Logo for print Skip to main content

About Kevin

Kevin Ewing helps clients with federal natural resources law and policy. He advises chiefly energy and infrastructure companies pursuing development projects, federal authorizations, or changes in agency policy, and in responding to federal enforcement and incident investigations. His clients are involved in offshore wind and O&G development, natural gas and liquids pipelines, LNG, power transmission, and urban park renewal. Kevin has almost thirty years of experience helping clients bring infrastructure projects online.  He has frequently been involved in efforts to improve federal policies governing infrastructure and related permitting and agency reviews. Kevin’s work extends to many statutes, including the major pollution control statutes, NEPA, NHPA, the Natural Gas Act, the Pipeline Safety laws, and federal laws governing urban parks, such as LWCFA and UPARR.

An area of special focus for more than twenty years is corporate disclosure concerning environmental, social, and governance issues (ESG) and related shareholder demands and governmental inquiries (including under the Martin Act) about climate change, hydraulic fracturing, and similar topics. He advises publicly-traded energy companies on mandatory reporting, sustainability reporting, and related litigation and policy issues.

Kevin is truly excellent. He’s extremely thoughtful, concise and has a depth of knowledge and experience that is invaluable.
Chambers USA, 2021


Recent Notable Matters

Equinor — $1.1 billion sale to bp plc of a 50 percent interest in Equinor’s U.S. offshore wind development portfolio, including formation of a partnership to develop and operate the Empire Wind project offshore New York and Beacon Wind project offshore Massachusetts, which together could generate over 4 GW of power

City of Chicago — federal permitting, environmental impact assessment, historic preservation, and related litigation for projects in support of The Barack Obama Presidential Center and other urban park initiatives

Project Development

Equinor — federal leasing, permitting, and environmental impact analyses to support multiple utility-scale projects forming the U.S. offshore wind portfolio of the company, in addition to related federal litigation 

Multiple LNG projects (import and export) — environmental aspects of LNG storage, regasification, and liquefaction projects, including siting, permit strategy, and environmental impact assessment

Offshore LNG facility — defense of the Deepwater Port Act license (Gulf Restoration Network v. U.S. Department of Transportation, 452 F.3d 362 (5th Cir. 2006)

Pipeline developers and anchor shippers — permitting, environmental impact assessment, FERC environmental requirements and related litigation for proposed natural gas and liquids pipelines

Nonprofit developer — NEPA litigation defending against challenges to federal approvals for an urban park project supporting underserved environmental justice communities in southwestern Michigan

Multiple trade associations and business groups, and their member companies — advise and advocate on modernizing federal policy under NEPA, Clean Water Act, Natural Gas Act, and the pipeline and LNG safety statutes aimed at improving permitting and safety of energy and other infrastructure

Safety and Incidents

LNG developer and operator — federal safety requirements and governmental inspections for developing and operating LNG assets, including an LNG release and related administrative actions by U.S. DOT/PHMSA

Halliburton Energy Services, Inc. / Macondo — federal government investigations concerning the Macondo well control incident

Oilfield services and E&P companies — post-Macondo federal policy and regulatory developments affecting energy development; permitting and financial assurance requirements; liability and enforcement; federal land policies; and the requirements of NEPA and species protection

Energy companies operating offshore — development risk analysis associated with numerous proposed and operating offshore and nearshore energy facilities in the Northeastern U.S., Mid-Atlantic, and Gulf of Mexico

Midstream and downstream energy companies — compliance support concerning pipeline safety, Presidential and other federal permitting, jurisdictional issues for offshore and onshore gathering and transmission pipelines, and regulatory support in A&D

Corporate Disclosures

Publicly-traded upstream energy company — securing SEC Staff no-action letter concerning shareholder climate proxy proposal

Publicly-traded energy companies — response to shareholder proxy proposals on environmental issues and advice on long-term strategies for shareholder engagement

Publicly-traded energy companies — mandatory and voluntary disclosure to shareholders concerning environmental matters under Regulation S-K

Publicly-traded energy company — defense of Martin Act investigation concerning shareholder disclosure relating to climate change

Publicly-traded energy company — defense of Martin Act investigation concerning shareholder disclosure relating to hydraulic fracturing

Publications and Speeches

“Change at the Interior Department: A Look Ahead,” Environmental Essentials for In-House Counsel Webinar, April 6, 2021.

