Kansas has large expanses of prairie and agricultural land. Water resources are precious. Environmental law attempts to define the acceptable impact that industrial and agricultural activities may have on our land and water resources. We represent both industry and landowners in claims concerning surface and water pollution.
Development of Remediation Plans: We have represented producers in the oil and gas industry in negotiating and implementing remediation plans approved by the Kansas Corporation Commission (“KCC”) to restore the surface of land and groundwater to usable condition. We have found that a cooperative effort with regulators has often brought about a sensible plan to remedy damage to land and groundwater economically.
Litigation of landowner claims. We have experience in litigating landowner claims that salt water, brine, or oilfield materials damaged their land and water supply. We routinely retain hydrologists to determine the nature and severity of groundwater pollution. We hire other experts to determine whether there has been any diminution in the value of the property, and, if so, how much. We are familiar with what damages can be recovered in such cases, depending on whether the injury is deemed permanent or temporary.
Environmental issues in real estate transactions. We advise clients concerning the need for environmental inspections and contract protection in the sale of real estate.
Development of the law: We have successfully defended industry clients in a number of environmental cases and, in the process, have established new law. For example, in Williams v. Amoco Production Company, 241 Kan. 102, 734 P. 2d 1113 (1987), the landowner claimed that a producer should be held strictly liable for permitting natural gas to escape from its wells which then migrated into the water zone used by the landowner to irrigate farm crops. On appeal, the Kansas Supreme Court held that the production of natural gas was not an inherently dangerous activity and that a negligence standard — not a strict liability standard — must be applied. In Wood River Pipeline Company v. Willbros Energy Services Co., 241 Kan. 580, 738 P. 2d 866 (1987), the Kansas Supreme Court enforced a damage limitation clause that limited the remedy of the owner of a pipeline to recover only the cost to repair the ruptured line (about $25,000.00) and rejected the pipeline owner’s claim that the company who constructed the pipeline should be required to pay clean-up costs that exceeded $1,000,000.00.