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Experience List
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Davis Wright Tremaine’s petroleum industry team is unique. We have worked in the industry—and in the government entities that regulate it. We are former scientists, engineers, consultants and government officials who “get the science” and understand your industry from the inside out.

Our areas of expertise include regulatory and compliance advice, rate cases and other matters for regulated oil pipelines, cleanup counseling, corporate and real property transactions, litigation, and civil and criminal enforcement actions.

We help our oil industry clients proactively comply with federal, state, and local regulatory requirements, properly permit facilities, and minimize risk. Our technical and industry experience helps us anticipate our clients’ needs as operations and requirements change. When claims arise, we promptly evaluate them to determine if a vigorous defense is warranted; and we look for creative and cost-effective resolutions when settlement is the best option. We have the expertise to defend both civil and white-collar criminal investigations with special expertise in defending criminal environmental matters.

We frequently represent Fortune 500 oil companies in matters involving:

Environmental regulatory and compliance advice

  • Asbestos
  • Clean Air Act
  • Clean Water Act
  • National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES)
  • Oil Pollution Act
  • Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA)
  • Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA)
  • Department of Transportation (DOT) requirements
  • Endangered Species Act
  • Environmental audits
  • Environmental impact statements
  • Environmental site assessments and allocation of risk in transactions
  • Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA)
  • Groundwater contamination
  • Hazardous waste compliance
  • Natural resources and water rights
  • Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) , civil and criminal
  • Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure (SPCC)
  • Storm water
  • State and federal Superfund site management (including cleanups and litigation in Alaska, California, Oregon, and Washington)
  • Title V
  • Underground storage tank issues
  • Wetlands

Other regulatory and compliance advice

  • Climate change
  • Energy facility siting, licensing and certification
  • Federal petroleum pricing regulations
  • Federal Power Act (FPA)
  • Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA)
  • Fuel Use Act
  • Public Utility Holding Company Acts of 1935 and 2005 (PUHCA)
  • State and federal laws and regulations regarding the regulation and rate authority for oil pipelines
  • Zoning

Corporate and business transactions

  • Business transactions involving contaminated properties
  • Energy project development and financing
  • Energy marketing and transmission services
  • Fuel supply, transportation and natural gas and oil pipeline contracts and regulation
  • Legislative counseling
  • Mergers, acquisitions, dispositions and intracompany transfers
  • National and international project development and financing
  • Real property transactions (from simple land sales and acquisitions to complex mergers)
  • Agreements for production, transportation and marketing of crude oil, refined products and natural gas
  • Tax credits and financial advice regarding environmental expenses


Labor and employment counseling and litigation


  • Administrative hearings (federal, state and local levels)
  • Civil claims and enforcement actions
  • Citizen suits
  • Criminal defense, including environmental and Hazardous Liquid Pipeline Safety Act enforcement
  • Cleanup cost recovery litigation (statutory and tort)
  • Defense of claims involving area-wide contamination in a number of jurisdictions
  • Energy-related litigation, including antitrust issues
  • Environmental and engineering malpractice liability
  • Insurance coverage for environmental claims
  • Litigation and dispute resolution (federal, state and local levels)
  • Natural resource damage claims
  • Oil spill and response litigation
  • Rate and other regulatory proceedings before state regulatory commissions and FERC