“ESG/SEC Disclosure and Implications,” Environmental Essentials for In-House Counsel Webinar, March 30, 2021.

“Infrastructure Under the Biden Administration,” Environmental Law Seminar, December 22, 2020.

“ESG – A Look Ahead,” Environmental Essentials for In-House Counsel Webinar, September 8, 2020.

"Energy Industry Opposition: The Latest Wave of Challenges and Strategies," 10th Law of Shale Plays Conference, Pittsburgh, PA, September 4, 2019

"BSEE takes steps to relieve burdensome requirements," Offshore, March 7, 2018.

Keynote Speaker, 10th IFI Operational Risk Management Forum, May 31, 2017

Co-author, "Pipeline Protest: The New Playbook," Pipeline & Gas Journal, May 2017.

Panelist, "Identifying and Assessing Emerging Risks," Western Reliability Summit, May 3, 2017.

Speaker, “Lessons in Risk Management Learned From Major Accidents,”  World Bank Chief Risk Officers Risk Forum, April 27, 2017

"Protests, Policies, and Regulations — Impact on Pipeline Development," Platts Pipeline Development and Expansion Conference, Houston, September 29, 2016.

"Climate Disclosure — Trends and Drivers," The American Gas Association's 2016 Legal Forum, Asheville, NC, July 11, 2016.

"Getting New Oil and Gas Production to Market — Regulation and Legal Challenges to Infrastructure Development," Association of Corporate Counsel South/Central Texas Chapter's Oil & Gas Law Lunch and Learn, San Antonio, April 28, 2016.

"What to Expect in the Event of an Oil Spill or Other Significant Offshore Incident or Catastrophe," The Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation's Special Institute on Federal Offshore Regulatory Enforcement, Houston, January 21, 2016.

"Pipelines and Marine Transport — Moving North American Gas and LNG," Platts 14th Annual Liquefied Natural Gas Conference, Houston, February 26, 2015.

"Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, Fukushima: Lessons Learned and Being Learned," Annual Conference of the International Bar Association, Tokyo, October 19, 2014.

"A Review and Discussion on Hydraulic Fracturing and the Regulation of Hydraulic Fracturing," Institute for Energy Law 65th Annual Oil & Gas Law Conference, Houston, February 19, 2014.




University of Heidelberg,
Master of Laws
Georgetown University Law Center,
Yale University,
Bachelor of Arts
cum laude

Bar Admissions

District of Columbia




Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment
Past Chair, Advisory Council
Washington Institute of Foreign Affairs
Former Member, Board of Directors
Decatur House of the National Trust for Historic Preservation
Former Member, Board of Directors



The case against Big Oil

June 12, 2016
Houston Chronicle Online/chron.com

Are Big Oil lawsuits echoing the ones against Big Tobacco?

June 11, 2016
San Francisco Chronicle Online



ESG - A Look Ahead

September 8, 2020

Trump Administration Publishes Final Revisions to NEPA Regulations

July 16, 2020
Energy Legal Blog®

On July 16, 2020, the White House Council on Environmental Quality (“CEQ”) published its much anticipated final rule revising the regulations implementing the National Environmental Policy Act...

Trump Administration Proposes Unprecedented and Comprehensive Revisions to NEPA Regulations

January 16, 2020
Energy Legal Blog®

The National Environmental Policy Act (“NEPA”) -- a law that has been referred to as the “Magna Carta” of the nation’s environmental laws – turned 50 years old on January 1, 2020. On January 10, the White House Council on Environmental Quality (“CEQ”) published a...

Our Take on Auer – Agency Deference under Scrutiny

March 15, 2019
Energy Legal Blog®

Two weeks remain before the Supreme Court hears oral arguments in Kisor v. Wilkie, a likely landmark case for energy and infrastructure companies. When the Supreme Court granted certiorari in December 2018, it took the case specifically to decide whether to overturn Auer...

White House Encourages Coordination of Infrastructure Permitting Through One Federal Decision Memorandum

April 27, 2018
Energy Legal Blog®

On April 9, 2018, the White House announced that twelve federal agencies had signed the One Federal Decision Memorandum (“MOU”), establishing a coordinated and timely process for environmental...

FERC Staff Issues New Guidelines on Cultural Resources

August 7, 2017
Energy Legal Blog®

On July 31, 2017, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC”) staff issued new Guidelines for Reporting on Cultural Resources Investigations for Natural Gas Projects. The new guidelines include changes of potential interest and significance to developers...

