Overview

Andy Sawula relies on his wide range of experience and broad perspective to guide clients through the often complex maze of environmental and natural resources laws. 

Effective counseling does not begin and end with the law.  Andy knows that understanding a client’s operations and its business objectives is an important step in solving its problems. His clients value that perspective when they ask him for counsel on their most challenging problems.            

Clients rely on Andy to guide them through compliance and permitting issues arising under numerous environmental laws. Andy is well versed in the remediation and redevelopment of contaminated sites, including complex urban river sediment sites. He also has significant experience designing and implementing procedures to comply with the New Source Review and New Source Performance Standards programs. 

When disputes arise, Andy has a strong track record of successful outcomes before state and federal courts and administrative hearing boards on matters such as Superfund cost recovery and contribution claims and Clean Air Act enforcement actions. Some of these lawsuits focus squarely on the interpretation of an environmental law. Others turn on the resolution of contract disputes, confidentiality claims or trade secret claims. 

In addition to compliance counseling and litigation, Andy regularly helps clients in other administrative and transactional settings. Andy guides clients responding to government information requests, such as requests under Section 114 of the Clean Air Act, Section 104(e) of CERCLA, and Sections 308 and 311 of the Clean Water Act. Andy advocates clients’ interests in administrative rulemakings, and he represents buyers, sellers and lenders in a variety of transactional settings, including transactions that are designed with the primary purpose of transferring environmental liabilities.

Andy is a member of the firm’s Diversity Committee, co-chair of the Attorneys with Disabilities Subcommittee, and also serves as chair of the Veterans Subcommittee.

  • Experience

    New Source Review and Opacity Litigation

    • Andy represents the operator of several coal-fired power plants in Illinois in an enforcement action filed in federal district court that alleges violations of New Source Review, the Illinois opacity standards, and Title V of the Clean Air Act. Early in the case, the district court dismissed nine of the ten New Source Review claims and related Title V claims. When the government appealed the dismissal of the New Source Review claims to the U.S. Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit, the court unanimously affirmed the dismissal and denied a subsequent petition for rehearing.
    • Andy represents the operator of a coal-fired power plant in Illinois in defense of a citizen suit filed in federal district court alleging violations of the Illinois opacity standards, particulate matter emission limitations, and the plant’s operating permit.
    • Andy successfully defended the operator of a coal-fired power plant in Pennsylvania from a New Source Review enforcement action. The district court dismissed the action, and the U.S. Court of Appeals, Third Circuit, subsequently unanimously affirmed the dismissal.           

    Cost Recovery Litigation and Site Remediation

    • Andy represents a client engaged in the Lower Passaic River Restoration Project, the pilot project for the Urban Rivers Restoration Initiative. The Project involves the study and potential remediation and restoration of the lower 17 miles of the Passaic River in New Jersey, which is part of the Diamond Alkali Superfund Site. This site is uniquely complex and challenging on both a technical and political level—addressing centuries of contamination in a tidally influenced urban river. Andy has actively participated on the steering committee for the PRP group since the group’s formation in 2004. Andy’s related defense of a cost recovery suit in New Jersey state court connected to the Passaic River and the broader Newark Bay Complex resulted in a settlement. Andy served on the management and settlement negotiation committees of a joint defense group of more than 100 third-party defendants.
    • Andy guided a utility company that remediated creek sediments impacted by historic discharges from a manufactured gas plant in Indiana through the investigation and clean-up phases leading to a completion letter from U.S. EPA. He also successfully negotiated an agreement regarding contributions for clean-up costs with another responsible party.

    Permitting

    • Over the last three years, Andy has represented the owners or operators of approximately 20 coal and gas-fired power plants in Illinois in appeals of their Title V operating permits, numerous construction permit appeals, and negotiation of updates to their permits.
    • Andy represented a gas pipeline company in connection with two permit appeals concerning natural gas compressor stations that it operated in Indiana. The Indiana permitting authority had issued permits for making physical changes to two of its stations, and was in the process of issuing a permit authorizing similar changes to a third station. The company, however, had completed those changes prior to the issuance of the permits. Andy persuaded the State that none of those changes required such permits and secured the State’s agreement to rescind the permits it had previously issued.

