About Karl R. Heisler

Karl Heisler is an environmental lawyer. His practice focuses on incident response and enforcement defense. He is often on the scene within the first 24 hours of the triggering incident — whether it is an environmental release, a grand jury subpoena or civil information request. He has responded to civil and criminal government investigations covering every major federal environmental statute at facilities located throughout the country.

Regulatory and technical knowledge made simple

Karl leads teams of attorneys and consultants with great regulatory and technical depth. They dive deep into the record to bring to light critical details that can turn a case or investigation. That noted, what distinguishes Karl from his peers is his ability to translate knowledge in a straightforward and compelling manner that clients, courts, juries, prosecutors and agents can all understand.

Karl's clients include public and private entities in energy, chemical manufacturing, construction services and waste management. He has provided counsel to a number of Fortune 500 companies responding to search warrants, grand jury subpoenas, civil information requests and whistleblowers. He defends them against allegations of obstruction of justice, false statements and other Title 18 offenses.

Karl's clients also include lenders, private equity firms and real estate investment firms with interests in the above industries. Karl dedicates a significant portion of his practice to environmental transactions. He provides advice and counsel on due diligence and the availability of CERCLA defenses, and he routinely negotiates representations, warranties and indemnifications in major transactional matters. He has assisted with acquisitions and divestitures of several entities subject to government investigations arising out of environmental incidents. For the past seven years, he has taught the environmental transactions course for the Environmental Law Institute, a leader in non-partisan research and environmental law education.

Business-conscious planning

Clients value Karl's business-driven approach. His client's business problems are his problems, and those problems include keeping legal fees and expenses to a minimum. Whether the client is a small business or a Fortune 500 company, understanding and appreciating his client's financial condition is of paramount importance to achieving the objective.

For the public good

Karl's pro bono work includes serving as outside general counsel to the Rock Creek Conservancy, a non-profit group dedicated to protecting and restoring the Rock Creek Park and its watershed. Established in 1890, Rock Creek Park is one of our nation's first national parks.

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Practice Focus

  • Environmental litigation
  • Regulatory counseling
  • Incident response
  • Government investigations
  • The Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act ("CERCLA"), and other environmental and workplace safety laws
  • Environmental due diligence
  • Environmental contract drafting

Representative Experience

  • Clean Air Act
  • Represent Fortune 50 energy company in federal civil and criminal investigations arising out of the Clean Air Act's risk management plan RAGAGEP provision. Also advise on the application of API 570 (Piping Inspection Code), API Recommended Practice 574 (Inspection Practices for Piping Components), API Recommended Practice 571 (Damage Mechanisms Affecting Fixed Equipment in the Refining Industry) and API Recommended Practice 939-C (Guidelines for Avoiding Sulfidation Corrosion Failures in Oil Refineries).
  • Represent Fortune 50 energy company in a federal criminal investigation arising out of the application of NSPS Subpart J to flaring operations at an oil refinery.
  • Represent Fortune 50 energy company in federal and state civil, criminal and administrative investigations arising out of the application of NSPS Subpart Kb to alleged storage vessels at upstream production facilities.
  • Represent global investment trading company in a federal criminal investigation arising out of the application of NESHAP asbestos work practice standards to the renovation of a 450+-unit residential complex.
  • Clean Water Act
  • Represent one of the largest pipeline companies in the United States as standby incident response counsel. Advise on multiple EPA, PHMSA, NTSB and state environmental investigations into releases from underground petroleum pipelines.
  • Represent global leader in the manufacture and distribution of water treatment chemicals in a post-Deepwater federal criminal investigation into alleged violations of the Clean Water Act on an offshore oil and gas platform in the Gulf of Mexico.
  • Represented one of the world's largest providers of wastewater management solutions in a federal criminal investigation and prosecution arising out of a chlorine release. Secured an across-the-board acquittal of a 26-count criminal indictment in the US District Court for the Northern District of Indiana.
  • Represent Fortune 200 leading processer and marketer of fresh pork and packaged meats in a federal criminal investigation into allegations of unpermitted discharges of process wastewater. Provided advice and counsel regarding the design and construction of a state-of-the-art wastewater treatment system and associated NPDES permitting concerns.
  • Represent global leader in specialty chemicals in federal civil and criminal investigations arising out of an alleged failure to operate pollution control equipment at a wastewater treatment facility.
  • Maritime
  • Represented a senior crew member of a fishing vessel operating in the South Pacific in allegations arising under MARPOL and the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships by failing to maintain an accurate Oil Record Book.
  • Resource Conservation and Recovery Act
  • Represent leading credit and asset-based investor group in a state environmental investigation arising out of a tenant’s abandonment of millions of pounds of cathode ray tubes and related e-waste.
  • Represented Fortune 500 natural gas utility in a federal criminal investigation into the alleged release of a natural gas odorant.
  • Represent one of the world's largest integrated producers of polymers and fibers in a federal criminal investigation into shipments of byproducts, co-products and co-products used as fuels.
  • Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act
  • Represent leading lawn and garden manufacturer in one of the largest FIFRA civil and criminal enforcement matters.
  • Environmental transactions
  • Represent global leader in specialty chemicals in the divestiture of a specialty-batch chemical manufacturing facility subject to pending federal civil and criminal investigations.
  • Represent leading lawn and garden manufacturer in the potential acquisition of a fertilizer manufacturing facility.
  • Represent one of the largest pipeline companies in the United States in multiple access and indemnity agreements, due diligence efforts, and real estate acquisitions.
  • Workplace safety
  • Represent Fortune 50 energy company in a mechanical integrity review of fixed equipment inspection and maintenance programs for oil refineries throughout the United States, Canada and South Africa.
  • Represent one of the largest independent midstream energy companies in North America in a federal criminal investigation into an explosion and fire at a hazardous materials recycling center.
  • Represent one of the world's largest integrated producers of polymers and fibers in an internal investigation into the OSHA recordability of alleged exposure to a chemical manufactured by less than 10 facilities in the world.

Presentations and Events