In Line With Recent Precedent, Trump Administration Directs Federal Agencies to Halt New Regulations

January 25, 2017
Energy Legal Blog®

As expected, one of President Trump’s first actions after being sworn in to office was to issue a memorandum outlining his administration’s plans for managing new or pending federal regulations. As shown in the Table below, the memorandum from President Trump’s Chief...

PHMSA Proposes Plans to Revise Volatility Standard for the Transport of Crude Oil

January 18, 2017
Energy Legal Blog®

Today, PHMSA released an advanced notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM), announcing that it is considering revising the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR) to establish vapor pressure limits for the transportation of crude oil and potentially all Class 3 flammable...

Obama Bans Drilling Offshore Atlantic, Arctic – But For How Long?

December 21, 2016

With a new President on the White House doorstep, President Obama has announced a ban – ostensibly permanent – on offshore oil and gas drilling in federal waters along the Eastern seaboard and offshore Alaska. President Obama appears to be relying upon a seldom-used provision of the 1953 Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (“OCSLA”) 43 U.S.C. §§ 1331 et seq.), which allows the President to withdraw any “unleased lands of the outer Continental Shelf.” Whether the ban proves permanent is likely to be tested politically and legally, as the Trump Administration takes office alongside a Republican-...

Federal Report Identifies New Criteria for Underground Gas Storage Facilities

October 20, 2016

On October 19, a federal task force released a Final Report outlining recommendations for industry and government in the wake of the 2015 natural gas leak at Aliso Canyon in southern California. The Interagency Task Force on Natural Gas Storage Safety (“Task Force”), created by Congress in the Protecting our Infrastructure of Pipelines and Enhancing Safety (PIPES) Act of 2016 , convened to analyze the Aliso Canyon incident and to recommend ways to reduce the likelihood of future leaks from underground natural gas storage facilities. The Final Report sets out 44 recommendations for industry...

PHMSA Releases Civil Penalty Policy Framework, Sets its Sight on Higher Penalties “Across the Board”

October 18, 2016

This week, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) released a General Policy Statement announcing its intent to make available to the public a Civil Penalty Policy Framework. Previously only available by request, the civil penalty framework provides insight into the factors PHMSA considers and the ranges of proposed penalties that the agency might issue in civil enforcement cases. Now, PHMSA will maintain the penalty framework on the agency’s website in an effort to provide “greater transparency” to operators and the public during the civil enforcement process...

PHMSA Implements New Emergency Safety Authority Effective Immediately

October 10, 2016

On October 3, 2016, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) announced an Interim Final Rule (IFR) establishing when and how it will issue Emergency Orders to address imminent safety hazards across the oil and gas pipeline industry. See Pipeline Safety: Enhanced Emergency Order Procedures (Docket No. PHMSA-2016-0091). The new procedure allows PHMSA to impose restrictions, prohibitions, and safety measures without prior notice or an opportunity for a hearing. These measures can apply through all or part of the industry, not just to individual facilities or operators...

Wyoming Federal Judge Sides With States and Industry, Strikes Down BLM Hydraulic Fracturing Rule

June 29, 2016

On June 21, 2016, the U.S. District Court for the District of Wyoming struck down the U.S. Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM’s) hydraulic fracturing regulations, finding that BLM “lacked Congressional authority to promulgate the regulations.” This decision is a win for industry and states’ rights, setting aside a federal rule that is unnecessarily duplicative, burdensome and beyond the scope of BLM’s statutory authority. This is yet another setback for the Obama Administration’s second term regulatory push, as previous industry challenges have resulted in the stay of other major new regulatory...

Obama Administration Adopts Wide-Ranging Natural Resource Mitigation Requirements

November 3, 2015

Earlier today, the Obama Administration adopted an expansive set of mitigation requirements for all its natural resource management agencies. Under the voluntary policy, the Department of Defense, Department of the Interior, Department of Agriculture, Environmental Protection Agency, and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will aim "to avoid and then minimize harmful effects to land, water, wildlife, and other ecological resources (natural resources) caused by land- or water-disturbing activities, and to ensure that any remaining harmful effects" are effectively mitigated. The...

