Overview

Paul Sarahan provides clients assistance on a wide variety of environmental, safety and transportation issues. Based in Holland & Knight's Austin office, Mr. Sarahan represents clients in the energy, chemical, manufacturing, transportation and retail industry sectors before federal, state and local agencies. He has more than 25 years of experience in the law, policy, regulation and commercial use of the environment.

Mr. Sarahan's key experience includes:

  • providing regulatory counseling
  • advising clients on environmental auditing
  • representing clients in cost recovery and remediation cases

Mr. Sarahan was formerly director of  the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality's (TCEQ) Litigation Division where his responsibility included:

  • representing  TCEQ in administrative, civil and criminal enforcement matters
  • managing TCEQ's Environmental Audit and Supplemental Environmental Project programs
  • advising TCEQ's Superfund, voluntary cleanup, petroleum storage tank (PST) and other remediation programs

Mr. Sarahan is well versed in handling civil and criminal enforcement, permitting, auditing, litigation, workplace safety, air quality, water rights, water quality, waste handling and disposal, and Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA or Superfund) matters.

In his practice, Mr. Sarahan represents clients before TCEQ and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), as well as before state environmental agencies in Louisiana, Mississippi, Florida, Georgia and Wyoming. He also has handled matters before the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), U.S. Coast Guard, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and Federal Railroad Administration (FRA).

Experience

  • Assisting a midstream oil and gas company on a number of issues over the last year, including environmental audits, air compliance issues, environmental regulatory interpretations (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA; Texas Commission on Environmental Quality or TCEQ; and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department), the negotiation and revision of master service agreements, nondisclosure agreements, transportation-related regulatory interpretation (Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, or PHMSA; and Texas Railroad Commission), safety-related regulatory interpretations (Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA)
  • Representing a client in defending the Central Texas quarry industry's grandfather status with respect to permitting requirements under the TCEQ's Edwards Aquifer rules
  • Assisted a grocery company on a series of environmental issues, including electronic manifesting for waste transportation and disposal, and defense of an enforcement action by the TCEQ in the wake of Hurricane Harvey
  • Assisting a hotel company in a series of environmental audits
  • Serving as a subject matter witness on environmental compliance history issues in a hotly contested wastewater permitting hearing
  • Prepared comments on behalf of an industry group and testified before the EPA on the EPA's proposed rule addressing Petroleum Refinery Sector Risk and Technology Review and New Source Performance Standards
  • Represented clients in civil and criminal environmental enforcement actions brought by local governments
  • Represented clients in administrative enforcement actions brought by the TCEQ and the EPA
  • Assisted clients in developing and implementing environmental audit programs addressing air, water, waste, and Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) issues
  • Represented clients in Superfund matters
  • Represented a shipping company to address environmental issues with the U.S. Coast Guard and TCEQ in response to a maritime accident
  • Advised a concrete company on TCEQ's air permitting requirements
  • Advised a trade association regarding TCEQ's interpretation of water rights rules during drought conditions
  • Successfully represented a municipal utility district in defending against an appeal of its water rates
  • Advised a waste disposal company regarding the applicability of TCEQ's permitting requirements to its wastewater operations
  • Successfully defended a concrete company against criminal charges alleging unauthorized discharges to water
  • Assisted an estate on remediation of its former gas station facility through TCEQ's state lead program
  • Represented clients in Superfund matters, including formation of a potentially responsible parties (PRP) group and the expansion of that group to minimize the clients' total cost of remediation
  • Successfully obtained the dismissal of a client from Superfund litigation
  • Represented a chemical company in handling a criminal investigation; succeeded in avoiding criminal charges and all civil and administrative enforcement actions were dropped

  • Represented a petrochemical facility in emergency response activities related to multiagency investigations and enforcement actions
  • Advised various oil and gas operations on Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) enforcement matters, including investigations related to operations in the Barnett Shale, air permitting matters, emissions inventory issues, greenhouse gas reporting requirements and U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) registration requirements
  • Advised various pipeline operations on Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) enforcement matters
  • Advised a midstream oil and gas company on Quad Z, Quad J, Quad O and Quad Oa issues
  • Advised refinery, chemical and midstream oil and gas operations regarding various air issues, including Title V compliance, emission event reporting requirements, permitting and greenhouse gas reporting requirements
  • Represented a power plant in seeking a reversal of a negative use determination on an application for an environmental tax exemption

