Decades of Experience Representing the Coal Industry, Coal Mining Companies and Utilities, at Home and Abroad


With more than a century of experience in the coal arena, Hunton Andrews Kurths’s coal practice assists utilities and coal companies with the complex regulatory, transactional, and litigation challenges spanning the industry. Our team continues to be at the forefront of emerging environmental issues with diverse skills ready to help clients’ develop and implement sophisticated strategies to achieve business objectives and manage the many commercial and legal challenges they face domestically and abroad. The issues facing the coal industry today are similar to those that have played out in other industry sectors, and we apply these lessons learned to the current needs of our clients.

Our team understands how laws and policies foster or promote certain industries over others, and draw on our administrative law and litigation experience to further our clients’ interests in Washington, DC, and around the country. Several key challenges remain for the coal industry, including regulatory pressures, opposition campaigns, limitations on the capacity of export facilities, bankruptcy claims, climate change concerns, decommissioning challenges and increased issues associated with permitting, compliance, transactional due diligence, regulatory development, and enforcement defense and related litigation, particularly in regards to the management and disposal of residuals (including coal ash) resulting from the combustion of coal. This complex terrain requires a progressive perspective and strategic approach, which our attorneys have significant experience providing.

We have recently assisted clients in addressing an array of current challenges facing the coal industry, from working on the largest chapter 11 bankruptcy claim filed in the Eastern District of Virginia to public-private partnership advice, black lung claims and conversion of coal-fired plants to biomass. Moreover, over the past several years, our attorneys have been heavily involved in navigating and litigating complex issues related to coal ash and other coal combustion residuals, including defending companies in dozens of enforcement actions and citizen suits brought under the Clean Water Act and Resource Conservation and Recovery Act.

Additionally, we work with clients to help diversify portfolios, assist in the development of regulations for clean technologies, and advise on decommissioning of power plants, all while we continue to advise on a broad range of business issues involving the extraction, transportation, and use of coal and coal-derived products.  Companies we advise include mining, railways and shipping companies, independent power producers and utilities, and industry organizations that are exploring advanced generating technologies. Our lawyers have represented domestic and international companies and industry associations for decades on various issues, including in the extraction and processing of a broad range of materials such as coal, cobalt, copper, phosphates and zinc. As the industry becomes more vertically integrated, through mergers, acquisitions, and joint ventures, we draw on our extensive experience in antitrust, corporate, finance, labor and employment, securities, tax and other areas of law to provide comprehensive services to our clients.

Environmental issues, including those arising under the Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act, Endangered Species Act, National Environmental Policy Act, Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, and the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act are of particular concern to producers and users of coal. We have worked for years at the cutting-edge of these issues, and are committed to helping our clients remain in the energy mix by developing effective strategies for dealing with the constantly changing initiatives of advocacy groups, legislators, and federal and state regulators.  To that end, we regularly represent coal producers and users in rulemakings, permit proceedings, enforcement actions and related litigation.

Our Team

Our attorneys have served as presidents, on executive committees and as trustees of numerous coal-related industry and legal organizations, including the Eastern Mineral Law Foundation, the National Coal Council, and the American Bar Association Natural Resources Section’s Coal Committee. Our environmental team was named the 2017 and 2021 Chambers USA Environment Law Firm of the Year. We maintain the top national ranking for environmental law and water law―and regionally in each state where our team lawyers are based―in US News-Best Lawyers. In addition, we are top-ranked by Legal 500, and since 2012, we have been designated an Environmental Group of the Year by Law360 ten times.





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