Major Air Enforcement Action Against New Plant Owner Suggests the Value of EPA's "New Owner Audit Policy"

May 21, 2015

A new $1.3 million Clean Air Act penalty action by U.S. EPA and the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality against AK Steel Corporation has received significant public and media attention this week. The proposed consent decree, filed with the court and opened for public comment on May 19th, includes significant cash penalties and supplemental environmental project requirements, along with burdensome obligations to establish an environmental management system, perform third party audits, and install costly new pollution controls. Less often mentioned in this week's stories about the...

Courts Affirm Limits on Scope of Environmental Review

August 22, 2014

Ruling on a pipeline project and a mine project, two different federal courts issued decisions Monday affirming limits on the scope of environmental review. The pipeline case was a challenge to Enbridge's Flanagan South pipeline, designed to transport tar sands crude from Illinois to Oklahoma. The mine case involved Raven Crest Contracting's Boone North No. 5 coal mine in West Virginia. Neither decision breaks new ground; their significance lies in reaffirming that NEPA analysis should be confined to the scope of the federal agencies' control over the project in question. These cases...

Supreme Court to Determine Whether Agencies Must Undergo Notice and Comment Prior to Changing an Interpretation

June 16, 2014

The Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case that could have far-ranging implications for agency proclamations that impact the business community. On Monday, June 16, 2014, the Supreme Court granted certiorari in Nickols v. Mortgage Bankers Assoc. , No. 13-1052. The Supreme Court will address "[w]hether agencies subject to the Administrative Procedure Act are categorically prohibited from revising their interpretative rules unless such revisions are made through notice-and-comment rulemaking." Interpretative rules (also called interpretive rules) are those that "simply state[] what the...

Oklahoma Enters the Fray of Endangered Species Sue-and-Settle

March 24, 2014

On March 17, 2014, the State of Oklahoma sued the U.S. Department of the Interior, taking aim at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's habit of settling large Endangered Species Act cases with Environmental Non-Governmental Organizations. The lawsuit signals an important escalation in the fight against such settlements. ESA lawsuits have become a key tool to prevent or delay project development activities, including in the oil and gas industry. Over the last several years, FWS has repeatedly settled NGO lawsuits with consent agreements in which FWS commits to prioritize the NGOs' chosen...

Coast Guard Looks to Expand Safety and Environmental Management Systems to Vessels on the OCS

September 18, 2013

On September 10, 2013, the U.S. Coast Guard published an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (APNRM) in the Federal Register stating its intent to propose regulations that will require vessels engaged in exploration, development or production activities on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) to develop, implement, and maintain a vessel-specific Safety and Environmental Management System (SEMS). The proposed rulemaking would be far-reaching as the Coast Guard estimates that approximately 2,200 foreign and domestic vessels engaged in OCS activities could be affected by this regulatory action,...

EPA Issues Final Greenhouse Gas Reporting Rule

September 30, 2009

EPA's new GHG Inventory Rule is now final and will require prompt attention by many business sectors to help ensure compliance effective January 2010. The rule establishes the most sweeping monitoring and reporting regime in memory and will serve as the basis for future policies and legislation aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Companies and large institutions need to assess the rule applicability on a facility-by-facility basis and, if applicable, will need to integrate the new requirements into existing environmental management systems and budgets.

Apex Oil: Environmental Cleanup Liability Survives Bankruptcy

September 22, 2009

In U.S. v. Apex Oil , a three-judge panel of the Seventh Circuit ruled 3-0 that EPA's cleanup injunction against the corporate successor to a chemical company was not discharged in Chapter 11 because the injunction does not create a right to payment and, consequently, is not a "˜debt' under the Bankruptcy Code. In essence, Apex had argued that the injunction would require the company to incur costs upward of $150 million and that the purpose of the restructuring would be defeated if these costs had to be incurred. Judge Posner's opinion turns on the fact that the order required cleanup and...



Chambers USA
District of Columbia Environment, 2017 - 2021
The Legal 500 United States
Environment: Regulatory, 2019 - 2021; Environment: Litigation, 2017 - 2019; Energy Regulatory: Oil and Gas, 2017; Energy: Regulatory, 2016
Portfolio Media, Inc.
MVP of the Year: Environmental, 2017
ALM Media Properties
National Law Journal
Energy & Environmental Trailblazer, 2017
Euromoney Institutional Investor PLC
IFLR1000 Financial & Corporate and M&A Guide
2021 - 2022
Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment
Champion Award