The Law Office of
David J. Tuckfield, P.C.

Environmental Background

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David has worked extensively on a broad range of environmental matters facing developers, industrial clients, and commercial clients. The breadth of David's practice is illustrated by the fact that clients have asked him to temporarily take over in-house duties for two separate clients on different occasions during extended periods when those posts were vacant. In one instance, David assumed the role of in-house environmental counsel at a high-tech manufacturing facility, and in another instance he assumed the responsibilities of an environmental manager at a large chemical facility. In filling those roles, and during his seventeen years of practicing environmental law at one of the largest international law firms, David worked on all aspects of environmental permitting, contested case hearings, enforcement cases, criminal investigations, Environmental Impact Statements, and compliance issues that arise at plants or facilities on a daily basis. He has assisted clients in contesting rules, commenting upon rules, fighting enforcement actions, negotiating with state and federal agencies, and in undertaking due diligence in connection with a transaction or a stock issuance. His practice is not limited to administrative matters, however, as he has represented several clients in court defending against individual toxic tort lawsuits, products liability suits, contract disputes, and class actions. He has also assisted in developing and implementing compliance programs, claims programs, organizing vast amounts of environmental data, and working with companies as they deal not only with environmental compliance issues, but public perception issues and the politics that almost always accompany environmental matters. The following identifies some of the environmental projects upon which David has worked.
Environmental counseling

