As an environmental litigator, Lowell Rothschild focuses his practice on natural resource issues such as wetlands, endangered species and environmental review under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).
For more than 20 years, he has represented private, public, governmental and quasi-governmental clients working in the oil and gas, natural resource extraction, and infrastructure development sectors in obtaining and defending permits, as well as responding to allegations of legal noncompliance, through both internal investigations and litigation. Lowell’s practice has included cases before the U.S. Supreme Court, multiple federal circuit and district courts, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Department of the Interior (DOI) administrative tribunals.
Outside of his natural resources work, Lowell’s litigation experience covers the range of environmental laws, including water quality, outer continental shelf lands, hazardous waste, and radiation. He also managed litigation as the primary in-house environmental counsel for one of the world’s largest integrated phosphate and potash (fertilizer) supplier.
Recent Notable Matters
Wetland mitigation banker — successfully defending the client’s banking agreement in federal litigation in Alaska and the Court of Federal Claims against allegations by a competitor that the agreement was issued in contravention of the law
Utah Department of Transportation — wetlands and NEPA litigation related to the construction of the Legacy Parkway outside of Salt Lake City
Mosaic Company — litigation over a wetland permit and environmental assessment for a 10,000-acre mine expansion
Developer of a private ski resort and golf course — defense against allegations of noncompliance with wetland laws
Timber company — facing allegations of noncompliance with wetland laws
Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, the Washington, D.C. metropolitan planning organization (MPO) — defending its actions related to the EIS for the Inter-County Connector
Utah Department of Transportation — litigation regarding a road extension and new bridge to be constructed south of Salt Lake City
Salt Lake City MPO (the WFRC) — litigation regarding its Long-Range Transportation Plan
Nevada Department of Transportation and the Las Vegas MPO (the RTC) — EIS for their expansion of I-95 outside of Las Vegas
American Trucking Association — defense of certain NEPA requirements for Presidential action under NAFTA; case that led to the Supreme Court’s decision in the Public Citizen litigation
Real estate developer — litigating a critical habitat designation in California District Court
Client — participation in the litigation over the listing of the polar bear under the Endangered Species Act
Property developer — criminal investigation related to the alleged “take” of a bald eagle
Offshore contractor — precedent-setting litigation under the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act
Upstream gas company — Department of Interior royalty revenue enforcement action testing an expanded new theory of liability
Rhee Bros., a grocery importer — million-dollar pesticide litigation against the EPA
Cast-iron pipe manufacturer — two different criminal prosecutions related to Clean Air Act permitting requirements
Chemical manufacturer — criminal investigation regarding alleged OSHA and Clean Air Act violations
National manufacturer — resolving a civil environmental complaint involving over 400 alleged violations at 28 different facilities in five different EPA regions across the U.S.
Potentially responsible parties — representation, as common counsel, several different groups of these potentially responsible parties litigating resolution of their Superfund liability
Major oil companies — two separate pieces of litigation, represented different oil companies in civil litigation related to their cleanup obligations at refineries in Texas and Virginia
Publications and Speeches
“Environmental Regulation of Land Development – Recent Developments in Wetlands, Species, Historic Preservation, NEPA and Mitigation Law,” Bloomberg BNA CLE Webinar, February 17, 2016.
“Expansive New Mitigation Requirements,” Oil & Gas Financial Journal, January 2016.
“The Waters of the United States Final Rule,” Houston Bar Association Environmental Section Monthly Luncheon, November 18, 2015.
“Water in the West: New Challenges, New Insights,” SNL Energy’s Western Power Summit, November 3, 2015.
“How Environmental Groups’ Evolving Anti-Fossil Fuel Strategy Makes Crude-by-Rail so Complicated,” American Fuel & Petrochemicals Association Annual Environmental Conference, October 19, 2015.
“The Waters of the United States Final Rule, Water and Energy: Challenges and Opportunities in the Nexus,” Rice University’s Baker Center for Public Policy, October 14, 2015.
“The New Waters of the United States Final Rule: Water Jurisdictions, Significant Nexus and Policy Implications,” Bloomberg BNA CLE Webinar, July 28, 2015.
“OSHA vs. PHMSA: The Tangled Web of Jurisdiction Over Midstream Operations,” North American Oil & Gas Pipelines, July 20, 2015.
“Hawkes Co. and the Public Policy Rationale for Allowing Court Review of Jurisdictional Determinations,” National Wetlands Newsletter, Environmental Law Institute, July/August 2015.
Wetlands Deskbook, 4th Edition, Environmental Law Institute Press, January 2015.
“Environmental Rights: Regulations to Come - How proposed rules on endangered species and clean water will have impacts on oil and gas projects throughout the major plays in the United States,” Energy Executive Magazine, Winter/Spring 2015.
“Upcoming Regulations: 8 Rule Proposals to Watch for in 2015,” Energy Executive Magazine, Winter/Spring 2015.
“The 8 Rule Proposals to Watch for in 2015: Environmental Regulation of the Oil and Gas Industry Continues,” Bracewell Webinar, November 20, 2014.
“Business Emergencies - Encountering and Responding to a Crisis,” Bracewell Webinar, November 18, 2014.
“EPA in Wonderland: A Journey Down the Waters of the U.S. Rabbit Hole,” Bloomberg BNA Water Law & Policy Monitor, October 16, 2014; Response of Bracewell’s Lowell Rothschild to the NRDC’s Jon Devine, Bloomberg BNA Water Law & Policy Monitor, October 16, 2014.
“Waters of the United States,” 5th Law of Shale Plays Conference, September 5, 2014.
“Waters of the United States,” 26th Annual Texas Environmental Superconference, August 7, 2014.
“Working In Water? Proposed Rule Confuses the Issue of Wet or Dry,” Construction Executive, June 24, 2014.
“Strategic Delays: Keystone XL Pipeline Involves Balancing Multiple Constituencies,” Energy Executive, April 7, 2014.
“Oklahoma Enters Fray of Endangered Species Sue-and-Settle,” Energy Executive, April 8, 2014.
“Environmental Roadblocks: Strategies Aim to Derail Natural Gas Infrastructure Projects,” Oil & Gas Financial Journal, November 12, 2013.
“Environmental Implications of DOE’s Approval of Fourth LNG Export Project,” Oil & Gas Financial Journal, September 30, 2013.
“Practitioners’ Tales: Recent Experiences With NHPA Section 106 and FHWA Section 4(f),” Transportation Research Board’s 52nd Annual Workshop on Transportation Law, July 22, 2013.
“Two Polar Bear Decisions in Two Weeks,” Power Magazine, June 3, 2013.
“FWS Plan Could Have Negative Impact On Development Projects,” Oil & Gas Financial Journal, April 2013.