The Texas Supreme Court will hear arguments Thursday over whether the state’s environmental agency has the authority to decide internally who can challenge water discharge permits, in a case closely watched by businesses that say the decision could potentially add significant cost and delay to the permitting process. >>
A team of Haynes and Boone, LLP lawyers, working with attorneys from Shearman & Sterling LLP, assisted Citigroup and Goldman Sachs on state regulatory and environmental aspects of two exchange offers for Energy Future Holdings Corp. (EFH) and Energy Future Intermediate Holding Company (EFIH) for $1.3 Billion in New Notes and an Unsecured Exchange Offer for $124 Million. >>
Purchasers and lessees of commercial or industrial properties know to obtain Phase I environmental site assessments to identify the presence of contamination - so-called recognized environmental conditions (RECs) - because of the very substantial liabilities these conditions may create. >>
In September 2013, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality updated its guidance on the use of the Texas Environmental, Health, and Safety Audit Privilege Act to reflect changes recently made by the 83rd Texas legislature to allow prospective purchasers of facilities to take advantage of the protections afforded by the Act. >>
Handling Environmental Issues in a Record Buyout
Four major institutional lenders to Texas utility TXU Energy
Early in 2007, one of the nation’s largest law firms asked Haynes and Boone to advise the lenders to TXU on the environmental issues involved with the utility’s plans to build 11 new coal-fired power plants. Our original assignment was to monitor Texas legislative and administrative law developments, as well as litigation, so that the lenders could decide how to proceed. However, TXU changed its plans and announced a record $45 billion buyout by private equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. (KKR), which involved dropping plans for eight of the 11 power plants.
The Haynes and Boone Solution
Once the buyout was announced, we continued to give guidance to all the lenders providing financing to KKR and its partner, Texas Pacific Group (TPG), for the buyout of TXU. In addition to our regulatory and legislative counsel, the firm’s environmental lawyers coordinated the work of colleagues from a number of other Haynes and Boone practice areas (such as real estate) to draft documents and conduct other due diligence activities. It was a 24/7 project in which client requests for assistance came at any time.
The buyout transaction received final approval and was completed in October of 2007. With the completion of the deal, TXU changed its name to Energy Future Holdings Corporation. When the Dallas Business Journal named the transaction its “2007 Deal of the Year,” Haynes and Boone was cited for our environmental, regulatory and real estate guidance.