NEW YORK – June 17, 2020 – Christopher L. Bell, of the global law firm Greenberg Traurig, LLP, is pleased to announce the completion of his five-year appointment as Independent Monitor overseeing Duke Energy’s compliance with a complex set of debarment and other agreements arising from Duke’s guilty plea to criminal misdemeanor violations of the Clean Water Act.
Duke, the largest energy utility in the United States, pled guilty in 2015 to nine misdemeanor counts of unlawfully discharging tens of thousands of tons of coal ash and coal-ash-impacted water into North Carolina waterways in 2014. The $102 million in criminal fines and other penalties in the case were the largest ever for a federal case in the state. Duke also entered into several s cleanup and related agreements following a hearing in May 2015 at the federal courthouse in Greenville, North Carolina, according to the Department of Justice. These were applicable to Duke’s operations nationwide.
As an Independent Monitor, Bell, a Shareholder in the firm’s Environmental Practice, resident in its Houston and Washington, D.C. offices, had several duties, including regularly reviewing and making recommendations about Duke’s overall ethics and compliance program and its environmental, health and safety management systems; verifying Duke’s compliance with various agreements, and tracking and evaluating Duke’s environmental, health and safety performance and responses to incidents. This effort included frequent site visits throughout Duke’s fleet and tracking Duke’s coal ash management and remediation activities.
Chris was assisted throughout this project by Environmental Practice Shareholder Jillian C. Kirn, and was also supported by David G. Mandelbaum, Co-Chair of the firm's Environmental Practice.
About Greenberg Traurig’s Environmental Practice: Greenberg Traurig’s Environmental Practice assists clients with issues arising under all the environmental and natural resource laws in the U.S., Europe and Asia. The firm’s environmental attorneys assist with securing permits and approvals; negotiating and closing transactions; defending clients in enforcement actions; handling a broad range of environmental and toxic tort litigation; providing compliance advice; preparing for and respond to emergencies; crafting approaches for legacy cleanup issues; evaluating and implement environmental, health and safety compliance and management systems, and developing solutions for product regulation, market access, and environmental policy challenges. Greenberg Traurig received a first-tier ranking in the "Environmental Law" and "Litigation — Environmental" categories in the U.S. News - Best Lawyers 2019 "Best Law Firms" report.
About Greenberg Traurig: Greenberg Traurig, LLP (GT) has approximately 2,200 attorneys in 41 locations in the United States, Latin America, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. GT has been recognized for its philanthropic giving, diversity, and innovation, and is consistently among the largest firms in the U.S. on the Law360 400 and among the Top 20 on the Am Law Global 100. Web: www.gtlaw.com Twitter: @GT_Law.