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MINING AND NATURAL RESOURCES

The exploration, extraction and processing of coal and other natural resources not only is a vital industry in itself, it also fuels several other industries that power the U.S. economy. Over the years, companies in this industry have faced significant changes to the way they operate, including consolidation, price fluctuations and operational efficiency. Environmental concerns and an increasingly stringent regulatory environment continue to place new pressures on mining and oil and gas companies.

Our long history of service to companies in the mining and natural resources industry began in 1929, when our firm founders entered an appearance as counsel for the plaintiff in Shell Pipeline Corp. v. Whitmore. Our representation of the industry continues today, and now we serve clients in a variety of sectors, including oil and gas, coal and minerals. Our decades of experience ensure that we understand the important issues that affect our clients.

Throughout our firm’s representation of the industry, we have handled significant cases relating to contract disputes, royalty disputes, price reopening, property damage, subsidence and environmental contamination. We also have assisted our clients in matters involving mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, financing, exploration agreements, environmental permitting, compliance, land use issues, royalty and refining agreements, and complex joint operating agreements.

Under a 30-year supply agreement between Peabody Energy and a consortium of Western U.S. utilities, the parties can renegotiate certain contractual pricing mechanisms every five years. The utilities rejected Peabody’s offer of a price reduction and subsequently sought to recover a $50 million “overpayment” they allegedly made to Peabody from 1992-1996. The utilities also wanted a price reduction of approximately $80 million for the years 1997-2001. In 2002, the arbitration panel issued its ruling in Peabody’s favor. The net effect of the award resulted in a contractual price increase, with the utilities owing Peabody approximately $30 million.

Peabody Energy Corporation also retained our firm as co-counsel in connection with its successful initial public offering and with its $225 million accounts receivable securitization with PNC Bank.

ConocoPhillips Company chose our firm as lead counsel in connection with its acquisition of a 50% stake in various entities formed by TransCanada Corporation to own, construct and operate a crude oil pipeline from the Alberta Oil Sands to various points in the U.S. The deal required extensive negotiation and governance issues. The total equity capitalization of the joint venture entities is expected to be at least $5.2 billion.

The firm played a significant role in multidistrict litigation related to alleged groundwater contamination by methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE). Thompson Coburn represented one oil company as lead counsel in the initial round of MDL 1358 litigation and also served as co-counsel for two other oil companies in this action. We had a lead role within the defense group's consolidated motion to dismiss. In addition, our firm was an integral player in the defense group's successful effort to defeat class certification.

We are currently representing ExxonMobil Coal in this state court case, in which a local environmental group sought an injunction invalidating the coal mine’s operating and reclamation permits. The group claimed that the permits were issued in violation of Illinois law. It is requesting that the Court order our client to remove a reclaimed area of coal refuse 40 or 50 feet tall and approximately 400 acres in size from the coal mine site and to dispose of the material in a landfill. We recently obtained dismissal of all counts in the lawsuit at the trial court level. The case is currently on appeal.

For over a decade, we have represented southern Illinois coal mines in connection with a wide range of environmental issues. On the regulatory side, we have provided ongoing compliance counseling, obtained variances and provided permitting assistance to a major energy concern. We also helped obtain approval for the first Groundwater Management Zone ever issued to a coal mine in the State of Illinois, as part of a unique settlement with the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

We represent a mining company in connection with a potential major expansion. That representation has included providing assistance with the interpretation of permit requirements, assistance with potential governmental incentives and other financing opportunities, as well as assistance with related real estate and mineral rights matters.

In a federal administrative case, the claimant alleged that the Office of Surface Mining should bring an enforcement action against the State of Illinois for the alleged failure to protect the groundwater at our client’s mine site and for permitting certain surface reclamation activities. We intervened and presented evidence that the approved reclamation plan protected the groundwater and that the permitted surface reclamation activities were authorized in accordance with Illinois and federal law. The Administrative Law Judge panel found in favor of our client and the Office of Surface Mining in all respects. Langenhorst v. U.S. Department of the Interior, Office of Surface Mining, IBLA Case No. 2006-188 before the Department of the Interior, Board of Land Appeals in Washington, D.C.

Our firm represented Standard Oil of Indiana in its victory over Standard Oil of New Jersey, resulting in the formation of Exxon Corporation.

News

Ryan Russell Kemper named to St. Louis Business Journal’s 40 Under 40 list

Congratulations to our 2017 ‘Lawyers of the Year’

Adrienne Clair joins Thompson Coburn’s nationally-recognized utilities practice as partner

Employment litigator Arthur Silbergeld joins Thompson Coburn in Los Angeles

Thompson Coburn earns corporate counsel recommendations five years running in national report

Fred Strasheim featured in Law360 ‘Dealmakers’ series

Chemical Safety Board investigator shares insights from two high-profile environmental incidents

29 Thompson Coburn attorneys recognized in 2014 Chambers USA

Ryan Kemper, Thompson Coburn environmental practice featured in St. Louis Lawyer

102 Thompson Coburn attorneys featured in 2013 Best Lawyers list

Thompson Coburn wins Illinois Supreme Court victory for ExxonMobil Coal

Peter Strassner named St. Louis Environmental Lawyer of the Year

Partner
St. Louis
314 552 6131

Hap represents developers, lenders and businesses in real estate matters and transactions across the country.

