Jason Hutt, chair of the firm’s environmental department, advises and defends clients with a deep appreciation of the high-profile and complex environmental and energy issues of our day. His advice and advocacy are informed by a technical understanding for how energy and key industrial sectors operate as well as an acumen for the challenges Bracewell’s clients must navigate to achieve their business objectives.
Jason served as the lead environmental lawyer representing Halliburton in the various investigations that arose from the Deepwater Horizon explosion, including President Obama’s Special Task Force, the U.S. Congress and the Chemical Safety Board (CSB). He has advised, litigated and defended on behalf of many other energy and industrial clients to achieve optimal results in the context of administrative, civil and criminal enforcement actions as well as bankruptcy proceedings. In providing strategic advice and advocacy for clients, Jason draws upon his experience with and relationships within key federal agencies, including Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Department of the Interior (DOI), Department of Energy (DOE), Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), Department of Justice (DOJ) and state Attorneys General. Jason is a key member of Bracewell's incident response and internal investigation teams for matters subject to the jurisdictional reaches of these agencies.
Jason's experience and perspective inform his advice to project developers, debtors, investor groups and financial institutions focused on the business implications of various policy initiatives as well as the environmental risks and liabilities associated with transactions. His thoughts on legal and policy matters are regularly reflected in the mainstream media and trade publications covering energy and environmental issues.
Recent Notable Matters
Upper Bay Infrastructure Partners — Acquisition of Tidewater Transportation & Terminals, a multi-commodity transportation, terminal, and marine construction and repair company serving the Pacific Northwest, from Stonepeak Infrastructure Partners. Upper Bay Infrastructure Partners was the lead investor of a group consisting of Ullico, funds and accounts under management by BlackRock, Silverfern and certain other co-investors.
Upstream operator — multiyear investigation, disclosure and resolution of potential criminal and civil violations of Sections 402 and 404 of the Clean Water Act and related state statutes in the Marcellus and Eagle Ford plays
Electroplating manufacturer — criminal investigation of potentially unpermitted discharges arising under federal, state and local laws
Oilfield services company — multiyear EPA investigation and Clean Air Act enforcement action, from the issuance of information requests up through the settlement phase, including implementation of the Supplemental Environmental Project
Halliburton Energy Services, Inc. — various investigations that arose from the Deepwater Horizon incident, including President Obama’s Special Task Force, the U.S. Congress, and the CSB. Bracewell’s team brought the matter to a very successful resolution for Halliburton – one that included no criminal charges related to the explosion, the oil spill, or the environmental impacts.
Upstream Operator — Consent Decree negotiations arising from an investigation and voluntary disclosure of Clean Water Act and state statute violations
Independent Terminal Operator — permitting strategy and shared facilities arrangement for air, water and waste authorizations for bifurcated facilities in multiple states
The Sterling Group — The acquisition, operation and divestiture of a middle market private equity firm’s portfolio companies. Recent work included serving as lead environmental counsel in: acquiring the U.S. domestic assets of a European designer and manufacturer of trailer axles, trailer and caravan components, and chassis and motorized chassis, with more than 20 locations around the world; acquiring several bathwarerelated businesses across the U.S. in supporting the formation of the American Bath Group; and divesting a company that specializes in providing fully operated and maintained crane services, heavy rigging and specialty hauling services.
Cabot Oil & Gas Corporation — defended against the Department of Interior's Office of Natural Resources Revenue allegations of knowing or willful violations of FOGRMA relating to the payment of royalties
Baker Hughes Incorporated — multi-year negotiation and implementation of an Administrative Settlement Agreement and Order on Consent (ASAOC) for the investigation of a Superfund site in Missouri. Several federal agencies were involved in the negotiations, including the U.S. Forest Service, the USDA and the DOJ.
Underground Injection Control well owners — seismicity investigations, litigation and enforcement in Oklahoma and Texas
Delek Logistics — regulatory and commercial agreement aspects of joint ventures to develop 107-mile and 80mile crude oil pipelines
Independent oil and gas company — represented before federal agencies in relation to alleged drinking water contamination, private nuisance claims and federal/state investigations and enforcement
Western Refining Logistics, LP — representing the Conflicts Committee of the Board of Directors of the general partner of Western Refining Logistics, LP in its merger with Andeavor Logistics LP in a unit-for-unit transaction valued at $1.8 billion
Venoco, Inc. and its affiliated debtors in possession — Chapter 11 petitions in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware to restructure their debt obligations and capital structure and its affiliates Denver Parent Corporation, TexCal Energy (LP) LLC, Whittier Pipeline Corporation, TexCal Energy (GP) LLC, Ellwood Pipeline, Inc., and TexCal Energy South Texas, L.P.
Publications and Speeches
Co-author, “Gorsuch May Further Tip Balance Against Deference To EPA,” Law360, February 14, 2017.
Co-author, “President Trump’s SCOTUS nominee, Judge Neil Gorsuch, suggests a weakening of the Chevron Doctrine with less deference to rulemaking efforts from EPA, DOI and other federal agencies,” Oil & Gas Financial Journal, February 10, 2017.
Presenter, “Energy and Environmental Policy – What to Expect During the New Administration,” SLR Consulting Joint Global, Refining and Upstream Issues Forum, February 9, 2017.
“DOT Site Security Plans: Potential Application to Pipeline as Offerors,” Pipeline & Gas Journal, September 2016.
“From Shale to Sail: Production, Transportation, and Export of U.S. Oil & Gas,” American Bar Association Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources’ Spring Conference, Austin, April 1, 2016.
“Drilling for Solutions: The Future of Fracking,” Vermont Law School, March 18, 2016.
“EPA’s Next Generation Enforcement Initiative: What It Means for the Next Generation of Environmental Auditing,” Auditing Roundtable Webinar, October 7, 2015.
“EPA’s Clean Water Rule: Significant Impacts to Marcellus Gas Extraction and Transmission,” The Marcellus Shale Coalition, Harrisburg, PA, June 23, 2015.
“The BP Oil Disaster Five Years Later,” The Diane Rehm Show, NPR, April 20, 2015.
“Disclosure 2.0: Enter EPA’s E-Disclosure Audit Program,” Law360, June 16, 2015.
“BLM’s Final Fracturing Rule Outlines More Public Land Regs,” Oil & Gas Journal, June 11, 2015.
“Environmental Issues in Energy Production: Overview of Federal Developments,” American Law Institute, Washington, D.C., February 5, 2015.
"Fracking in Europe - EU Parliament Votes to Require Environmental Impact Assessments for Shale Gas Developments," Oil & Gas Financial Journal, October 2013.
“Environmentally Speaking,” Review of Shale Development, Energy and Mining Magazine, August 6, 2013.
"Drilling & Fracking: Who Regulates?" The Federalist Society Podcast, July 12, 2012.
“Unleashing Potential: Finding the Best Regulatory Environment to Boost Responsible Natural Gas Production,” National Journal LIVE/American Chemistry Council Policy Summit, Washington, D.C., March 20, 2012.
“DOE’s Final Report on Shale Gas: Where Do We Go From Here?” Trends, ABA Section of Environment, Energy and Resources Newsletter, January/February 2012.
United States Coast Guard, Operator of Uninspected Passenger Vessel (OUPV) License