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Eric Groten

Eric Groten Partner, Environmental & Natural Resources

Eric is a full-service Clean Air Act practitioner. His thirty-year career has allowed him to undertake the wide array of legal work generated by state and federal air quality laws, including the defense of cases brought to enforce them, prosecution of applications for the permits they require, transaction of emission rights created by them, counseling on and auditing of compliance with them, and changing those laws and the rules that implement them.

Chambers USA described Eric as “a highly experienced air emissions lawyer, distinguished in the market by the sizable volume of contested air permitting work he undertakes.”

Experience Highlights

  • Counsel to lead petitioner organization in DC Circuit and Supreme Court judicial review proceedings challenging U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) initiatives to regulate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions under the Clean Air Act 
  • Successful contested case prosecution of air permits for various industrial sectors in Texas, including coal- and natural gas-fired power generation, chemical manufacturing, nonferrous smelting, waste disposal, and rock quarrying and crushing
  • Defended challenges to Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) permitting decisions in Travis County District Court and Texas Court of Appeals related to power plants and other industrial facilities
  • Defended enforcement actions brought by the TCEQ against many industrial sectors, including upstream, midstream, power generation, and petrochemical facilities
  • Defended citizen suit brought in Ohio federal district court against gas pipeline company, with mediated resolution 
  • Assisted client in obtaining a Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) permit for GHG emissions from EPA Region 6 for a proposed 400 MW power project in Texas
  • Defended EPCRA enforcement actions brought by EPA against a polymer manufacturer and a steel equipment fabricator
  • Defended allegations of emission limit violations brought against power company in New Mexico District Court
  • Defended claims brought by State of Ohio in State court alleging violations of nuisance prohibitions and related requirements by client’s compressor station
  • Defended citizen suit brought against a power company in U.S. District Court alleging noncompliance with MACT requirements, including Fifth Circuit appeal and Supreme Court petition for certiorari
  • Obtained issuance of PSD permit for hydrogenous fertilizer manufacturing facility in Idaho following contested case
  • Defended EPA enforcement action against oil terminal operator in California 
  • Defended EPA civil actions alleging violations of fugitive emissions and other requirements applicable to upstream and midstream operations 
  • Defended nationwide enforcement action brought by the EPA to enforce rules governing industrial use of CFCs
  • Developed permitting strategies to enable cost-effective modernization of a Pennsylvania refinery and conducted negotiations with EPA to implement same
  • Filed first notices of audit and disclosures under Texas Environmental Health and Safety Audit Privilege Act, and continued active participation in audit programs and policies
  • Developed legislation authorizing cross-border, cross-pollutant emission trading, as well as the rules to implement the legislation, and then obtained governmental approval of the first trade under those rules
  • Negotiated first-ever multiparty emissions trades with Area Emission Credit Organization in Texas
  • Developed and negotiated first-ever single property agreement approved by State of Texas
  • Negotiated EPA MACT standards for the copper smelting industry
  • Developed PM-10 SIP for an industrial area in Arizona
  • Prosecuted property tax use determination for a gas-fired power plant in Texas
  • Obtained emergency orders authorizing the reconstruction of chemical processes affected by accidental damage
  • Advised clients on risks associated with environmental issues in M&A transactions  

Contact Details

Austin

T +1.512.542.8709
M +1.512.669.3283
F +1.512.236.3272
egroten@velaw.com
2801 Via Fortuna
Suite 100
Austin, TX 78746-7568
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Eric's Practices

  • University of Texas School of Law, J.D., 1985
  • Baylor University, B.A., Chemistry and Environmental Studies, 1981
  • Admitted to practice: Arizona; Texas; Supreme Court of the United States; U.S. Courts of Appeals for the District of Columbia, Second, Fifth, and Ninth Circuits; U.S. District Courts for Texas and Arizona
  • Chambers USA, Environment (Texas), 2004–2018
  • The Best Lawyers in America© (Woodward/White, Inc.), Litigation−Environmental Law, 2006−2017
  • International Who’s Who of Business Lawyers (Law Research Business, Ltd.), Environmental Law, 2011
  • Who’s Who Legal: Texas, (Law Business Research Ltd.), Environmental Law, 2007−2011, 2016 and 2017
  • Selected to the Texas Super Lawyers list, Super Lawyers (Thomson Reuters) 2003−2017
  • Euromoney‘s Project Finance, Sandy Creek Coal Power Project Financing, “North American Single Asset Power Deal of the Year,” 2008
  • de Novo magazine, “Legal Innovator,” 2003
  • Board of Directors: Zachary Scott Theatre (President, 2005–2007); Ballet Austin, 2005–2006; Austin Lyric Opera, 2005–2006; Texas Lyceum Association, 1991–1996
  • Fellow: Texas State Bar College, 1993–present; Texas Bar Foundation, 1998–present; Austin Bar Foundation (Life Fellow)
  • Coordinating founder of TCEQ Environmental Assistance Program for pro bono defence of TCEQ enforcement cases (established 2016)
  • Coach to University of Texas School of Law National Environment Law Moot Court Team (2016-17)