988

Bar Admissions

Texas

Court Admissions

U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

Affiliations

The Auditing Roundtable, Past Chair, South Central Region
American Bar Association, Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources
State Bar of Texas, Environmental and Natural Resources Law Section
Austin Bar Association, Environmental Law Section

Noteworthy

Chambers & Partners, Chambers USA, Environment, 2006-2015
Legalease, The Legal 500 United States, Environment: Litigation, 2011-2015; Energy: Transactions, 2014
Woodward/White, Inc., Best Lawyers, 2009, 2010 and 2012-2016
Thomson Reuters, Texas Super Lawyers, 2004, 2006-2015
Globe Business Publishing Ltd, Lexology Client Choice Awards, Environment, Texas, 2013  
Martindale-Hubbell® AV® Preeminent™ Rating