Legal Experience

Selected Publications and Presentations

Carbon Trading Law and Practice (Oxford University Press 2011);

Vapor Intrusion Regulation in Texas, EDR Seminar, April 2016;
Wetlands Challenges and Use of Mitigation Bank Credits, Webinar, Lorman, May 17, 2013;
View from the Defense, Shale Gas and Hydraulic Fracturing: Defending or Pursuing Private Tort
Actions, Strafford Publishing Webinar, July 12, 2012;
Managing Environmental Risk for Successful Oil and Gas Shale Investment, EUIC Webinar, February
23, 2012;
Financing Shale Development: Managing Environmental Issues, Financier Worldwide, May 2012;
Regulation of Hydraulic Fracturing and Shale Gas Drilling, Bureau of National Affairs Webinar, May
3, 2011;
“Environmental Factors in Oil and Gas Operations," 2010 Advanced International Program in Oil
and Gas Financial Management, University of Texas at Dallas (May 2010);
“Environmental Regulation of Shale Gas Development,” Ecology and Environment seminar on the; Marcellus Shale, October 2009;
“Oil and Water: The Relationship of Groundwater and Oil and Gas Exploration and Production,” Oil,
Gas and Energy Resources Law (June 2008).

Honors and Awards

• Texas Super Lawyers, Environmental;
• Best Lawyers in Dallas, Dallas Magazine;
• Best Lawyers in America, Environmental, Dallas Environmental Lawyer of the Year (2010 and 2015);
• America’s Leading Lawyers for Business;
• Who's Who Legal: Texas.

The firm offers a range of legal services for businesses, nonprofits, and individuals.  We provide extensive experience and knowledge in legal issues relating to the environment, energy, and water.  The legal issues can involve contract, constitutional, regulatory, administrative, and other areas.  We pride ourselves on creativity and innovation in legal advice but also advising our clients in ways that help them develop their business and anticipate legal and economic developments that allow avoiding pitfalls and taking advantage of opportunities.

S Deatherage Law, PLLC


who we are

Scott Deatherage Dallas environmental attorney advises clients on a variety of environmental and energy matters. His practice focuses on permitting, compliance, administrative law and judicial litigation on a variety of environmental issues including air emissions, wastewater discharges, hazardous waste, hazardous substances and toxic substances.

Mr. Deatherage represents clients before local, state and federal environmental agencies, and state and federal courts. He has significant experience representing oil and gas, industry, finance and real estate clients with respect to environmental matters. In 29-years practicing in Texas, he has developed substantial expertise in environmental matters affecting the oil and gas industry, in
exploration and production, refining, pipeline and terminals, and marketing.

Mr. Deatherage has advised clients on natural gas power plant, biofuels, gas to liquid, wind, solar, and other renewable energy projects, including siting and environmental permits and other legal
issues, and has advised clients regarding government and utility incentives relating to renewable and energy efficiency projects, as well as property tax exemptions and abatement.

Mr. Deatherage has experience in water related matters including groundwater and surface water rights and allocations, groundwater and surface water leases and sales agreements, and water quality and wastewater discharge matters and permits.

He also advises clients in the areas of climate change and greenhouse gas regulation, including greenhouse gas reporting, state and federal level, greenhouse gas offsets and carbon credits, environmental and climate change disclosure and the EPA approach to regulating large sources of greenhouse gas emissions under the existing Clean Air Act.

Permitting and local government issues in terms of property tax abatement are key to siting facilities and infrastructure.  Mr. Deatherage has advised clients on permitting and siting of pipelines, transmission lines, power plants, wind and solar farms, refineries, chemical plants, among other facilities.


Harvard Law School, J.D., 1987, cum laude; University of Oklahoma, B.A., 1984, Highest Honors.

Representative Matters

•  Advised company on air emission issues with respect to petroleum refineries and petrochemical plants in Texas and Louisiana.

•  Represented clients in water rights dispute against upstream water permit holder, and in mediation with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.

•  Advised clients regarding vapor intrusion in property acquisitions and sales.

•  Advised clients with respect to power purchase agreements, engineering contracts, construction contracts, water supply contracts, and other legal negoitations in power generation projects, such as natural gas, solar, and wind.

•  Negotiated with regulatory agencies, including the TCEQ, regarding regulatory issues related to vapor intrusion requirement under Texas rules, Voluntary Cleanup Program, deed restrictions, disclosure to employees, tenants, and off-site landowners, and relevant action levels in buildings.

•  Represented client and negotiated water rights and water supply contracts in West Texas.

•  Advised client in water rights issues in property acquisition in Ohio.

•  Advised clients in purchases of power from utilities and retail electricity providers.

•  Represented transmission company in lawsuit brought by landowner under the US Endangered Species Act and the National Environmental Policy Act.

•  Worked with companies on energy efficiency issues, including contract negotiation, carbon credits, and federal tax incentives.