  • Represented waste facilities in administrative permitting hearings, and in related state district court litigation
  • Represented a chemical facility in handling an emergency response incident, including a site investigation by federal, state and local governmental agencies, and subsequent personal injury lawsuits and an environmental enforcement action
  • Represented chemical facilities on Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)  enforcement actions
  • Advised clients on Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requirements

  • Assisted buyers, sellers and lending institutions in evaluating environmental issues, assessing potential liabilities, and creating solutions that provide a path for transactions to proceed to closing
  • Assisted a transportation company in an environmental due diligence review of more than 200 of its facilities as part of its negotiation of a renewal of a credit agreement
  • Advised a lending institution on environmental issues, including applicable remediation requirements; and the likely expenses and time associated with that remediation, as related to property that was the subject of the proposed transaction
  • Assisted in the representation of an industry consumers group contesting proposed electricity rate increases in Mississippi, Texas and New Mexico

  • Advised on the negotiation of a master services agreement addressing the handling, transport, delivery and pump-out of refrigeration grade anhydrous ammonia supplies, including insurance, indemnity, compliance, and representations and warranties
  • Advised on the establishment of a system for the collection, management, transportation and disposal of hazardous or state-regulated waste generated in association with the operation of a grocery or pharmacy
  • Advised on the negotiation of a master services agreement addressing the transportation, treatment, storage, incineration, recycling, management and/or disposal of water products generated in association with the operation of a grocery or pharmacy
  • Advised on the applicability of Tier II hazardous chemical inventory reporting requirements to a grocery facility
  • Developed a compliance plan to ensure that a grocery facility no longer triggered Tier II hazardous chemical inventory reporting requirements
  • Successfully represented a grocery store in a civil enforcement action by a local government alleging violations of storm water and waste disposal requirements
  • Advised on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) regulation of articles under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) and the applicability of the EPA's reporting requirements under TSCA
  • Advised on a grocery store's compliance with petroleum storage tank requirements related to its operation of gas stations at its facilities
  • Advised on the shipping of nonhazardous pharmaceuticals
  • Advised on state and federal packaging and labeling requirements applicable to store brand pesticides
  • Advised on the handing, collection, storage, transportation and disposal of off-spec or damaged products that may be subject to state or federal regulation as hazardous waste
  • Advised on compliance with EPA's e-Manifest program
  • Advised on a state administrative enforcement action regarding alleged air violations from a food manufacturing facility
  • Advised on a state administrative enforcement action regarding alleged stormwater and water quality violations from a food manufacturing facility
  • Advised on a local government's administrative enforcement action regarding alleged stormwater violations from a food manufacturing facility
  • Advised on a facility-wide environmental compliance audit, addressing air, water and waste issues, at a food manufacturing facility
  • Advised a food manufacturing facility regarding its compliance with Tier II hazardous chemical inventory reporting requirements, including its participation in EPA's small business audit disclosure program
  • Advised a food manufacturing facility on its appeal of a state environmental compliance history rating
  • Advised a food manufacturing facility with respect to its application for a stormwater permit
  • Advised clients on EPA's pharmaceutical waste regulations

Credentials

Education
  • University of Houston Law Center, LL.M., Environmental, Energy and Natural Resources Law
  • The University of Texas School of Law, J.D., with honors
  • The University of Texas at Austin, B.B.A., Finance
Bar Admissions/Licenses
  • Texas
Court Admissions
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
  • U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas
Memberships
  • 2020 Women on Boards, Austin – Host Committee; Awards and Program Subcommittees, 2019
  • College of the State Bar of Texas
  • State Bar of Texas, Environmental and Natural Resources Law Section
  • State Bar of Texas, Administrative and Public Law Section
  • The University of Texas, Chancellor's Council
Honors & Awards
  • Chambers USAAmerica's Leading Business Lawyers guide, Environment, 2017, 2019
  • The Best Lawyers in America guide, Environmental Law, 2016, 2018-2020
  • Texas Super Lawyers magazine, 2014-2019
  • The Legal 500 USA, Energy: Regulatory, 2015

Publications

Speaking Engagements

News