Rod Johnson’s practice covers environmental, health, and safety counseling on permitting, compliance, enforcement, auditing, due diligence, rulemaking and legislative initiatives with a particular emphasis on air quality new source review and Title V operating permit issues before the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. He has also represented clients before the Occupational Safety and Health Administration on compliance and enforcement activities involving, among other areas, process safety management (PSM) compliance.
As a staff attorney for the former Texas Air Control Board and TNRCC (now, Texas Commission on Environmental Quality), Mr. Johnson handled air quality permitting, rulemaking, and administrative and civil-judicial enforcement matters. His experience includes serving as the enforcement coordinator for all air quality enforcement matters in the commission’s Legal Services Division. On leaving the State's environmental regulatory agency, Mr. Johnson joined the environmental practice at a nationally recognized energy law firm headquartered in Houston, Texas, and later became a partner in a long standing environmental practice of a major regional litigation firm headquartered in Austin, Texas.
Rod has representative clients in the following industries: Electric Power Generation; Oil & Gas; Chemical Manufacturing; Refining; Energy Efficiency, Alternative and Renewable Energy; Iron and Steel Production; Ship Building and Repair; and Construction.
- Represented client in application and administrative contested case hearing on an application for all necessary air quality preconstruction permits for a green-field 800 megawatt coal-fired electric generating facility with a CO2 capture unit.
- Obtained necessary air quality preconstruction permits for a green-field chemical manufacturing plant including state new source review (NSR), federal prevention of significant deterioration (PSD) review; federal non-attainment new source review; and case-by-case maximum achievable control technology (MACT) hazardous air pollutant determination permit.
- Obtained draft preconstruction air quality permits for green-field natural gas-fired combined cycle electric generating plants.
- Obtained necessary preconstruction air quality permit from TCEQ for frac sand mining operation.
- Successfully negotiated favorable settlement with OSHA involving willful violations resulting in significant reduction in penalty and abatement requirements.
- Defended against numerous TCEQ and EPA enforcement actions and activities for various clients, including complete withdrawal of allegation for failure to obtain preconstruction permit.
- Developed successful strategies to shorten permitting time frame and address outstanding compliance obligations for modifications to existing facilities.
- Represented clients in successfully obtaining Single Property Designations from the TCEQ for air quality regulatory purposes.
- Represented client in PSD review for major production increase at steel manufacturing plant.
- Represented multiple clients in retroactive PSD reviews and permitting for modifications at manufacturing facilities and associated state and federal enforcement actions.
- Represented clients on site-specific revisions to Texas State Implementation Plan (SIP).
- Represented client on Clean Air Act general conformity determination for federally funded port project.
- Represented multiple clients on voluntary environmental compliance self-audits and disclosures to regulatory agencies.
Presentations, Publications & Activities
- Clean Air Act Update, Texas Environmental Superconference, 2011, Presenter and Author
- What To Do If You Don't Like Your Air Permit Language, Texas Chemical Counsel and Associated Chemical Industries of Texas, Environmental, Health & Safety Seminar, June 2009, Presenter and Author
- The Impact of Environmental Regulation on the Siting of New U.S. Petroleum Refineries, American Bar Association Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources Newsletter, July/August 2008, Author
- Current Directions in Regulating Nanotechnology, Zephyr Currents, January 2007, Author
- Ethical Considerations When Attorneys Submit and Certify Complex Factual Statements: How Much Diligence is Due?, University of Texas Advanced Administrative Law Conference, July 2006, Presenter
- Air Quality Panel, Texas Environmental Superconference, 2004, Moderator
- American Bar Association Air Quality Committee Newsletter, 2000-2001, Regional Reporter
- Environment, Energy and Resource Law Year in Review, American Bar Association, 1999 and 2000, Reviewer
- Clean Air Act Primer, Government Institutes, July 1999, Presenter and Author
Admitted to Practice
- University of Houston Law Center, Houston, Texas
- - J.D. and Licensed, 1991
- Rice University
- - B.A., Geology and Geophysics, 1986
Professional and Community Activities
- State Bar of Texas (Administrative and Public Law Section, Environmental and Natural Resources Section)
- Austin Bar Association – Environmental Law Section CLE Committee, Chair
- American Bar Association (Administrative Law and Regulatory Practice Section, Section of Environment, Energy and Natural Resources)
- Air & Waste Management Association
- Front Steps, Board Member
- Volunteer Legal Services of Central Texas, Volunteer
Awards and Recognition
- Best Lawyers in America 2009 - 2016
- Chambers and Partners USA: 2010 - 2013 (Environment, Band 2)
- Texas Monthly Super Lawyers, 2012 - 2013