•  Advised defense contractor in Endangered Species Act compliance and permitting involving the Desert Tortoise at a facility in California.
•  Advised petroleum refinery on grandfathering issues under the Prevention of Significant Deterioration program to avoid potential enforcement action for failure to obtain federal permit.
•  Advised manufacturing plant in review of permitting authority for plant operations, allowing plant to avoid enforcement action for failure to renew permit and developed strategy to allow use of permits by rule to avoid individual permit.
•  Advised cabinet manufacturer in permitting strategy to avoid enforcement for failure to remain within permit limits for manufacturing plants and to obtain amended permits.
•  Advised foreign oil company in environmental due diligence in acquisition of petroleum refinery in Houston area, including review of ongoing enforcement action against current owner involving air emission permits; review of air emission permits for current and proposed plant modifications, and need and availability of emission offsets needed to operate plant in short term.

• Advised client regarding the potential liabilities and defenses for oil spill claims under the Oil Pollution Act, the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act, the Clean Water Act, and state and common law following the claims filed against BP and other parties after the
Macondo oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
• Represented international investor in $1.5 billion dollar investment in Marcellus Shale properties owned by a US oil and gas company; investment in non-operating working interest, advised client on and conducted environmental due diligence, status of
environmental regulation and litigation in shale plays, particularly in Pennsylvania and New York.
• Represented developer in permitting for five combined cycle natural gas power plants in Texas including state air emissions permits and EPA greenhouse gas permits.
• Represented oil company in litigation and government enforcement in oil spill to wetlands being developed as a wetlands mitigation bank.
• Represented oil company in sale of a propane storage facility.
• Represented oil company in dispute with large landowner objecting to seismic work on 10,000-acre ranch in South Texas challenging access under the Endangered Species Act and the wetlands regulations under the Clean Water Act. Engaged in expert engagement of
biologists in multiple disciplines, discovery, and negotiations with the US Army Corps of Engineers and the US Fish and Wildlife Service.
• Advised clients in biological and cultural resource issues under state and federal laws regarding pipeline rights of way in Texas and North Dakota.
• Advised client on environmental and other regulatory matters relating to the purchase of an interstate petroleum pipeline.
• Represented clients in carbon credit project development, trading arbitration and settlement.
• Advised oil refinery on the potential impact of future climate change legislation.
• Represented clients in air emissions permitting and enforcement matters, including new source review under the Prevention of Significant Deterioration Program and “major modification” issues.
• Negotiated options agreement for Latin American company with New York carbon credit investment firm.
• Represented clients in emission reduction credit purchase matters.
• Advised buyers, sellers and lenders regarding environmental liability issues in hundreds of oil and gas, real estate, pipeline, mining and manufacturing transactions and mergers and acquisitions of companies in these industries.
• Worked with other private attorneys and the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission to draft legislation that became the Texas Innocent Owner/Operator statute, and subsequently worked with this agency to develop regulations for implementation.
• Represented clients in toxic tort and property damage litigation, including groundwater contamination cases, an air emissions case with more than 800 plaintiffs and a case involving underground injection wells.
• Represented clients in judicial and administrative litigation in hazardous waste and CERCLA actions, including trial and appeal of case in which joint and several liability was avoided for the first time in a government cost recovery action under CERCLA.
• Represented client in RCRA enforcement action over classification of universal waste and large quantity generator status; convinced EPA that legal argument was lacking and enforcement action seeking over $100,000 in penalties should be dropped.
• Represented client in offshore oil platform Clean Water Act case and avoiding large fines and potential criminal prosecution of company; reducing potentially multi-million penalty to less than $100,000.
• Represented clients in judicial litigation in private property damage suits involving releases from petroleum storage tanks, including a class action suit involving several major oil companies in Texas.
• Advised numerous clients in Brownfield redevelopment projects on environmental due diligence, evaluation of potential liability risks and risk management techniques, review of contractual provisions and indemnities.
• Advised clients and negotiated coverage terms, conditions, and exclusions in environmental insurance policies.

Professional Affiliations

• Adjunct Professor, University of Texas at Austin, Climate Change Law Course;
• Member, Institute for Energy Law; former Chair, IEL Power and Alternative Energy Committee;
• Member, American Bar Association; former Chair, Environmental Disclosure Committee; Natural Resources Section; Administrative Law and Regulatory Practice Section; Environment, Energy, and Resources Section;
• Member, State Bar of Texas; Environmental and Natural Resources Law Section (selected to on the board of the Environmental Committee, 1998-2001); Member, Administrative Law Section;
• Member, Dallas Bar Association; Environmental Law Section Chair 1997, member of the Executive Council and various officer positions 1991-1997, Program Co-Chair 1996-1997;
• Member, Dallas Chamber of Commerce Environmental Committee;
• Member, Principal Solar Advisory Board;
• Former Texas Representative, State Law Advisory Committee for the Bureau of National Affairs Environmental Due Diligence Guide.