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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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Announcements
  • Chambers USA recognized Jackson Gilmour & Dobbs, PC for its national Environmental Practice in 2016, observing that the firm is "increasingly recognized for its representation of both public and private sector clients on a range of matters, including permitting issues, EPA negotiations and cost recovery suits," and is "particularly active in surface water contamination litigation."
  • Jackson Gilmour & Dobbs, PC was again named a "Best Law Firm" by U.S. News and Best Lawyers for 2016.
  • Bill Jackson is co-chairing LSI's Advanced Natural Resource Damages Program in Santa Fe, New Mexico on July 14-15, 2016.
  • John Gilmour will present at Law Seminars International's 10 th Annual Advanced Conference on Litigating Natural Resource Damages, "Best Strategies and Tactics to Handle Large, Complex NRD Cases," July 14-15, Santa Fe, NM. For more information, please go to https://www.lawseminars.com/detail.php?SeminarCode=16NRDNM.
  • Bill Jackson will present at Law Seminars International's 10 th Annual Advanced Conference on Litigating Natural Resource Damages, "Best Strategies and Tactics to Handle Large, Complex NRD Cases," July 14-15, Santa Fe, NM. For more information, please go to https://www.lawseminars.com/detail.php?SeminarCode=16NRDNM.
  • John Riley was named to "Best Lawyers" for Administrative Law in 2016.
  • John Riley, Bill Jackson, and Paul Sarahan were recognized as Leaders in the Environmental Field by Chambers USA 2016 Guide.
  • Bill Jackson will be presenting to the Conference of Western Attorneys General on July 19, 2016 at its annual meeting in Sun Valley, Idaho.
  • Bill Jackson, John Gilmour and Micheal Dobbs will be co-chairing the Contaminated Sediments Program at the American Association of Port Authorities' Energy & Environment program in Vancouver, BC on September 13, 2016.
  • Will Petit and Kenny Corley were named "Texas Rising Stars" by Super Lawyers in 2016.
  • Bill Jackson and John Riley were named to "Texas Super Lawyers" for Environmental Litigation for 2015.
  • Bill Jackson was again named a "Top Rated Lawyer in Energy, Environmental and Natural Resources" in the American Lawyer and The National Law Journal for 2015.