Joe Dawley, Esq.

Joe Dawley is a uniquely qualified environmental and regulatory attorney with more than 30 years of diverse experience in environmental law, environmental engineering, government relations, and public policy. Joe concentrates his practice on representing regulated industries on complex regulatory, permitting, and compliance matters. He applies his deep experience of regulatory frameworks and insider knowledge of the agencies to develop strategic and practical solutions that maximize business opportunity and minimize risk. For over 11 years, Joe was with EQT Corporation, the nation’s largest natural gas production company and a former natural gas transmission company, where he served in several roles, including the Deputy General Counsel for Environmental, Health and Safety and Public Policy and the Director of Government Affairs. Prior to EQT, he served as General Counsel of the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection.

Joe has extensive experience in obtaining federal, state, and local environmental, natural resources, and land use planning permits for complex linear infrastructure projects, such as natural gas pipelines, and large facilities, such as compressor stations and well pads. He also has significant experience with compliance counseling under environmental, natural resources, and pipeline safety regulations, as well as contesting notices of violation issued by federal and state regulatory authorities for alleged violations of regulations and permits.

Joe applies his expertise in environmental policy to advise corporations on environmental, social, and governance (ESG) risks to reduce the prospect of unexpected reputational damage and legal liability. He applies his business and operational insights to evaluate ESG performance and develops strategies for transforming operational excellence goals into environmental performance and sustainability benefits.

Joe is a graduate of Lewis and Clark Law School, where he earned a certificate in Environmental and Natural Resources Law. He is licensed to practice law in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Oregon (Inactive). He also has a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Syracuse University and is a registered Professional Engineer in West Virginia and Virginia.

Joe Dawley began his career as a process engineer for Critical Fluid Systems, where he participated in the development of an innovative extraction treatment technology to remove organic chemicals from chemical plant wastewater, refinery sludges, and contaminated sediments. Joe continued his engineering career with Science Applications International Corporation where he applied his process engineering skills to support various EPA offices in the areas of regulation development and evaluation of remediation treatment technologies. From these experiences, Joe became interested in environmental law and applying his engineering background to solving regulatory challenges faced by businesses and industries.

As an environmental lawyer, Joe applies his engineering experience to understand how the operational and business needs fit within the regulatory framework and develops practical solutions to simultaneously achieve business goals and regulatory compliance.

For over 11 years, Joe served as in-house counsel at EQT Corporation, a natural gas production and transmission company, where he served as Deputy General Counsel. Joe managed the environmental permitting and compliance, safety, government affairs, and public policy functions.  In previous roles, he served as EQT’s FERC regulatory attorney, environmental, and pipeline safety attorney.

Prior to joining EQT, Joe served as the General Counsel for the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection, where he served as the agency’s legislative affairs director and advised the Cabinet Secretary and program directors on permitting, compliance, and enforcement matters.

Environmental and Natural Resources Permitting

Joe has extensive experience in obtaining permits, approvals, and certifications from municipal and county boards, state and federal agencies. Specific examples of Joe’s permitting experience include:

  • Leading the highly complex regulatory and permitting strategy for the 300-mile Mountain Valley Pipeline and obtaining 15 federal and state environmental and natural resources permits to allow the project to begin on time.  Permitting agencies included the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Forest Service, and the Bureau of Land Management.

  • Obtaining construction erosion and sediment control permits for well pads, compressor stations, and pipelines under the Pennsylvania Clean Streams Act, the West Virginia Water Pollution Control Act, the Virginia Erosion and Sediment Control Law, and the Virginia Stormwater Management Act.
  • Advising on discharge permits for mining, manufacturing, and electric power generation clients under Section 402 of the Clean Water Act and the West Virginia Water Pollution Control Act.

  • Obtaining stream crossing permits for linear pipeline projects pursuant to Section 404 of the Clean Water Act from the Corps of Engineers’ Pittsburgh, Huntington, and Norfolk Districts and Clean Water Act Section 401 state water quality certifications from the PADEP, WVDEP, and VDEQ.

  • Acquiring air permits for well sites, compressor stations, and processing plants under the Pennsylvania Air Pollution Control Act, the West Virginia Air Pollution Control Act, and the federal Clean Air Act.

