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About Kevin

Kevin is a former Assistant U.S. Attorney from the Eastern District of Texas, and he can help you manage the problems that arise during government investigations. His goal is to help you avoid significant penalties or uncertain litigation by negotiating a favorable outcome. But he has the trial experience to stand firm against the government when it demands too much or oversteps its lawful authority.

Kevin has focused on process safety since he assisted the Baker Panel investigate and issue its report on safety culture and corporate oversight of BP's North American refineries in 2005. This focus results in four main areas of assistance to you: (1) responding to government investigations after industrial accidents; (2) representing you during OSHA (process safety management standard) and EPA (RMP) enforcement proceedings; (3) improving safety culture in refineries and chemical plants; and (4) preparing for industrial accidents by helping you to develop useful business-continuity plans, legal resource handbooks, release-reporting guides, and meaningful tabletop exercises and emergency field drills.

Kevin's combination of process safety experience, trial experience, and technical understanding will help you solve your problems. He is a member of the AIChE, speaks often on the criminalization of process safety, and is an adjunct faculty member of The University of Texas at Austin.  

Experience

Recent Notable Matters

Independent panel — conducted special investigation into corporate safety culture, corporate safety oversight and safety management systems at BP's five North American refineries on behalf of an independent panel of experts chaired by former US Secretary of State James A. Baker III*

Major integrated energy company — special safety investigation under Contra Costa county's industrial safety ordinance*

Major refining and marketing company — investigations by CalOSHA, the U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB), the U.S. EPA, and Contra Costa County Hazardous Materials*

Chemical manufacturer — represented during OSHA and CSB investigation of release resulting in a fatality*

Chemical manufacturer — represented during OSHA, CSB, U.S. EPA, and TCEQ investigations of a release resulting in four fatalities*

Midstream oil and gas company — internal investigation of a process safety incident*

Publications and Speeches

Co-author, “Avoiding criminal liability after a flood: Lessons from Hurricane Harvey,” Trends, Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources of the American Bar Association, January/February 2018.

Presenter, “Personal Criminal Liability for Corporate Activities,” Association of Corporate Counsel Austin Chapter, March 28, 2017.

“Lessons Learned from the PG&E Trial,” Austin Bar Association Environmental Law Section, December 1, 2016.

“The Criminalization of Process Safety,” Chicagoland Safety, Health, & Environment Conference, Chicago, September 21, 2016.

“Criminalization of Process Safety Incidents,” 29th Annual Environmental, Health & Safety Seminar Sponsored by Texas Chemistry Council (TCC) and Association of Chemical Industry of Texas (ACITS), Galveston, Texas, June 6, 2016.

“The Criminalization of Process Safety,” Inside Counsel, March 15, 2016.

"Major Accident Response," 26th Annual Texas/Louisiana EHS Seminar Sponsored by Texas Chemistry Council (TCC) and Association of Chemical Industry of Texas (ACITS), Galveston, Texas, June 3-6, 2013.

"How is Environmental & Safety Regulation of the Oil & Gas Industry Evolving?," 65th Annual Oil & Gas Law Conference, Houston, Texas, February 19-20, 2014.

"What to Expect in the Event of an Oil Spill or Other Significant Offshore Incident or Catastrophe," Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation, Federal Offshore Regulatory Enforcement Conference, Houston, Texas, January 20-21, 2016.

“Incident Response: E-Discovery in Government Investigations,” AU-CLE Webinar, July 30, 2014.

Credentials

Education

The University of Texas School of Law,
J.D.
2005
with honors
The University of Texas at Austin,
B.A.
1993

Bar Admissions

Texas

Affiliations

American Bar Association
Section of Environment Energy and Resources; Section of Environmental Enforcement and Crimes; Section of Environmental Litigation; Section of Toxic Torts Committees
Eastern District of Texas Anti-Terrorism Advisory Task Force
Texas Bar Foundation
Fellow

News

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...

Navigating Texas Regulations During Hurricane Harvey: TCEQ Executive Director's Regulatory Guidance and Governor Abbott's Disaster Proclamation Provide Potential Relief

August 29, 2017

A series of decisions between the Governor's office and the Executive Director of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality ("TCEQ") has resulted in the suspension of a number of state...

EPA Proposes to Delay the Effective Date of RMP Rule Amendments to 2019

April 3, 2017

On April 3, 2017, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published a proposed rule that would delay the effective date of the recent Risk Management Program (RMP) rule amendments to February 19, 2019. 82 Fed. Reg. 16146 (Apr. 3, 2017). EPA published amendments to the 40 C.F.R. Part 68 RMP rule in the final days of the Obama administration. 82 Fed. Reg. 4594 (Jan. 13, 2017). Those amendments changed a number of RMP program elements, including compliance audits, the process hazard analysis (PHA) process, emergency response drills and preparedness activities, and information sharing with...

Process Safety Culture and Environmental Management Systems

The presentation provided guidance on developing a corporate culture attuned to process safety and on continuing to assess and adjust over time. It also discussed the legal issues that can arise from adopting an environmental management system, particularly with regard to how a company documents its environmental, health, and safety regulatory compliance policies as well as its internal goals, roles, and responsibilities.

U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board Releases Strategic Plan for 2017-2021

October 20, 2016

The U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (“CSB”) released its Strategic Plan for 2017-2021 today. The Strategic Plan is the result of 18 months of staff and stakeholder development and review. The plan serves as a blueprint for the CSB’s investigative priorities over the next five years. Chairperson Vanessa Allen Sutherland described the Board’s mission as “driving chemical safety change through independent investigations to protect people and the environment.” The purpose of the Strategic Plan is to help the Board advance its mission. The three goals listed in the Strategic...

U.S. Drops $562 Million Alternative Fines Act Allegation Against PG&E

August 2, 2016

Today, the United States requested permission to dismiss its Alternative Fines Act sentencing allegation against PG&E. Under the AFA, a court can impose a criminal fine equal to twice the pecuniary gain to the defendant or twice the pecuniary loss suffered by victims. Last September, the court dismissed the government’s loss-based allegations, finding that proving those allegations would be unduly complicated. Today, the government gave up on the “twice the gain” allegation. The result is a significant decrease in the potential fine faced by PG&E—down from $562 million to $5.5 million...

Noteworthy

Noteworthy

The Legal 500 United States
Environment: Litigation, 2016, 2018 - 2019; Environment: Regulatory, 2016, 2019
Woodward/White, Inc.
Best Lawyers
Environmental Law, 2019 - 2020; Litigation - Environmental, 2020

Events