Mack, Elizabeth

Elizabeth E. Mack


Partner

 

Overview

As Chair of the Firm-wide Environmental Section – Real Estate and Corporate, Elizabeth Mack is the leader of a group of strong and dedicated environmental practitioners. Elizabeth has substantial experience in brownfield redevelopment, environmental compliance, and environmental litigation. Recognized in Chambers USA and named in The Best Lawyers in America for Environmental Law (among other publications), Elizabeth brings her depth of experience to state and federal environmental matters, including such diverse federal issues as the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, CERCLA, Endangered Species Act, RCRA, the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), NEPA, and the Safe Drinking Water Act. She is currently managing or overseeing environmental remediation activities at projects in more than 30 states through state run corrective action or voluntary programs. Known for keeping business interests in mind at all times, Elizabeth employs creative solutions to resolve environmental issues.

Elizabeth is also a member of the Firm’s Board of Directors. Additionally, she is a past Chair of the Litigation Section of the State Bar of Texas.

Elizabeth has been honored on numerous occasions for her pro bono work in the community, including being named "Outstanding Law Firm Pro Bono Coordinator" by the Dallas Bar Association. As part of her pro bono efforts, she has served on the Texas Supreme Court Task Force to Expand Legal Service Delivery to the Poor and is Chair of the Board of Directors of Texas Appleseed, a policy based pro-bono organization dedicated to providing equal access to justice.

Representative Experience

  • Environmental Transactional and Brownfield Redevelopment Work -- Elizabeth represents developers and institutions in a variety of transactions with an emphasis on analyzing and managing environmental risks and liabilities arising in the course of corporate, oil and gas, and lending transactions. Known for practicality and keeping business interests in mind, she also counsels clients regarding the environmental issues associated with the purchase, sale, and development of, and -- when circumstances dictate -- foreclosure on, all types of real estate, including contaminated "Brownfield" sites. Elizabeth facilitates in all environmental aspects of the transaction, from identifying environmental issues, to assessing risks, to recommending methods to manage risk and resolve issues, to developing documents and transactional structure to help reduce the potential for environmental liability. Elizabeth regularly analyzes environmental insurance policies and assists in securing appropriate insurance, where circumstances warrant.

  • Environmental Compliance Work -- Elizabeth is currently leading site remediation activities in a number of states, including Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland, North Carolina, Massachusetts, Minnesota, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, and Washington and working with the environmental agencies in each of those states to obtain the appropriate environmental resolution for each particular site, through, for example, brownfield programs, voluntary cleanup programs (VCP), voluntary remediation programs (VRP), corrective action programs, and under the Massachusetts Contingency Plan (MCP). She routinely retains and works with environmental consultants, engineers, LEPs, LSPs, and LSRPs. She works to obtain brownfield tax credits and incentives, where available. She is currently representing or has represented U.S. clients with respect to their international programs and policies, and has site remediation activities in Italy, the United Kingdom, Sweden, Germany, and France. Elizabeth has worked on remediation activities in numerous other states and in other countries. Additionally, she routinely works with the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) on wetlands permitting issues, and with the United States Environmental Protection Agency on PCB issues.

  • Environmental Permitting and Audits -- Elizabeth regularly represents clients with respect to permit issues, internal environmental audits, environmental risk management and mitigation, environmental training, and management of governmental and internal investigations. As part of her compliance work, Elizabeth has assisted manufacturers, plant operators, pipeline owners, energy generators and suppliers, transportation providers, and renewable energy concerns regarding development of industrial facilities, permit compliance issues, including state and federal air permitting, new source review, greenhouse gas permit review, acid rain permit review, 404 permits (wetlands), wastewater permits, SPCC plans, and endangered species review, as well as enforcement issues.
    Elizabeth is also currently counseling clients regarding hydraulic fracturing issues, including but not limited to United States Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) current drinking water studies, and disclosure issues.

  • Environmental Risk Management and Mitigation -- Elizabeth frequently works with environmental risk management and mitigation issues. She assesses environmental risk in all types of industries, from newspaper printing to real estate to oil and gas pipelines to manufacturing, and develops plans to eliminate or reduce the environmental risks.