  • Worked with a chemical manufacturer to prepare and submit PSD (air) permit applications
  • Worked directly with a major chemical company to assist with various compliance issues at one of the plants during a time that there was no environmental manager at the plant; work included assisting in the preparation of a Prevention of Significant Deterioration Air Permit, Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA)-mandated training, RCRA permit renewals, and compliance issues that arose on a daily basis
  • Assisted a major U.S. airline in developing and implementing a training program for its employees
  • Assumed the responsibilities of in-house counsel for a major semiconductor manufacturing company while the corporate counsel was out on maternity leave; duties included responding to daily corporate legal needs, coordinating and overseeing outside counsel, drafting contracts, and assisting with public relations and community relations issues
  • Worked on administrative issues relating to the construction of a 210-mile circumferential highway project surrounding the City of Houston; work on the project involved negotiations with the Texas Department of Transportation to minimize delays
  • Negotiated waste disposal and recycling contracts on behalf of a high-tech computer chip manufacturer
  • Advised a high-tech computer chip manufacturer on Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) compliance issues associated with the import, manufacturing, and processing of chemicals
  • Negotiated an non-disclosure agreement with the Environmental Protection Agency on behalf of a high-tech computer chip manufacturer
  • Assisted a large communications company to collect and manage environmental information associated with numerous radio station properties throughout the U.S.
  • Advised a large computer manufacturer on actions to be taken with respect to various state disclosure laws
  • Advised a large computer hardware manufacturer on potential recycling programs
  • Negotiated with the TCEQ on behalf of a maquiladora to extend waste import authorization
  • Updated a manual discussing environmental issues associated with golf course management
  • Assisted several developers to work through the Texas Voluntary Clean-up Program to eliminate liability for past contamination at a site
  • Advised a large government laboratory of regulatory issues associated with the Corrective Action Program in-place at the laboratory; work included assistance with technical and legal documents required to be submitted to environmental agencies
  • Advised a large water company on the purchase and transfer of water rights in New Mexico
Environmental rulemaking issues
  • Reviewed and submitted comments upon global environmental rules proposed by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on behalf of a natural gas pipeline industry group
  • Successfully convince the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to withdraw rules proposing to list a plant species that had been identified as a candidate for listing as a threatened species pursuant to the Endangered Species Act
Environmental cost recovery litigation
  • Represented a former owner of a refinery in a lawsuit brought by the State of Texas seeking penalties and remediation costs for past contamination of a refinery
  • Successfully negotiated several settlements the TCEQ and the Environmental Protection Agency for cost recovery actions stemming from superfund sites in Texas
  • Successfully defended a national airline against efforts to recover costs associated with alleged contamination at Los Angeles International Airport
  • Negotiated a settlement with the City and County of San Francisco on behalf of a major airline for alleged contamination at the San Francisco International Airport
Environmental enforcement defense
  • Assisted a large chemical manufacture in defending against alleged PSD (air) violations
  • Defended a recycling company against alleged air violations
  • Worked a major chemical plant in responding to an investigation by the National Enforcement Investigations Center (NEIC), the investigative arm of the Environmental Protection Agency, by developing a long-term compliance strategy and ensuring compliance for all areas of operation; participated in negotiations for unresolved compliance issues, prepared responses to issues raised by the NEIC, EPA, and the state environmental agency
  • Assisted in both the federal and state defense of a major government laboratory against alleged violations of waste handling laws and regulations
  • Negotiated on behalf of a major airline an Agreed Order for alleged waste violations at an international airport
  • Defended a large environmental consulting firm against a cost-recovery audit of bills submitted to the state
  • Assisted a large chemical manufacture in defending against allegations stemming from a multiple-plant, multi-media investigation
Environmental litigation
  • Represented a major U.S. airline in resolving alleged federal Clean Air Act violations associated with ground service equipment and in resolving alleged state violations of hazardous waste laws
  • Worked with a client in Puerto Rico to convince the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service not to list a plant species that had been identified as a candidate for listing as a threatened species pursuant to the Endangered Species Act
  • On behalf of a water supplier, successfully opposed the issuance of a temporary order by the TCEQ that would have allowed a discharge into our client's water supply
  • Represented a major developer and business group in a successful effort to keep a waste company from obtaining a state permit to build a municipal solid waste facility; coordinated several protestant attorneys to avoid duplication of effort; case concluded with the agency ordering a withdrawal of the application and the applicant reimbursing the Protestants for some of the costs incurred
  • Assisted in handling one of the few contested cases tried under the TCEQ's Complex Hearing Rules; action involved a dozen parties, including state and international elected officials opposing the issuance of a permit for a new hazardous waste management facility
  • Assisted in the representation of a client in a contested case proceeding that successfully renewed a controversial wastewaterpermit for a sludge management facility near Galveston, Texas
  • Successfully opposed the expansion of a industrial waste landfill on behalf of a local environmental organization; the applicant withdrew the application with prejudice
  • Advised a radioactive waste disposal company as they sought to obtain the necessary licenses and permits to construct a low-level radioactive waste management facility in Texas
  • Represented a public utility district before the State Office of Administrative Hearings to obtain standby fees
Toxic tort litigation
  • Defended a high-tech computer chip manufacturer in a lawsuit where plaintiffs alleged damage to reproductive system and tumorous growths as a result of alleged harmful exposure to a hazardous substance
  • Defended against a toxic tort lawsuit brought by dozens of plaintiffs for alleged harm arising from a superfund site in San Antonio
Criminal environmental law
  • Assisted in the defense of a government lab against criminal allegations of hazardous waste laws
  • Assisted a major U.S. airline in responding to a criminal subpoena issued by the U.S. Attorney's Office dealing with hazardous waste
Endangered species work
  • Negotiated with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to enter into a enter into a conservation agreement with a water authority to give our client flexibility with respect to a listed endangered species Endangered Species Act
  • Worked with a client in Puerto Rico to convince the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service not to list a plant species that had been identified as a candidate for listing as a threatened species pursuant to the Endangered Species Act
  • Assisted a utility company in negotiating a settlement of ESA issues raised by landowners who objected to the construction of an electric power line across their property; the landowners threatened ESA litigation, saying that the project jeopardized the Attwater prairie chicken; with our assistance, the client convinced the landowners that such a suit would be futile
  • Advised a large environmental organization on the ability to import an endangered bird (the yellow headed) to the U.S. to fund creation of a habitat for that bird in Mexico
  • Advised a major West Coast city and county on the applicability of the Endangered Species Act and procedures to follow on a federal project that could impact the winter-run chinook, the delta smelt, and the Sacramento spittzil
  • Assisted in settling an enforcement action against a major pipeline company for alleged "takings" of gopher tortoise's and eastern indigo snakes
  • Advised two South Texas counties on the legal impacts and options concerning the clearing of vegetation in a flood control project where there were known to be ocelots and jaguarundis