Logo for print Skip to main content
Toggle navigation MENU MORE

About Jason

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.

Experience

Recent Notable Matters

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.

Credentials

Education

Vermont Law School,
J.D.
1998
magna cum laude
Colgate University,
Bachelor of Arts
1995

Bar Admissions

District of Columbia
New York

Languages

Conversational Spanish

Certifications

United States Coast Guard, Operator of Uninspected Passenger Vessel (OUPV) License

Affiliations

The Vermont Law School
Member, Board of Trustees, 2009 - 2015; Representative, National Alumni Association, 2007 - 2016
American Bar Association, Energy and Environmental Law Section
Women's Council on Energy and the Environment

News

News

Business Continuity Plan for the Legal Department

March 29, 2018
Today's General Counsel

Energy In A Trump Administration

December 14, 2016
Oil & Gas Financial Journal

BP spars with states, feds over Gulf of Mexico health

August 16, 2015
Washington Examiner Online

BLM's final fracturing rule outlines more public land regs

June 12, 2015
Oil & Gas Journal (US) - Online

Further federal action unlikely after EPA fracking study

June 10, 2015
SNL Energy Daily Gas Report

Recent developments in regulation of oil and gas NORM

February 4, 2015
Oil & Gas Financial Journal - Online

EPA issues NPDES permits for CA offshore oil and gas operations

January 22, 2014
Oil & Gas Financial Journal - Online

California's next frontier: Development of the Monterey Shale

December 2, 2013
Oil & Gas Financial Journal - Online

New ITC investigation could affect supply of oil and gas tubulars

July 29, 2013
Oil & Gas Financial Journal - Online

EPA takes step towards additional TSCA Regulation of E&P fluids

July 16, 2013
Oil & Gas Financial Journal - Online

Environmentally Speaking

June 6, 2013
Energy & Mining International

Bracewell Giuliani Partner Jason Hutt on Fracking and Environmentalism

October 22, 2012
Corporate Crime Reporter - Online

Anadarko in court on Kerr-McGee case

May 16, 2012
Upstream - Online

Groups seek fuller disclosure of fracking in Wyoming

March 27, 2012
Scientific American Online

EPA Shrinking ‘Halliburton Loophole’ Threatens Obama Gas Pledge

February 1, 2012
Bloomberg News - Washington Bureau

Getting To ‘Yes’ On Shale Gas

August 1, 2011
E & P Online

Insights

Insights

DOJ’s Environmental Enforcement Priorities and Expectations – Refocusing on the Rule of Law

In recent months, the U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ” or the “Department”) has issued a series of memoranda from the Department’s highest levels to its various component divisions, which includes the Environment and Natural Resources Division (“ENRD”). The ENRD is charged with...

What Will Be the Fate of PHMSA’s Final Hazardous Liquids Pipeline Rule?

February 8, 2017

On January 13, 2017, just one week before President Trump’s inauguration, PHMSA released final updates to the Pipeline Safety Regulations applicable to onshore transportation of hazardous liquids (“Final Rule”) . The Final Rule was then subject to the Priebus Memo and swiftly withdrawn by PHMSA on January 24, 2017. As with other rules subject to the Priebus Memo, the Final Rule must now be reviewed by a member of the Trump Administration. The ultimate fate of the Final Rule is a bit uncertain, particularly because certain aspects were supported by the industry. Many in the pipeline industry...

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

January 31, 2017

On January 31, President Donald Trump selected Judge Neil Gorsuch as his nomination for the United States Supreme Court seat left open by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia nearly a year ago. From an environmental law perspective, it is most notable that the decisions penned by Judge Gorsuch have called for the reassessment and potential revocation of Chevron deference to agency interpretation of its own statutes, a doctrine Justice Scalia championed in his early days before exhibiting a degree of flexibility about it later in his tenure on the bench. Because most environmental regulations...

DOT Site Security Plans – Potential Application to Pipelines as Offerors

May 9, 2016

The Department of Transportation (“DOT”) requires “offerors” of hazardous materials to develop and adhere to a site-specific security plan that evaluates transportation security risks and appropriate measures to address those risks. For the midstream sector, questions often arise as to whether or not the activities of a pipeline owner or operator trigger DOT’s site security plan requirements. Below, we briefly address the relevant regulations as well as some of the actions that may trigger these planning requirements. Background Under the Hazardous Material Regulations (“HMRs”), 49 C.F.R...

Decision on Fate of BLM's Hydraulic Fracturing Rule Expected September 2015

July 24, 2015

The Bureau of Land Management's ("BLM's") Hydraulic Fracturing Rule has been stayed until at least September 2015. BLM finalized the rule on March 20, 2015 for application on federal and Indian lands, three years after its initial proposal. However, on June 23, 2015 (the eve of the rule's effective date), a federal judge in Wyoming stayed implementation of the rule siding with several industry group and state petitioners that had filed lawsuits and sought an injunction. As deadlines have now slipped, based on the current schedule, Judge Scott W. Skavdahl of the U.S. District Court for the...

Reports Connecting Seismic Activity to the Injection of Produced Water

In recent days, the Oklahoma Geological Survey (OGS), Southern Methodist University (SMU) in Dallas, and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) have each indicated that they are increasingly convinced that there is a connection between the underground injection of produced water and induced seismicity"”small earthquakes caused by something other than naturally occurring activity. The Oklahoma Geological Survey released a statement on April 21, 2015 indicating that the increased seismic activity experienced in many parts of Oklahoma in recent years is "very unlikely" to be the result of naturally...

