Tim Sowecke is a director in the firm’s Oklahoma City office and is a member of the Energy, Environment & Natural Resources and Real Estate Practice Groups. He is admitted to practice in federal and state courts in Oklahoma and Wyoming.
Tim’s comprehensive environmental practice includes state and federal permitting and compliance matters relevant to oil and gas operations, pipelines, water use, wind development, other minerals development, a variety of manufacturing and distribution facilities, residential and commercial real estate development and agricultural operations. He has a comprehensive understanding of state and federal environmental regulatory law, specifically compliance and agency enforcement issues pertaining to the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration regulations (PHMSA), National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), Clean Air Act (CAA) Clean Water Act (CWA), Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA or Superfund), Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), Toxics Release Inventory program (TRI), Endangered Species Act (ESA), and the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA). Tim also frequently assists clients with drafting and submitting comments to proposed rules and regulations related to state and federal environmental laws.
Tim possesses an advanced degree in addition to his law degree, which allows him to interface on highly technical issues with a range of experts (e.g., engineers, geologists, geochemists, hydrologists, lab technicians), and scientists at state and federal agencies. He regularly guides his clients through permitting, compliance, and enforcement actions in front of the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality (ODEQ), Oklahoma Corporation Commission (OCC), and Oklahoma Water Resources Board (OWRB), as well federal agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Department of Interior (DOI), Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Tim takes great pride in the relationships he has built with these agencies in the course of helping his clients.
In addition to Tim’s comprehensive environmental practice, he has demonstrated himself as a thought leader in the nascent area of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), sometimes referred to as “forever chemicals.” In this area Tim works with a range of laboratories and experts from chemists to engineers and hydrologists to assist clients with contamination issues related to PFAS, including facilities contamination as well as environmental contamination, e.g., air, soil, groundwater, drinking water, and surface water. Tim regularly speaks and writes on PFAS regulatory developments and litigation matters.
Tim’s energy practice focuses on litigation related to environmental pollution and contamination issues related to oil and gas operations, midstream (i.e., pipelines), and disposal of oil field wastes, including assisting clients with issues related to Underground Injection Control (UIC) wells falling under federal and state jurisdiction. He also regularly assists land departments in upstream and midstream companies with title issues and securing various easements, rights of way, surface use agreements, and other agreements related to energy development, including brine production leases for purposes of iodine, lithium, and other mineral extraction.
Tim’s real estate practice includes assisting clients with permitting and zoning applications related to residential and commercial developments, and the sale and acquisition of real estate. This includes representation of clients in front of local zoning bodies, as well as assisting with environmental due diligence, specifically American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) Phase I and II environmental assessments in addition to guiding clients through risks associated with the acquisition and divestiture of various oil and gas assets.
While evaluating environmental risks have always been a part of Tim’s practice, more and more, he is assisting clients with more formal evaluations of environmental risks for purposes of Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) assessments and disclosures.
In addition to his environmental, energy, and real estate practices, Tim is committed to pro- and low-bono service related to criminal justice reform matters, and he also assists small local nonprofits with a variety of legal issues.
A graduate of the University of Wyoming College of Law, Tim was awarded the Excellence in Advocacy Award and received a number of merit-based scholarships. He also served as student editor for the Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation Journal. Upon graduation, Tim served as a judicial law clerk to the Honorable Kate Fox of the Wyoming Supreme Court.
Outside of the firm, he is an active member of the Mineral Lawyers Society of Oklahoma City and is also a member of the American Bar Association, Wyoming Bar Association and Oklahoma County Bar Association.
Tim received his Bachelor’s degree in Philosophy and Environmental Studies from The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington. He holds a Master of Energy Environment and Natural Resources from The University of Wyoming Haub School of Environment and Natural Resources. He is also a graduate of the Wyoming Department of Agriculture’s Agriculture and Natural Resources Mediation Program.