Hinman, Howard & Kattell monitors new developments and emerging issues in the complex realm of energy and environmental law, both at the state and federal level. We maintain good working relationships with environmental consultants and engineers, fellow environmental attorneys, and with government officials and agencies responsible for environment, health, and safety regulation and enforcement. These relationships enable us to assist clients efficiently and effectively in responding to energy and environmental legal issues as they arise. We also proactively follow and offer feedback on proposed new regulations and legislation that may positively or negatively affect our clients.
The Hinman, Howard & Kattell Energy and Environmental Practice Group has also been actively involved in the developments in the Southern Tier of New York and the Northern Tier of Pennsylvania related to exploration and extraction of natural gas, through both fracking and traditional means. HH&K actively represents individual landowners, landowner coalitions, businesses, and not-for-profit organizations in lease negotiations. Our attorneys have negotiated and reviewed oil and gas leases on behalf of our clients for over 100 years and remain at the forefront of negotiations with oil and gas companies in the execution of leases to this day.
Oil and gas leasing also has the potential to impact landowners who choose not to sign a lease. Landowners who choose not to sign an oil and gas lease can be faced with involuntary inclusion in a drilling unit and the issue of “compulsory integration.” For those property owners not necessarily interested in extraction of natural gas, HH&K’s attorneys can also provide advice in compulsory integration hearings and has the experience to properly advise the unleased landowner on this issue.
HH&K’s attorneys have also monitored developments on behalf of mortgage lenders and other banking clients. We have helped these develop policies to address their concerns as to the impact on their loan portfolios, and review their customers leases on a case-by-case basis to assist them with the decision of whether or not to place a loan on property subject to a gas lease.
The Energy and Environmental Practice Group is able to draw upon the firm’s other diverse practice areas experience to assist in environmental legal issues such as oil and gas leasing, energy explorative activity, real estate environmental due diligence (environmental assessments) and risk management, and in regulatory compliance, particularly in connection with pollution, hazardous waste, and petroleum issues. We have negotiated dozens of consent orders and have defended our clients in federal Superfund and state cleanup litigation, toxic tort actions, and regulatory violation claims. In conjunction with our Zoning and Land Use attorneys, we counsel clients on the full gamut of environmental, regulatory, land use, natural resource, and zoning issues. In addition, HH&K’s broad range of services allows it to assist individuals and businesses in addressing the tax and estate planning consequences of oil and gas lease activities, including through the use of trusts, limited liability companies, and other planning vehicles that can be used to limit potential liability and effectively plan for dealing with tax matters.