BLM Releases Final Rule for Hydraulic Fracturing on Federal Lands; Industry Immediately Files Suit

March 27, 2015

Brief Overview On March 20, 2015, three years after its initial proposal, the Department of Interior's Bureau of Land Management (BLM) finalized new regulations applicable to hydraulic fracturing activities on federal and Indian lands. BLM previously released a draft proposed rule in May 2012 and revised draft in May 2013. Key aspects of the final rule include requirements to: (1) request approval of hydraulic fracturing before commencement of operations; (2) disclose chemicals after completing hydraulic fracturing activities (preferably via FracFocus); (3) perform well integrity and cement...

Recent Developments in Regulation of Oil and Gas NORM

January 28, 2015

Federal and state regulators are considering new rules applicable to naturally occurring radioactive material (NORM) and technologically-enhanced NORM (TENORM) in oil and gas waste. We discuss some of the most recent and expected developments below. Pennsylvania PADEP TENORM Study On January 15, 2015, PADEP released the results of its TENORM study , which focused on quantifying TENORM associated with oil and gas drilling in Pennsylvania. PADEP's study examined the full spectrum of potential exposure pathways, from well sites, to wastewater treatment plants and landfills, to gas distribution...

EPA Proposes Rule Seeking to Curb GHG Emissions and Dampen U.S. Appetite for Electricity

On June 2, 2014, EPA issued a proposed rule to control carbon dioxide emissions from existing coal-fired power plants. In its public outreach, EPA presents the rule as requiring a 30% reduction in carbon emissions by 2030 from the baseline year 2005. It is true that the rule would result in CO2 emissions that are 30% lower than in 2005, but the actual state-by-state emission reduction requirements are based on a 2012 baseline, which may disadvantage certain states or companies that made significant CO2 reductions before that year. The proposal establishes GHG emission targets for each State (...

EPA Issues NPDES Permit that Includes Limited Chemical Disclosure Requirements for Oil and Gas Operations Offshore California

January 10, 2014

Region 9 of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency yesterday made available the finalized National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) general permit applicable to discharges from oil and gas exploration facilities offshore Southern California. NPDES General Permit No. CAG280000 (2014 NPDES General Permit), issued under provisions of the Clean Water Act, authorizes discharges from exploration, development and production facilities located offshore of Southern California in accordance with specified effluent limitations, monitoring and reporting requirements and various other...

California Releases New Proposed Regulations Applicable to Oil and Gas Well Treatments

November 15, 2013

Today, the California Department of Conservation ("DOC") released proposed regulations applicable to oil and gas well stimulation activities in the state. This follows up on the passage of SB 4 back on September 20, 2013, which established the first set of requirements specifically associated with hydraulic fracturing and other well stimulation techniques. Previously, in December 2012, the Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources ("DOGGR") released a pre-rulemaking "discussion draft" of regulations applicable to hydraulic fracturing. However, that discussion draft did not trigger the...

Fracking in Europe "“ EU Parliament has voted to require Environmental Impact Assessments for shale gas developments

On 9 October 2013, the European Parliament narrowly voted in favour of an amendment to the EU's Environmental Impact Assessment Directive (EIA Directive) which would require environmental impact assessments (EIAs) to be performed for hydraulic fracturing for coal bed methane, and in shale and formations with shale-like permeability and porosity. If the amendment becomes law, the amended EIA Directive would require all private and public shale gas and many other unconventional exploration projects involving hydraulic fracturing in the EU to undertake an EIA. The effect of this change would be...

Post-2012 Election Outlook for Shale Gas Industry

November 20, 2012

The extraordinary increase in the production of natural gas from shale formations in the U.S. played a central role in the 2012 elections. As President Obama and Governor Romney campaigned throughout the battleground states of Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Colorado and elsewhere, the campaign often seemed to be a contest as to who could praise the positive impacts of domestic shale gas production more. Indeed, despite the lingering industry angst about the number of federal agencies in Obama's Administration actively exploring new regulations on shale gas development, President Obama pledged...

The Outlook for Environmental Enforcement in 2013

November 19, 2012

President Obama's re-election is expected to bring continued, aggressive enforcement efforts at the civil and criminal levels. To the extent that legislative initiatives on key issues like climate change, shale gas, and offshore drilling are delayed or given a lower priority, the Obama Administration may seek to allay environmentalist concerns through public efforts to hold industry accountable to existing laws and regulations. Several initiatives already underway - including EPA's National Enforcement Initiatives - are expected to intensify with efforts to expand the Agency's information...

Ohio Issues Emergency Rules on Underground Injection Control Activities, Effective Immediately

July 12, 2012

Companies that own and operate Class II disposal wells in Ohio will now have to comply with tougher standards when using deep injection wells for the underground disposal of brine and other wastes, a regulatory change spurred by findings that an injection well in Youngstown may have caused a series of earthquakes in 2011. On July 10, 2012, Governor John Kasich signed Executive Order 2012-09K, ordering that two draft Underground Injection Control rules become effective immediately as "emergency rules." The executive order allows the Ohio Division of Oil and Gas Resources Management (DRM) to...

Noteworthy

Noteworthy

The Legal 500 United States
Environment: Litigation, 2013 - 2017; Environmental: Regulatory, 2016 - 2017; Environmental: Transactional, 2016 - 2017; Energy: Litigation, 2013 - 2016
Thomson Reuters
Washington, DC, Super Lawyers
Environmental and Natural Resources, 2013 - 2018
Vermont Law School
The Vermont Law Review
Associate Articles Editor, 1997 - 1998

Events