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Natural Resource Damages

Jackson Gilmour & Dobbs, PC has a unique sophisticated natural resource damages (NRD) practice. Our attorneys have worked on NRD matters involving some of the largest waterways on the east and west coasts of the United States, the Gulf of Mexico, and on inland rivers and groundwater plumes across the country. Jackson Gilmour & Dobbs, PC is one of the few law firms in the country to have been retained by both governmental trustees and private sector clients to represent them in NRD matters, giving our attorneys a unique and well-informed perspective in these large and exceptionally complicated environmental matters.

In addition to liability for cleanup costs, most state and federal environmental statutes impose liability for natural resource damages. For example, the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), the Clean Water Act (CWA), and the Oil Pollution Act (OPA) each provide that federal and state trustees, as well as tribal governments, may recover damages for injuries to natural resources and for the loss of human uses caused by hazardous substances, petroleum products and oil spills. As part of Jackson Gilmour & Dobbs, PC's record setting $355 million settlement for the State of New Jersey in the Passaic River litigation, we secured $67.5 million in restoration projects that must be implemented in local, impacted communities to restore losses of human uses. By investing in parks, greenbelts, and access to the Passaic River, these restoration projects will also induce additional economic activity in historically underserved areas, thus benefitting the community and the settling parties.

Claims for NRD are appreciably different from, and in addition to, claims for the costs associated with cleaning up petroleum products and hazardous substances spilled or discharged into the environment. Often, the repercussions of oil spills and discharges of hazardous substances into the environment, especially spills and discharges into surface waters like the nation's rivers, bays, gulfs and ports, reach far beyond any relief afforded by a cleanup. Such spills can have dramatic impacts upon the marine life, environment, and the human uses of these natural resources.

For example, when the Exxon tanker Valdez released an estimated 11 million gallons of crude oil into Prince William Sound in 1989, it contaminated more than 11,000 square miles of ocean and over 1,300 miles of Alaskan coastline, resulting in clean up costs of approximately $2 billion. Moreover, the Exxon Valdez spill caused an additional $1 billion in natural resource damages and impacts to the public. BP's oil spill from the Deepwater Horizon offshore rig in the Gulf of Mexico is anticipated to cause natural resource damages that will far eclipse the Exxon Valdez spill.

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  • Jackson Gilmour & Dobbs, PC adds Paul Sarahan, former head of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality's litigation section, to its Austin office.
  • Jackson Gilmour & Dobbs, PC was again named a "Best Law Firm" by U.S. News and Best Lawyers for 2016.
  • John Riley and Bill Jackson have again been honored as a leading Environmental Litigators by Chambers and Partners' 2015 Chambers USA Guide.
  • Lori Warner was again named to "The Best Lawyers in America" in the Environmental practice area for 2015.
  • Bill Jackson and John Riley were named to "Texas Super Lawyers" for Environmental Litigation for 2015.
  • John Hagan was awarded the 2015 Excellence in Public Interest Award for pro bono service in the field of public interest law.
  • Will Petit and Kenny Corley were named "Texas Rising Stars" by Super Lawyers in 2016.
  • Lori Warner and Bill Jackson were again named "Top Rated Lawyers in Energy, Environmental and Natural Resources" in the American Lawyer and The National Law Journal for 2015.
  • Bill Jackson and Lori Warner were honored in the Texas Lawyer as "Top Rated Lawyers in Texas" and A/V preeminent by Martindale-Hubbell.