Jennifer A. Smokelin

Counsel

Education

  • University of Pittsburgh School of Law, 1992, J.D., summa cum laude, Managing Editor, University of Pittsburgh Law Review; Order of the Coif
  • University of Pennsylvania, 1986, B.S.E., Systems Science and Engineering; Minor: Wharton School, Decision Sciences

Professional Admissions / Qualifications

  • Pennsylvania

Jennifer represents clients in a broad range of environmental and energy issues, including environmental civil enforcement and litigation matters, as well as regulatory and transactional issues for energy companies. Her practice focuses on all aspects of regulatory and litigation counseling in the fields of environmental, natural resource, and energy law, with a focus on emerging air issues. She draws upon her experience in business and engineering to incorporate regulatory compliance into sound business strategies. For the past several years, Jennifer has focused her practice on emerging energy and greenhouse gas issues, and has lectured and counseled clients extensively on that subject.

Energy and Greenhouse Gas Experience

Jennifer is involved in helping clients understand the potential impact, strengths and weaknesses, and business opportunities of emerging energy issues, greenhouse gas legislation and related environmental issues in the RGGI states, California, and the European Union. She is also involved with the requirements for carbon projects (such as Emission Reduction Purchase Agreements (ERPA) for Clean Development Mechanism ("CDM") projects), as well as due diligence on major acquisitions in the Marcellus Shale play. Jennifer has advised clients on issues including (1) Exxon Mobil's nearly $1.7 billion acquisition of two of Pennsylvania's natural gas exploration and distribution companies, (2) advised buyer re multiple Emissions Reduction Purchase Agreements between major international banking and trading entities and Chinese renewable energy developer on tight timeframes requiring "round-the-clock" negotiation and contract revision support from Reed Smith offices in Beijing working alongside Reed Smith offices in US (Pittsburgh) , (3) the Renewable Fuel Standards, or RFS, under the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, and (4) sustainability issues in development, including LEED certification (silver) for a theater project. Jennifer is also a Professor of Law (adjunct) at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, where she teaches the course, "Climate Change and the Law." The course is designed to help students understand the science, law, and business of climate change by exploring the problems of energy generation and business, and how law and policy and corporate America are responding to them on a regional and national basis. In addition to her classroom work, Jennifer publishes and lectures frequently on the business opportunities, co-benefits, and risks inherent in regulation schemes. Specifically, Jennifer lectures on national and international panels and publishes regularly on the cap-and-trade legislation, the future of the energy sector (particularly the regulation of renewable energy), the EPA's Endangerment Finding, and the United Nations climate negotiations. Jennifer was a delegate to the 15th Conference of the Parties (COP15) under the United Nations' Framework Convention on Climate Change in Copenhagen, Denmark, in December 2009.

Jennifer's clients have included energy companies (large and small), textile manufacturers, battery recycling facilities, iron and steel manufacturers, petroleum refiners, chemical producers, chapter 11 bankruptcy debtors and creditors, landfill operators, and municipalities and municipal redevelopment authorities. She has represented clients in the state courts of Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia; in the U.S. District Courts throughout the Midwest and the Eastern United States; and in the U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeal for the Third Circuit and the District of Columbia.

Environmental Litigation Experience

Jennifer represents clients in a broad range of environmental issues, including environmental civil enforcement and litigation matters concerning the Clean Air Act, Superfund, RCRA, and the Clean Water Act, as well as various state law equivalents. Jennifer has been involved with several successful Title V permitting challenges for Pennsylvania clients, along with defending toxic tort and property damage claims based on the discharge of hazardous pollutants into the air, soil, surface and groundwater.

Environmental Permits - Defense of permits for the appeal of unlawful permit conditions, including unsupported BACT determinations.

Enforcement and Penalty Actions - Defense of government enforcement actions resulting from alleged permit violation or the failure to obtain permits for storage of hazardous materials, air sources, and landfill operations. Jennifer is familiar with policies and rules governing the calculation of civil penalties, and has successfully negotiated many favorable settlements in the form of consent decrees or administrative orders.

Rulemaking - Comments on proposed rule and challenge of rules under RCRA, including the land disposal regulations.

Brownfield Experience - Jennifer is very involved in Brownfield redevelopment on a local and state-wide level, with an emphasis on an in-depth knowledge of vapor intrusion issues, environmental covenants (including enforceability issues and the UECA), liability transfer mechanisms, and eminent domain law.

Toxic Tort and Property Damages - Toxic tort and property damage claims based on the discharge of air pollutants, and release of hazardous pollutants into the air, soil, surface and groundwater. An example of her cases includes personal injuries from the release of emissions from railroad tanker cars carrying petroleum by-products.

Superfund and Related State Legislation - Defense of claims for response costs and clean-up orders by the EPA and state agencies, including sites involving former Department of Defense installations. Prosecution of contribution actions and participation in allocation proceedings. Her experience includes researching historical evidence of contamination, working with fate and transport models, co-mingled plumes, landfills, and leaking gasoline tanks.

Environmental Insurance Claims - Experience with obtaining insurance coverage for environmental damages under historic primary and excess liability policies, and claims for reimbursement under cost-cap insurance. Recent experience with cost-cap claims has resulted in settlements with insurers totaling close to 100 percent of claimed cost overruns.

Sewer and Water - Defense of disputes involving allegations of violations of sewage service contracts, and defense of personal injury and property damage claims related to discharge to sewer that allegedly cause injury.

Environmental Due Diligence Experience

Jennifer is a key player in due diligence on major acquisitions in the Marcellus Shale play. Most recently, Jennifer has advised clients on pivotal environmental issues in Exxon Mobil's nearly $1.7 billion acquisition of two of Pennsylvania's natural gas exploration and distribution companies. She has reviewed and evaluated environmental assessments involving multiple facilities at diverse locations in the United States, Canada and Mexico, and she helps clients understand the pros and cons of alternative provisions and different structures for doing business. Jennifer advises clients, including REITs, with the purchase of real estate. She has also advised on qualifying as bona fide purchasers under CERCLA or meeting the test for innocent landowner and contiguous property owner defenses, and obtained liability protection for buyers of contaminated property under various state programs.

Employment History

  • 2001 - Reed Smith
    • Vice Chair, Women's Initiative Network of Reed Smith (Pittsburgh Office)
  • 1996 - Babst Calland
  • 1992 - Reed Smith

Professional Affiliations

  • Allegheny County Bar Association
  • Pennsylvania Bar Association – Member of the Environmental, Mineral, and Natural Resources Section
  • National Brownfields Association, Pennsylvania Chapter – Member of the Policy & Legislative Committee and the Technical Committee

Press Releases

Notable Quotes