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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. Similarly, in certain circumstances, private parties may bring contribution claims for NRD.

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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  • As part of a team of civil lawyers working pro bono, Jackson Gilmour & Dobbs partner John Hagan obtained a landmark decision from the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals that fundamentally changes the process for certifying juveniles to stand trial as adults in the State of Texas.
  • Jackson Gilmour & Dobbs, PC has been selected as a 2015 "Best Law Firm" by U.S. News - Best Lawyers.
  • Victor Cardenas has been honored by the Barbara Jordan - Mickey Leland School of Public Affairs at Texas Southern University by being selected as an adjunct professor to teach a graduate level class in leadership and decision making.
  • Lori Warner has been named among "The Best Lawyers in America" in the Environmental practice area for 2015.
  • Bill Jackson has been honored as a leading Environmental Litigator by Chambers and Partners' 2014 Chambers USA Guide.
  • Bill Jackson has been named to "Texas Super Lawyers" again for 2014.
  • Will Petit has been recognized with the "Rising Star Award" by Texas Tech University School of Law for his exemplary contributions, service and leadership to the profession and law school.
  • Bill Jackson received the 2014 Dean's Award for outstanding service to the University of Houston Law School.
  • Will Petit and Kenny Corley were again named "Texas Rising Stars" by Super Lawyers.
  • Lori Warner and Bill Jackson were named "Top Rated Lawyers in Energy, Environmental and Natural Resources" in the American Lawyer and the National Law Journal.
  • Bill Jackson and Lori Warner were honored in the Texas Lawyer as "Top Rated Lawyers in Texas" and A/V preeminent by Martindale-Hubbell.
  • John Gilmour and Bill Jackson recently presented on litigating natural resource damages matters on behalf of State trustees at the Conference of Western Attorneys General Annual Meeting in July 2014.
  • Bill Jackson recently presented on Settlement Strategies and Enforcement in environmental and natural resource damages matters at Law Seminars International NRD Seminar July 2014.