Compliance and Enforcement Counseling

Joe advises regulated industries on compliance issues under numerous federal and state environmental and pipeline safety laws. He has extensive experience in responding to regulatory agency notices of violation and negotiating consent orders for enforcement actions before federal and state regulatory agencies. Specific examples include:

  • Negotiation of numerous Notice of Violations and Consent Order and Agreements with the PADEP for alleged violations under the Pennsylvania Clean Streams Law, Oil and Gas Act, and Erosion and Sediment Control Law.

  • Negotiation of numerous Notice of Violations and Consent Order and Agreements with the WVDEP for alleged violations under the West Virginia Horizontal Well Control Act, Water Pollution Control Act, and Air Pollution Control Act.

  • Negotiation of Consent Orders with the United States Environmental Protection Agency for alleged violations under the Clean Water Act.

  • Negotiation of several Notice of Proposed Violations with the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration for alleged violations under the Pipeline Safety Act.

  • Led response to government subpoenas and information requests related to the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce’s 2010 investigation on hydraulic fracturing and the EPA’s 2011 Hydraulic Fracturing Study.

Managing Environmental, Social, and Governance Risks

Joe advises clients on managing environmental, social, and governance (ESG) risks to reduce the prospect of unexpected reputational damage and legal liability. He provides guidance on ESG-related data collection, identifies ways of improvement on data reporting, advises on the development of reporting framework, and assists in drafting the content of ESG reports in compliance with reporting platforms such as the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB), the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), the CDP, and the Task-Force for Climate Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD). He develops strategies for constructive and productive dialogue with stakeholders and institutional investors to explain disclosures and build confidence and trust in the company’s ESG program.

Speaking Engagements and Publications

  • Development and Construction of Natural Gas Pipelines: Best Practices for Regulatory and Compliance Challenges, 9th Annual Marcellus and Manufacturing Development Conference, April 9, 2019.

  • Legislative Oil and Gas Update, Energy and Mineral Law Foundation, 34th Annual Institute, June 18, 2013.

  • Recent Mountaintop Mining Decisions Reaffirm Importance of Initial Permitting Process, Views and Visions Magazine, Fall 2007.

  • The Future of Brownfields: Alternative Energy to Watersheds, Panel Moderator, West Virginia State Brownfields Conference, September 25, 2007.

  • Achievement of Cost-Effective Compliance Through Water Quality Trading:  An Examination of The Pennsylvania Nutrient Trading Program, Panel Moderator, Air and Waste Management Association Annual Conference, June 27, 2007.

  • Environmental Health and Safety Issues Associated with Nanomaterials, Panel Moderator, Air and Waste Management Association Annual Conference, June 27, 2007.

  • From Brownfields to Brightfields – Reinvigorating Brownfield Development with Alternative Energy Development Projects, Author, American Bar Association, Section on Environment, Energy, and Resources, Environment Transactions and Brownfields Committee Newsletter, May 2007.

  • Energy Policy Act: Requirements for the Department of Defense and Strategies for Compliance, Presenter, Alternative Energy Now Conference, Orlando, FL, February 21, 2007.

  • West Virginia’s Enactment of The Uniform Environmental Covenant Act, Presenter, West Virginia Brownfield Risk and Rewards Conference, Charleston, WV, September 26, 2006.  

  • Producer Beware: The European Union’s Directives Governing Electronic Goods May Limit Access to the EU Marketplace, Environmental Law Supplement to The Legal Intelligencer and Pennsylvania Law Weekly, April 10, 2006 (Co-authored with Seth A. Rice, Esq.).

  • Unintended Consequences: Clean Air Act’s Acid Rain Program, Mountaintop Mining and Related Litigation, Author, Trends, ABA Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources Newsletter, January/February 2005.

  • Mining and Water Quality Highlight Tensions in The Federal-State Partnership, Author, Trends, ABA Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources Newsletter, May/June 2003.

  • Engineering Contracts: An Owner’s Perspective, Presenter, West Virginia Rural Water Association Annual Meeting, September 2003, Snowshoe, West Virginia. 

  • Expanded Coverage of the Clean Water Act Storm Water Regulations May Affect Oil and Gas Activities, Author, Independent Oil and Gas Association of West Virginia News, September 2001. 

  • West Virginia’s Antidegradation Policy for State Waters: From Theoretical Construct to Implementation Procedures, 103 W.Va. L. Rev. 331 (2001).  (Co-authored with M. Ann Bradley, Esq.)