Hap represents developers, lenders and businesses in real estate matters an...

Hap Burke
Partner
Washington, D.C.
202 585 6919

Adrienne represents her clients in proceedings to enforce the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's (FERC's) rules for open access transmission service, formation and op...

Adrienne represents her clients in proceedings to enforce the Federal Energ...

Adrienne Clair
Partner
St. Louis
314 552 6019

Ed has substantial experience in a wide range of complex lawsuits, most of which involve multi-party environmental litigation.

Ed has substantial experience in a wide range of complex lawsuits, most of ...

Ed Cohen
Partner
St. Louis
314 552 6144

David concentrates in the areas of business bankruptcy, workouts, securitizations, and general creditors' rights matters.

David concentrates in the areas of business bankruptcy, workouts, securitiz...

David Farrell
Partner
St. Louis
314 552 6155

Ruthanne represents parties on both sides of complex commercial transactions, providing responsive advice on a variety of finance and sales matters.

Ruthanne represents parties on both sides of complex commercial transaction...

Ruthanne Hammett
Partner
St. Louis
314 552 6049

Ed is a veteran litigator and head of the firm's Antitrust Practice Group.

Ed is a veteran litigator and head of the firm's Antitrust Practice Group.

Ed Harvey
Partner
Washington, D.C.
202 585 6936

Nationally recognized in the areas of corporate law, mergers and acquisitions, and securities law, Michael has extensive experience working on securities matters and help...

Nationally recognized in the areas of corporate law, mergers and acquisitio...

Michael de Leon Hawthorne
Partner
St. Louis
314 552 6461

Brian Hockett practices in the firm's Financial Restructuring group.

Brian Hockett practices in the firm's Financial Restructuring group.

Brian Hockett
Partner
St. Louis
314 552 6159

Chris leads complex litigation and class action defense for a host of major corporations in the financial services and agriculture industries.

Chris leads complex litigation and class action defense for a host of major...

Chris Hohn
Partner
St. Louis
314 552 6485

Benjamin is a corporate advisor and business strategist for a wide variety of privately-held businesses, manufacturers, financial institutions, and nonprofits.

Benjamin is a corporate advisor and business strategist for a wide variety ...

Benjamin Hulsey
Associate
St. Louis
314 552 6267

Alicia represents clients in complex business disputes at the trial and appellate level.

Alicia represents clients in complex business disputes at the trial and app...

Alicia Konstantinovich
Partner
Chicago
312 580 2242

Litigation can be a chess match or a street fight: Rob has the skills and experience needed to navigate either approach.

Litigation can be a chess match or a street fight: Rob has the skills and e...

Rob Lang
Partner
St. Louis
314 552 6173

Sharon develops and executes highly effective class action defense strategies for major companies across a variety of sectors, including transportation, telecommunication...

Sharon develops and executes highly effective class action defense strategi...

Sharon Rosenberg
Partner
Los Angeles
310 282 9412

Art represents employers in high-stakes employment litigation and labor relations matters.

Art represents employers in high-stakes employment litigation and labor rel...

Art Silbergeld
Partner
St. Louis
314 552 6154

Paul is a highly effective litigator and regulatory compliance attorney who has resolved environmental and real estate/construction disputes in state and federal courts a...

Paul is a highly effective litigator and regulatory compliance attorney who...

Paul Sonderegger
Partner
St. Louis
314 552 6006

Nationally recognized for his M&A and venture capital transactional experience, Fred is Vice-Chair of the Firm's Mergers and Acquisitions practice and a member of the...

Nationally recognized for his M&A and venture capital transactional exp...

Fred Strasheim
Partner
St. Louis
314 552 6109

Peter has over 25 years of experience in environmental law and handles a wide range of environmental matters, including CERCLA cost recovery litigation, insurance coverag...

Peter has over 25 years of experience in environmental law and handles a wi...

Peter Strassner
Partner
Southern Illinois
618 236 3411

For nearly 20 years, Erick has defended product liability, toxic tort, and railroad injury cases in some of the most difficult jurisdictions in the country.

For nearly 20 years, Erick has defended product liability, toxic tort, and ...

Erick VanDorn
Partner
St. Louis
314 552 6121

Roman is a nationally recognized litigator who represents major corporations in high-stakes litigation in venues across the country.

Roman is a nationally recognized litigator who represents major corporation...

Roman Wuller