  • Environmental Litigation -- Elizabeth is equally at home in the courtroom, in arbitration, and in dispute resolution. She resolved a major pipeline jet-fuel sub-surface release on Cape Cod, Massachusetts against the United States Department of Justice and private parties, and a legacy oil pollution case in Louisiana. She was lead counsel for an electric co-generator company in the appeal of the TCEQ's negative use determination (NUD) denying a pollution control exemption for heat recovery steam generators (HRSGs) in electricity production, obtaining a unanimous decision to overturn the NUD, which was affirmed on May 3, 2019 by the Texas Supreme Court in Texas Commission on Environmental Quality v. Brazos Valley Energy, LLC, Freeport Energy Center, LLC, and Freestone Power Generation, LLC. Following an EPA-issued Emergency Order under the Safe Drinking Water Act and subsequent appeals to the United States Courts of Appeals for the Third and Tenth Circuits, Elizabeth negotiated a resolution of alleged impacts of oil field operators on drinking water sources in Native American tribal lands. As lead counsel, Elizabeth defended an injunction action on NEPA and Endangered Species Act (ESA) issues in federal court in San Antonio. She has been lead trial lawyer in lawsuits against EPA, including but not limited to, SGH Enterprises v. US EPA, Nos. 11-1027, 11-1042, 11-1044, Samson Hydrocarbons Company v US EPA Nos 02-9510 and 02-9511 and one of the lead trial lawyers in United States v Trinity Marine Baton Rouge, No. 02-30295 (RCRA case in the Western District of Louisiana, appealed to the Fifth Circuit, complete defense victory) and Save Our Community v US EPA, 971 F.2d 1155 (Clean Water Act/wetlands issues). She represented Cooper Industries in the district court and the Fifth Circuit in Aviall Services, Inc. v. Cooper Industries, 263 F.3d 134 (2001), reversed en banc, 312 F.3d 677 (5th Cir. 2002), reversed, 543 U.S. 157 (2004), which created new law on CERCLA cost recovery actions. Elizabeth was also one of the lead counsel in the definitive case in the Fifth Circuit on environmental indemnity claims, Fina, Inc. v. ARCO, 200 F.3d 266 (2000). Elizabeth regularly represents clients in federal and state Superfund and cost recovery actions, both in agency negotiations and in court, and has served as chair of legal committees at such sites as the Region 9 EPA-led Casmalia Superfund Site in California.

  • NEPA -- Elizabeth regularly represents clients on National Environmental Policy Act issues. She has assisted gas pipeline owners, transportation authorities, and airlines in preparing and/or consulting on Environmental Assessments (EA) and Environmental Impact Statements (EIS). She works with consultants, federal and state resource agencies, and citizens groups to bring consensus, order, and speed to the NEPA process. Elizabeth has also been asked to step in later in the process to defend NEPA and environmental justice (Title VI) challenges before administrative agencies and in federal court and has brought those matters to resolution. Representative NEPA pipeline work includes consulting on EIS work associated with a natural gas pipeline in Colorado. Representative transportation matters include working with state and federal agencies, resource agencies, and local stakeholders on all components of the NEPA process, and on drafting and review of EAs and EISs for highway projects in Austin, Dallas, and San Antonio, Texas, and EA work associated with airport runway expansions.

  • Environmental Insurance Work -- As part of her risk analysis, Elizabeth counsels clients on environmental insurances matters, negotiates quotes and binds policies, and assists with claims management.

  • Environmental Indemnity Work -- Elizabeth has substantial experience on environmental indemnity issues. She is currently representing a client with respect to contractual indemnity issues related to 64 national and international manufacturing sites.

  • Property Condition Issues -- Elizabeth routinely advises clients on commercial and residential building management issues, including property condition assessments, indoor air quality (IAQ), mold, radon, asbestos (ACM), and lead based paint (LBP) issues. Among other things, she structures and manages programs for regular IAQ assessments of entire property portfolios and for one-off evaluations of indoor space based on specific concerns (all designed to mitigate risk and potential liability), advises on commercial and tenant relations, assists with development of and compliance with operations and maintenance (O&M) programs, and manages property condition abatement and remediation projects.

Professional History

  • Partner, Locke Lord LLP (1995 - Present)
  • Board of Directors, Locke Lord LLP (2011 - Present)
  • Chair, Environmental Section-Real Estate and Corporate, Locke Lord LLP (2007 - Present)
  • Chair, Real Estate and Finance Department, Locke Lord LLP (2017- 2019)
  • Vice Chair, Practice Development Committee of Locke Lord LLP (2009 - 2018)
  • Law Clerk, Honorable Sidney A. Fitzwater, United States District Judge for the Northern District of Texas (1988 - 1989)

Professional Affiliations and Recognitions

  • Board Member, Harvard Alumni Real Estate Board
  • Named, The Best Lawyers in America, Environmental Law (2013-2020)
  • Recognized in Chambers USA for Environmental Law (2009-2019)
  • Named, Who’s Who Legal: Environment (2016 to present)
  • Named, Super Lawyer, Corporate Counsel Edition of Super Lawyers for Environmental Law (2005-2019)
  • Named, Best Lawyers in Dallas, D Magazine (2015-2019)
  • Named in Top Rated Lawyers Guide to Energy, Environmental & Natural Resources Law by Corporate Counsel magazine

Community Leadership

  • Texas Appleseed (Board Member, 2007 – Present; Chair of the Board, 2016-2018)
  • Texas Supreme Court Task Force, Expanding Legal Services to the Poor (2006 - 2017)
  • Chair, Litigation Section, State Bar of Texas (8,000 members) (2008 - 2009)