For the past 40 years, Jeff Civins has enjoyed helping clients find pragmatic solutions to tough problems involving all aspects of environmental law, including counseling them on regulatory issues, helping them manage environmental risks in business transactions, and advocating on their behalf before agencies and courts. Having begun his professional career as a scientist and teacher, Jeff loves the challenge of making difficult things easy to understand and the opportunity to learn about technical topics—from groundwater hydrology to air dispersion modeling to toxicology—and about clients’ businesses—from oil and gas exploration and development, power plants, refineries, and chemical plants and other manufacturing facilities, to real estate sales, leasing, development, and financing.
Following a summer as an analytical chemist for a predecessor agency of EPA, Jeff began his teaching career as a graduate assistant at Penn State, teaching organic chemistry lab to undergraduates. He then taught science, chemistry, and earth science in New York City public and private schools before attending the University of Texas School of Law. Jeff resumed his teaching career as an adjunct professor at UT Law School in 1987, leading a seminar on Environmental Law Concerns to Business, and each spring since 1992 has taught a class on Environmental Litigation.
Jeff’s experience includes many diverse and high profile matters. For example, Jeff recently assisted a major multinational energy company address regulatory issues associated with its proposed development of a multi-billion dollar gas-to-liquids project on the Gulf Coast. He has also represented: American Airlines in its settlement with another airline in a bankruptcy proceeding regarding contamination at JFK Airport; a consortium of underwriters in counseling on environmental risks associated with the TXU buyout; the U.S. Department of Treasury in environmental due diligence of new General Motors; Penn Central Corporation in its settlement of a Superfund case involving a former battery manufacturing facility on the banks of the Hudson River; and the State of Texas in Clean Water Act enforcement litigation against an independent oil company involving numerous oil spills in six different states. Jeff also recently served as an expert witness for a major multinational energy company in a federal citizen suit regarding air quality compliance and for a leading power company in an administrative proceeding regarding environmental litigation related to its recently constructed coal-fired power plant.
Jeff’s love of learning and teaching is reflected in his many speaking engagements and articles and in his being frequently called on by media for his views on developing topics. Jeff is particularly well known for his roles as standing chair and organizer of the Texas Environmental Superconference, the premier environmental program in Texas, now in its 27th year, and as organizer and co-editor of the Thomson Reuters Texas Practice 2-volume treatise on Texas Environmental Law.
Jeff is a fellow of the select American College of Environmental Lawyers, a former chair of the Environmental and Natural Resources Law Section of the State Bar of Texas, and a member of the Advisory Board of UT’s Kay Bailey Hutchison Center for Energy, Law, and Business. In the community, Jeff’s passion for education has carried over to his commitment to the Central Texas Chapter of Communities In Schools, a non-profit that helps keep at-risk kids in school.
Selected Publications and Presentations
- "Texas Railroad Commission on Track to Address Quakes," Blog Post, American College of Environmental Lawyers, August 28, 2014.
- "Managing Environmental Risks," co-presenter, June 24, 2014.
- "Virtual RoundTable - Environmental Law 2014," Corporate LiveWire, 2014.
- "Has the Standard for Performing a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment Changed? Yes and No," Blog Post, American College of Environmental Lawyers, December 17, 2013.
- "Temporary contamination - Ain't that a non-compensable shame?" Blog Post, American College of Environmental Lawyers, December 12, 2013.
- "Environmental Aspects of Business Transactions," with B. Phillippi, Chapter 33, Volumes 45-46, Thomson Reuters Texas Practice, Environmental Law, 2013 and 2014.
- "Impacts of Federal Environmental Laws on Oil and Gas Production," with M. Mendoza, presentation and article, National Oil and Gas Royalty Conference, Houston, Texas, October 22, 2013.
- "Corporate Sustainability," with C. Davis, P. Braddock, and L. Burt, presentation, American College of Environmental Lawyers, Annual Meeting, Boston, MA, October 10-12, 2013.
- "Less Lessee Liability – A Critique of EPA’s New Superfund BFPP Guidance," Blog Post, American College of Environmental Lawyers, March 14, 2013.
- "Ethics for Energy Lawyers," with M. Mendoza, presentation and article, UTCLE Renewable Energy Institute, Austin, Texas, January 29-30, 2013.
- "The Expanding Controversy Over Shale Oil and Gas Development: Is It All It's Cracked Up To Be--Regulatory Overview and Responses to Fracing," with K. Golemon and K. Warren, presentation, American College of Environmental Lawyers, Annual Meeting, Washington, D.C., October 18-20 , 2012.
- "Shale Gas: Lessons and Implications of the American Experience for Europe - Perceived Environmental Concerns and U.S. Regulatory Responses," Webinar with Lawrence Graham, September 7, 2012.
- "Do states have an independent, fiduciary obligation under the 'Public Trust Doctrine' to protect air quality and to do so by regulating greenhouse gases?" Blog Post, American College of Environmental Lawyers, July 30, 2012.
- "Base fracking regulations on facts," Guest Commentary, Houston Business Journal, April 20, 2011, and Austin Business Journal, March 30, 2012.
- "Sack(ing)ett To The EPA," with M. Mendoza, Law 360, March 22, 2012.
- "Ground(water)-Breaking Decision," Law360, March 9, 2012.
- "Superfund's Transactional Defenses and the No Affiliation Prerequisite," with M. Mendoza, 239 Envtl. Due Diligence Guide (BNA) 231:2321, Jan. 2012 and Daily Envtl Report (BNA) March 9, 2012.
- "Drafting Real Estate Contracts to Address Environmental Concerns," with M. Mendoza, State Bar of Texas Advanced Real Estate Drafting Course, Irving, Texas, March 1, 2012.
- "Environmental Due Diligence and CERCLA All Appropriate Inquiry ("AAI") - The Three Bear Paradigm," Tarrant County Bar Association, March 25, 2011, presentation.
- "Environmental Laws Pertaining to Offshore Oil and Gas Operations," SMU Dedman School of Law, Dallas, Texas, March 11, 2011, presentation to representatives from Vietnamese Ministry of Justice.
- "Framework for the Environmental Regulation of the Use of Fossil Fuels for Energy Environmental Federalism: Background and Overview;" Essential Administrative and Environmental Law for Energy Projects Conference, University of Texas School of Law CLE program, November 18, 2010, Austin, TX, article and presentation.
- "The Practical Impacts of Burlington Northern," with M. Mendoza, American Bar Association Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources as part of "Environmental Issues in Region 6: Recent Developments and Hot Topics" June 14-15, 2010, presentation and paper.
- "Ethics and Sustainability," Air & Waste Management (A&WMA) Spring Environmental Law and Regulatory Symposium, Austin, Texas, April 15, 2010, presentation.
- "Public Participation, in the Development of Carbon-Related Projects, from Inception, through Transport to Injection," University of Texas CLE, Carbon and Climate Change, Austin, Texas (Feb. 17-18), panelist presentation and article.
- "Acquiring, Developing, and Disposing of Brownfields Sites," Environmental Regulation & Enforcement Conference, Washington D.C., January 21-22, 2010, panelist presentation and article - "Transactional Environmental Due Diligence - What diligence is due?" with M. Mendoza, January 5, 2010.