Complex Environmental Litigation
Cooper played an integral role in the largest environmental matter to affect the Gulf Coast - the Deepwater Horizon oil spill that occurred in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010. Cooper chaired the Governor's BP Oil Spill Task Force, which was responsible for:
Gathering, organizing, and coordinating all communications, agreements, and proposals between the state and its departments and agencies and the responsible parties;
Gathering evidence and hiring expert witnesses; and
Parterning with one of Alabama's premier environmental litigation firms, Cooper gained valuable experience as an envionrmental lawyer in Alabama, managing complex environmental litigation. Cooper led the state of Alabam's negotiation team in resolving the state's claims for its economic and natural resource damages. Cooper has extensive firsthand environmental legal experience with all of the federal agencies and state agencies, which regulate and litigate environmental matters.
Organizing, supervising, and leading the effort to calculate the state’s economic and natural resource damages caused by the oil spill.
Natural Resource Damages
Cooper served as Chair of the Deepwater Horizon Natural Resource Damage Trustee Council and played a crucial role in negotiating the $1 billion Early Restoration Framework Agreement, coordinating the Natural Resource Damage Assessment for the entire Gulf Coast, negotiating the settlement of the natural resource damage claims, and creating and implementing the unprecedented restoration plans as a result of the early restoration and final settlement funds.
Cooper also served as the lead trustee and consultant/attorney directing, managing, and coordinating the State of Alabama Natural Resource Damage Assessment, restoration planning, and project implementation, resulting in a BP settlement netting $296 million for Alabama restoration, the opportunity for more from $1.6 billion Gulf-wide restoration pool, and $599 million through the RESTORE Act, plus the opportunity for more from $1.32 billion for the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council.
Cooper was instrumental in the creation, design, and implementation of the BP-funded Gulf State Park Enhancement Project, a $135 million, multi-faceted project located on Alabama's pristine 6,150 acre gulf-front state park. The Gulf State Park Enhancement Project will serve as an international benchmark of economic and environmental sustainability demonstrating best practices for outdoor recreation, education, and hospitable accommodations. The Project includes dune restoration, trail enhancements, Interpretive Center, Learning Campus, and rebuilding of the Gulf State Park Lodge, as well as other enhancements and improvements in and around the park.
For more information on the Gulf State Park Enhancement Project, visit www.mygulfstatepark.com.
The National Enviornmental Protection Act was signed into law on January 1, 1970, and requires federal agencies to assess the environmental effects of their proposed actions prior to making decisions. Agencies evaluate the environmental and related social and economic effects of their proposed actions and also provide opportunities for public review and comment on those evaluations.
As part of implementing the multi-million dollar restoration plans arising from the Deepwater Horizon Natural Resource Damage Settlement, Cooper assisted with ensuring the required NEPA compliance of the restoration plans, giving him valuable experience as an environmental lawyer well-versed in the complex nature of NEPA compliance matters.
Water Contamination Litigation
Cooper spearheaded efforts to create the Alabama Water Agencies Working Group (AWAWG), the task force charged with developing policy options and recommendations for a comprehensive water management plan for the state, which led to the creation of the Alabama Water Institute at The University of Alabama.
Cooper also served as primary coordinator of the state’s efforts in “Water Wars” litigation involving competing claims with Georgia and Florida regarding shared water basins. This included coordinating with outside counsel, leading negotiations with other states, and informing and advising the Governor on related issues. Cooper's extensive experience enables him to now serve individuals, governmental entities and corporations as counsel in environmental matters involving water contamination.
Superfund Site Litigation & Clean-Up Efforts
The Capitol City Plume site is located in Montgomery, Alabama, and includes an area of groundwater contamination near the city of Montgomery’s well field. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency proposed the site for listing on the Superfund program’s National Priorities List (NPL) in 2000 because of contaminated groundwater and soil throughout the western downtown Montgomery area. The site was deferred from the EPA to ADEM.
Cooper negotiated with the potentially resposible parties (PRPs) and worked with the EPA, ADEM, and the PRPs on the assessment, responsibility, and remediation of the Capitol City Plume. Cooper now serves governmental entities and corporations as environmental counsel in matters related to Superfund sites, the resulting litigation, and clean-up.
Ruptured and Leaking Underground Pipelines and Storage Tanks
Cooper has extensive experience handling issues related to ruptured and leaking underground pipelines, including those he was able to settle quickly and those that required extensive litigation. Cooper has also handled multiple issues with with underground storage tank contamination, giving him the experience necessary to represent individuals, governmental entities and corporations in environmental litigation and matters related to ruptured and leaking underground pipelines and storage tanks.