Practice Areas

Wright & Associates PLLC is a specialized law firm with a strong focus on energy, environmental law, and regulatory and compliance issues. As a streamlined organization with deep knowledge of the industry and relevant law, we move quickly and offer highly responsive counsel for your most sensitive legal needs. We're not just lawyers that sit behind the desk--we are there for you when and where you need us. behind the scenes or up front, boots on the ground, or off the ground.

REGULATORY EXPERTISE

Our firm has extensive experience with U.S. and Canadian regulations, including handling matters that fall under the jurisdiction of PHMSA, BSEE, FERC, EPA, FMCSA, OSHA, Public Service Commissions, The National Energy Board and Transport Canada. Our attorneys have specialized experience in:
• Environmental and Regulatory Matters for Natural Gas and Hazardous Liquids Pipelines and Facilities
• Onshore and offshore regulations and commercial contracts
• Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) inspections, audits and enforcement
• Control Room Management (CRM) Rule
• PHMSA Special Permits
• Propane regulations (NFPA 54 & 58) and litigation
• Transportation of Hazardous Materials
• Environmental Permitting
• NFPA Standards
• PHMSA, OSHA, EPA Inspections and Audits

COMPLIANCE AUDITS

We handle sensitive compliance audits and investigations to help clients identify issues and mitigate risk. We provide training compliance with the Pipeline Safety Act and Environmental regulations. We assist clients with the development of management systems and audit protocols and conduct privileged audits to help companies improve internal controls to reduce enforcement risk and minimize safety and environmental impacts. We conduct audits of pipeline safety programs, train client personnel, and assist clients with preparation for PHMSA and state agency audits.

ENVIRONMENTAL LAW

We have expertise in a wide range of environmental issues. Our primary experience includes managing ongoing legal duties related to spills and releases, managing legacy contamination, environmental issues arising from operations and construction, and identifying environmental risks for companies operating or acquiring facilities.
We can assist you with:
• Clean air and water regulation
• Toxic substance (TSCA) regulation, including the PCB Mega Rule
• Chemical regulation
• Contaminated real estate
• Environmental litigation
• Natural resource damages
• Solid/hazardous waste
• Toxic tort and exposure litigation
Transportation of hazardous materials regulations

OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY

We help employers navigate the complex occupational health and safety regulations with pragmatic advice and hands-on assistance with inspection and enforcement matters. The Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) and state occupational safety and health laws provide considerable regulation and compliance obligations over a wide variety of workplaces. In addition, other federal and state environmental laws also impact business worksites. We provide:
• Assistance with compliance obligations under workplace safety laws, standards and regulations, including advice regarding specific industry or construction OSHA standards
• Active management and participation in workplace safety and environmental audits
• Provision of detailed advice on compliance and risk reduction strategies
• Training for management staff with respect to practical management of safety issues, including regulatory compliance
• Preparation of safety and environmental compliance handbooks, policies and programs
• Counseling during OSHA and state agency investigations
Representation of employers in connection with employee whistleblower claims

LITIGATION

We have handled litigation in 14 states in both federal and state court for clients in matters arising from pipeline and propane incidents. We manage complex origin and cause and root cause failure investigations as well as post-incident compliance audits and provide the tools to assist clients with organizational and procedural changes.

GENERAL COUNSEL

We provide clients general legal services involving day to day issues facing most businesses that are typically handled by an in-house attorney but which, because of the size of the company or volume of work require assistance of outside counsel.

TRAINING

We perform internal training on all of the pipeline safety regulatory programs - distribution integrity management, transmission integrity management, emergency management, public awareness, control room management, operator qualification and damage prevention. In addition we (annually if not twice annually) provide a course on ‘advanced pipeline safety’ regulations, which touches on each program.

Due Diligence and Integration for Acquisitions and Mergers

Wright & Associates conducts Environmental and Regulatory Due Diligence for oil and gas pipeline owners and operators pre-acquisition. These efforts provide critical information to understand the target company's potential liability for PHMSA and state enforcement and required upgrades; past environmental contamination issues on land owned or facilities operated by the target company; past non-compliance with environmental and pipeline safety laws and regulations; and costs going forward to comply with post-closing environmental compliance obligations.


We assist new owners with navigating the applicable regulations and implementing effective frameworks to ensure compliance and provide advice on establishing environmental reserves for known liabilities.

Post-Incident Investigation

Assist clients in managing privileged failure investigation and assist clients in developing and implementing corrective actions to minimize recurrence and comply with 49 CFR Part 192 and Part 195. We investigate how the incident may have been avoided, whether there were procedural or safety practice gaps that caused the incident or contributed to the severity of the consequences. We assist clients in developing plans to adequately address the potential that the failure will occur elsewhere in their system and properly document effective actions to address risk.