Higdon, Gerald D. (Jerry)

Gerald D. (Jerry) Higdon


Partner

 

Overview

Jerry Higdon is an experienced environmental lawyer with 29 years of experience representing private and public parties in avoiding, managing, and resolving environmental liabilities and facilitating environmental sustainability solutions through brownfields redevelopment and the development and scaling of renewable energy. Known for his pragmatism and imagination in solving environmental problems, his work on behalf of clients extends throughout the country. Jerry is a long-time member of the Houston and Texas environmental legal community, and thus regularly advises members of the energy industry regarding management of environmental issues affecting the renewables/alternative, upstream, midstream, and downstream energy sectors. Of late, his practice has had particular emphasis upon the gathering, disposal, re-use and recycling of produced water and other oil and gas wastes.

As a lawyer recognized for years in both Chambers USA and The Best Lawyers in America for his extensive environmental experience, Jerry routinely defends clients in state and federal environmental enforcement proceedings, develops and implements environmental permitting and planning strategies to facilitate a client’s more rapid response to its changing business climate and growth opportunities, and assesses, structures, and negotiates the allocation of environmental risk affecting transactions. Jerry also represents potentially responsible parties at federal and state Superfund facilities, counsels on cost-effective and efficient remediation strategies, assists in the review and modification of operations to address environmental compliance issues for manufacturing, industrial, or waste disposal facilities, and represents clients in litigation and other disputes regarding responsibility for environmental liabilities.

Representative Experience

  • Advising regarding the environmental regulatory aspects of the acquisition or divestiture of salt water gathering and disposal facilities
  • Analyzing and structuring an air permitting strategy for waste-to-energy facilities to be co-located at numerous industrial facilities in multiple jurisdictions
  • Environmental permitting for the recovery of methane from closed municipal solid waste facilities for beneficial re-use as an energy supply for industrial operations
  • Devising regulatory remediation strategies to "upgrade" the closure of previously remediated properties from commercial cleanup standards to residential cleanup standards
  • Representing a publicly traded power producer in the acquisition and due diligence of several hydro-electric facilities in the northeastern United States
  • Coordinating the due diligence, risk management and regulatory remediation strategies to permit the development of former oilfields
  • Leading the team to obtain the first Municipal Setting designation in Katy, Texas
  • Structuring facility closure strategies to reduce environmental liability and maximize value of emission reduction credits associated with emission sources
  • Representing international manufacturers in connection with the registration, sale, distribution and marketing of products with anti-microbial or pesticidal properties in compliance with Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act requirements
  • Representing an international oilfield service provider in assessing and managing multi-jurisdictional regulatory and residual environmental liability issues associated with entry into hydraulic fracturing business markets
  • Representing an international oilfield service company in developing management strategies for Naturally Occurring Radioactive Materials (NORM)
  • Leading the effort to obtain the first Municipal Setting Designation Certificate issued by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality for property in Houston, Texas
  • Defending a construction contractor against a Department of Justice enforcement action for alleged Clean Water Act violations
  • Representing a party purchasing and re-developing a former state superfund site for commercial operation
  • Analyzing effects of and opportunities under potential United States climate change regulation for an international company recently investing in the domestic utility provider market
  • Leading the team to obtain a Municipal Setting Designation to permit the Brownfields re-development of an approximately 40-acre former rail yard near downtown Houston for potential residential/mixed-use
  • Defending a utility service contractor against a criminal enforcement action for the alleged unauthorized disposal of solid waste
  • Defending a manufacturer against alleged criminal water pollution violations
  • Defending international oilfield service company against alleged violations of the Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act (EPCRA)
  • Siting and environmental permitting for propylene and bio-diesel facilities on or near the Houston Ship Channel
  • Coordinating the defense of a regional lumber company against simultaneous criminal enforcement proceedings, administrative cleanup actions and private civil lawsuits arising from the alleged disposal of wood treating wastes
  • Representing a local government corporation in the expedited remediation of a former pesticide distribution facility slated to become the location of a new hotel, so that construction and occupancy could remain on schedule
  • Representing an international oil field services company in an environmental indemnity dispute involving manufacturing, mining and storage facilities around the country and abroad. The case settled during the third week of trial.
  • Environmental permit modifications to facilitate the residential re-development of property overlying closed construction and demolition waste facilities
  • Coordinating the expedited environmental remediation of industrial property to permit the expansion of green space and linear parks as part of the renewal of Houston’s signature waterway, Buffalo Bayou

Professional History

  • Partner, Locke Lord LLP
  • Partner, Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP (2006-2009)
  • Partner, Locke Liddell & Sapp LLP (2004-2006; 1998-2001)
  • Partner, Higdon & Holt LLP (2003-2004)
  • Law Office of Gerald D. Higdon (2002)

Professional Affiliations and Recognitions

  • Named to Houstonia Magazine Top Environmental Lawyers of 2013
  • Member, Houston Bar Association, Environmental Section
  • Member, Environmental & Natural Resources Section, State Bar of Texas
  • Named, The Best Lawyers in America, Environmental Law since 2008
  • Named, Chambers USA: America's Leading Business Lawyers, Environmental Law (2009-2019)

Community Leadership

  • Member, Association of Chemical Industry of Texas