Andrew T. Bockis

Andrew T. Bockis

Partner

Contact Info

Phone: (717) 257-7520
Fax: (717) 238-4622

Primary Office

Harrisburg
Penn National Insurance Plaza
2 North Second Street, 7th Floor
Harrisburg, PA 17101-1619

Andrew T. Bockis

Partner

Andrew Bockis helps clients obtain and defend environmental permits for their projects.

Industrial projects are subject to ever-changing rules and increased agency review time. Whether related to industrial warehouses or oil and gas facilities or renewable energy projects, many business leaders struggle with the uncertainty created by complex environmental regulation. The situation is magnified when there is public opposition to a project.

Based on his prior experience as counsel to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and Pennsylvania Environmental Hearing Board, Andy helps clients in a variety of industries minimize project delays and secure the permits they need. When projects are challenged, Andy helps companies defend their permits in court.

Andy also helps clients navigate their interactions with regulatory agencies. This often includes creating customized plans to address agency requests for information or strategies to address project opposition. This helps clients minimize extra costs and avoid drawn out permit review times so that they can commence construction and operate with confidence.

Experience

Environmental Permitting

Companies that design projects that are protective of the environment should obtain prompt approvals. Andy has helped clients in a variety of industries cut through bureaucracy to obtain environmental permits.  Recent representations include work in the following industries:

Natural Gas: Counseling multiple upstream operators regarding compliance with state and federal permitting requirements under the Federal Clean Water Act and Pennsylvania’s Clean Streams Law, Dam Safety and Encroachments Act, and Oil and Gas Act.
Pipelines: Counseling multiple operators regarding the acquisition, development and siting of pipelines. Most recently, this included assisting a client in obtaining all necessary federal and state permits for a $3 billion greenfield pipeline project in Pennsylvania.
Commercial Construction and Warehousing Facilities: Assisting several developers in obtaining key NPDES and wetland permits for industrial facilities, including recently a 1.4 million-square-foot industrial warehouse involving the permitting of 25+ gravity wells for the underground injection of stormwater, and a 500,000-square-foot industrial warehouse employing the use of a spray irrigation system for stormwater control.
Beneficial Use Waste Permitting: Assisting a client in obtaining a beneficial use authorization to use drill cuttings from oil and gas drilling activities as an aggregate in a stabilized soil pavement for construction of Marcellus Shale and Utica well pads and access roads.
Sewage Facilities: Assisting clients in sewage permitting matters, ranging from obtaining approvals for new sewage planning modules to seeking revisions to municipal sewage plans for commercial operations.
Dams: Assisting clients in obtaining key permits and approvals relating to dams, including slope monitoring plans associated with a high hazard dam.
Radioactive Materials Licensing: Prior to joining the Firm, Andy counseled the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection as it assumed permitting and enforcement jurisdiction from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, which involved issues related to nuclear safety, radioactive materials licensing, the medical use of byproduct material, environmental surveillance, and the decommissioning of radiologically contaminated sites.
Environmental Litigation

When projects are challenged or permits are denied, Andy helps companies defend their interests in court. He has litigated and defended environmental permitting decisions before the Pennsylvania Environmental Hearing Board, Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court, and the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the Second Circuit, Third Circuit, D.C. Circuit, and through petitions for certiorari before the U.S. Supreme Court.  Recent representations include:

Defending a key air permit for a pipeline compressor station before the Pennsylvania Environmental Hearing Board and Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court.
Defending a Water Quality Certification issued for a 200-mile greenfield pipeline spanning ten Pennsylvania counties before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit and in response to a petition for certiorari before the U.S. Supreme Court.
Defending a water discharge permit issued for an interstate natural gas pipeline before the U.S Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.
Representing a pipeline company in response to New York State’s denial of a Water Quality Certification for a proposed interstate natural gas pipeline before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and in a petition for certiorari before the U.S. Supreme Court.
Authoring an amicus brief on behalf of a trade association in a matter involving New York State’s denial of a Water Quality Certification for an interstate natural gas pipeline in Western New York.
Litigating appeals before the Pennsylvania Environmental Hearing Board in matters involving oil and gas permits, NPDES permits, erosion and sediment control permits, mining permits, sewage facility permits, and safe drinking water permits.
Internal Investigations / Environmental Audits

With environmental regulators constantly evaluating enforcement priorities, internal investigations can assist companies in identifying risks and preparing defenses. Andy frequently works with clients to audit their compliance with environmental permitting requirements. Most recently this has included:

Counseling an oil and gas operator in a multi-year investigation involving the audit of environmental permitting compliance for Marcellus Shale well pads and impoundments.
Assisting another oil and gas operator in its internal review of oil and gas well plugging/ abandonment operations.
Counseling a wastewater treatment system operator regarding an investigation into allegations of unpermitted releases and failure to provide required regulatory notices.
Government Enforcement and Criminal Investigations

Businesses that implement environmentally protective procedures should be able to operate with confidence without having to second-guess whether compliance decisions implicate civil or criminal liability. But in a world where public perception can drive the government’s enforcement priorities, clearly explaining the basis for a company’s actions can help avoid or minimize administrative or criminal enforcement actions. Andy frequently represents clients in government enforcement proceedings.  Recent representations include:

Representing an oil and gas operator in response to three criminal grand jury subpoenas associated with hydraulic fracturing activities in Pennsylvania, resulting in no criminal charges.
Negotiating numerous civil penalty assessments with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection in matters pertaining to natural gas wells, pipeline construction, safe drinking water operations, and underground storage tank operations.
Representing construction and engineering firms in response to allegations of violations of Pennsylvania’s Radiation Protection Act regarding the licensing and use of nuclear density gauges.
Successfully defending a marina in response to allegations of Clean Water Act violations from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Representing a mining company in response to alleged mining safety violations before the Mine Safety and Health Administration.
Environmental Due Diligence and Remediation

Understanding the environmental liability implications of a real estate transaction is important. With federal and state laws imposing cleanup liability on people or companies that own or operate contaminated properties, failing to properly allocate risks can sink a deal. Andy counsels clients on environmental provisions in leases, loan documents, sale contracts and other real estate agreements. Andy also helps clients interact with regulatory agencies in taking properties through voluntary brownfield cleanup programs to resolve environmental liability associated with contaminated sites.

Right-to-Know Law Requests and Litigation

Companies routinely submit confidential information to the government when seeking various permits or licenses. That information can be obtained by competitors if it is not adequately submitted or protected as a trade secret or confidential proprietary information. Andy helps companies protect their information in response to Right-to-Know Law requests. He has also litigated Right-to-Know Law disputes before the Pennsylvania Office of Open Records, the courts of common pleas, the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court and the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.

Thought Leadership

No results.

No results.

Credentials and Accolades

Honors and Awards

Member of U.S. News - Best Lawyers® "Best Law Firms" National Tier 1 ranked Environmental Law Practice

Named the "Harrisburg, PA - Litigation - Environmental Lawyer of the Year," Best Lawyers​, 2020

Named to The Best Lawyers in America list, Energy Law, 2020 

Named to The Best Lawyers in America list, Environmental Litigation, 2017 to present

Named to The Best Lawyers in America list, Environmental Law, 2014 to present

Named one of Pennsylvania's "Lawyers on the Fast Track" by The Legal Intelligencer, 2013

National Security Education Program Scholar, 1999-2000

Selected to serve on Panel of Critical Readers for Garner's Modern American Usage, 3d ed., 2009

Named to the Pennsylvania Super Lawyers "Rising Stars" List for Environmental, 2013 to present

Memberships and Affiliations

Member, Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection's Sewage Advisory Committee, 2013 to 2015

Pennsylvania Bar Association

Council Member, Pennsylvania Bar Association Environmental & Energy Law Section

James S. Bowman Inn of Court

Education

J.D., Penn State The Dickinson School of Law, 2006

  • Editor in Chief, Penn State Environmental Law Review
  • Recipient, 2006 CALI Award for the highest grade in Advocacy I
  • Recipient, The Carter prize for the highest combined grades in Environmental Law & Environmental Litigation
  • Recipient, Certificate in Environmental and Natural Resources Law

B.A., Juniata College, 2001

  • La Universidad de las Americas, 1999-2000, Puebla, Mexico

Bar Admissions

Pennsylvania

Firm Involvement

Vice Chair, Environmental

Evaluation Committee

 

Andrew Bockis helps clients obtain and defend environmental permits for their projects.

Industrial projects are subject to ever-changing rules and increased agency review time. Whether related to industrial warehouses or oil and gas facilities or renewable energy projects, many business leaders struggle with the uncertainty created by complex environmental regulation. The situation is magnified when there is public opposition to a project.

Based on his prior experience as counsel to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and Pennsylvania Environmental Hearing Board, Andy helps clients in a variety of industries minimize project delays and secure the permits they need. When projects are challenged, Andy helps companies defend their permits in court.

Andy also helps clients navigate their interactions with regulatory agencies. This often includes creating customized plans to address agency requests for information or strategies to address project opposition. This helps clients minimize extra costs and avoid drawn out permit review times so that they can commence construction and operate with confidence.