    Transactional

    • Andy represented a company in the transfer of environmental liabilities associated with 10 of the company’s former manufacturing facilities, and negotiated the terms of an environmental insurance policy to backstop the transaction.
  • Credentials

    Education

    • Northwestern Pritzker School of Law, J.D., 2002, cum laude
    • University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, B.M.E., 1999, high honors

    Bar Admissions

    • Illinois
    • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
    • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
    • U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois
    • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
    • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana

        Professional Memberships

        • American Bar Association
          • Section of Administrative Law and Regulatory Practice, Member
          • Section of Environment, Energy and Resources, Member
          • Section of Litigation, Environmental and Energy Litigation Committee, Newsletter Co-Editor

        Languages Spoken & Fluency

        • Ukrainian, Conversant
      • Insights

        TITLE
        Blog Post

        EPA Completes Reconsideration of “Project Aggregation” Final Action

        Schiff Hardin Energy & Environmental Law Adviser

        Event

        2018 Annual Air Quality Management Conference

        Air & Waste Management Association Lake Michigan States Section

        Location:
        Oakbrook Terrace, Ill.
        Event

        Roles of the Client/Attorney/Consultant/Insurance in Managing Environmental Issues

        Air & Waste Management Association, 2018 Annual Waste Conference

        Location:
        Chicago, Ill.
        Blog Post

        EPA Updates Cross-State Air Pollution Rule for the 2008 Ozone NAAQS

        Schiff Hardin Energy & Environmental Law Adviser

        Blog Post

        Other Publications

        • "Tips for Young Lawyers Working with Experts," from Sound Advice (podcast), ABA Section of Litigation, Environmental Litigation (May 25, 2016)
        • “Clean Air Act Cases Involving the New Source Review Program,” from Sound Advice (podcast), ABA Section of Litigation, Environmental Litigation (Dec. 7, 2012)
        • “USEPA Proposes to Retain Current GHG Thresholds in Step 3 of the Tailoring Rule Social Media Tools,” Power Engineering (Jul. 2012)

        Speeches & Presentations

        • “2018 Annual Air Quality Management Conference,” Air & Waste Management Association Lake Michigan States Section, Oakbrook Terrace, Ill. (Oct. 30, 2018)
        • “Roles of the Client/Attorney/Consultant/Insurance in Managing Environmental Issues,” Air & Waste Management Association, 2018 Annual Waste Conference, Chicago, Ill. (May 23, 2018)
        • “Clean Air Act Issues Arising under EPA’s Next Generation Compliance Initiative and Fence-Line Monitoring Rules," (co-presenter) Illinois State Bar Association’s 15th Annual Environmental Law Conference, Chicago, Ill. (May 5, 2016)
        • “Case Study – Remote Monitoring Issues," (co-presenter) Air & Waste Management Association 2015 Air Quality Management Conference, Oakbrook Terrace, Ill. (Nov. 4, 2015)
        • “In the Age of Transparency – NGO Influence on Environmental Regulation and Public Perception," RMEL’s 112th Annual Executive Leadership and Management Fall Convention, Kansas City, Mo. (Sep. 22, 2015)
        • “Environmental Enforcement Litigation and the Rise of the NGO,” (co-presenter) 20th Annual FERC Briefing, Chicago, Ill. (May 15, 2014)
        • “Identifying Plant Closure & DDD Risks – Avoiding Environmental and Real Property Liabilities and Legal Pitfalls,” Primer:  Risk Management and Mitigation in Power Plant Closures, Chicago, Ill. (May 14, 2014)
        • “Hot Issues for Power Purchase Agreements in 2014,” (co-presenter) 20th Annual FERC Briefing, Electric Cooperative Edition, Westminster, Colo. (May 9, 2014)
        • “NSR Appellate Decisions – What the Recent Third, Sixth and Seventh Circuit Decisions Mean for the NSR Program,” (moderator) ABA Section of Litigation Roundtable Teleconference (Mar. 17, 2014)
        • “Electric Generation at a Crossroads: Environmental Drivers,” 19th Annual FERC Briefing, Electric Cooperatives and Public Power Edition, Westminster, Colo. (May 22, 2013)
        • “Legal Issues in Decommissioning: Dealing with Environmental and Real Property Obligations,” Plant Decommissioning, Decontamination and Demolition Summit, New Orleans, La. (May 8, 2013)
      • Citizenship

        Pro Bono Activities

        Andy routinely represents pro bono clients with a variety of legal needs, most recently representing a client through the National Immigrant Justice Center.

      Energy and Environmental Law Adviser

      EPA Completes Reconsideration of “Project Aggregation” Final Action

      Last week, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) completed its reconsideration of a January 2009 final action on “project aggregation.” Project aggregation is the concept that addresses when to combine nominally separate physical or operational changes at a stationary source to determine whether the changes trigger New Source Review (NSR) permitting requirements under the Clean... Continue Reading

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