United States: Texas Assistant Attorney General David Terry Joins Hunton Andrews Kurth’s Environmental Team in Houston

Published on Jan 16, 2024

David Terry, an experienced environmental enforcement attorney whose legal career includes more than a decade of service with the Texas Attorney General’s office and with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, has joined Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP.

Based in Houston, Terry joins the firm as a counsel and will focus his environmental and natural resources practice on litigation and regulatory matters spanning the federal, state, and administrative levels. He will also offer compliance, permitting, and transactional counseling to clients in the energy, chemicals, and manufacturing sectors.

As the latest addition to the firm’s growing environmental presence in Texas, Terry is an ideal strategic fit in Texas, where the firm serves a range of transactional, regulatory and litigation needs for energy industry clients.

“Leveraging more than a decade of experience as an enforcement attorney with the Texas Attorney General’s office and TCEQ, David adds a valuable perspective to the firm’s nationally recognized environmental practice,” said Deidre Duncan head of Hunton Andrews Kurth’s environmental practice. “We are thrilled to welcome David to our team.”

Terry joined the Environmental Protection Division of the Texas Attorney General’s office in 2016, as an Assistant Attorney General on the Enforcement Team. In that capacity, he managed a complex docket of approximately 30 civil enforcement matters, principally referred by TCEQ.

His responsibilities included initiating and prosecuting lawsuits to enforce state laws and regulations by seeking civil penalties and injunctive relief. In addition to statutory penalties, he handled lawsuits seeking civil restitution for natural resource damages as well as Natural Resource Damage Assessment (“NRDA”) actions in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Justice and federal agencies. Terry also participated in administrative appeals of final agency decisions and rule challenges.

A selection of Terry’s notable representations include:

  • Served as lead counsel in a civil enforcement action seeking civil penalties and injunctive relief related to a large fire that occurred at a chemical storage facility and a civil restitution action related to the same event which resulted in the payment of damages due to injuries inflicted upon national historic sites.
  • Served on the litigation team against a major automobile manufacturer and its affiliates for tampering with diesel vehicle emissions controls.
  • Served on the Texas Attorney General’s PFAS litigation team as part of a large multi-state NRDA action related to the manufacturing and release of PFAS.
  • Served as lead counsel against several refineries, chemical manufacturers, and chemical storage plants related to emissions events occurring at their facilities.
  • Served as lead counsel to the State of Texas in a large NRDA action related to a barge collision in the Gulf of Mexico, resulting in a $15.3 million settlement.

Prior to joining the Texas Attorney General’s office, Terry served as an enforcement attorney with TCEQ for nearly four years. At TCEQ, Terry prosecuted environmental enforcement actions at the administrative level and was responsible for a docket of cases involving all types of environmental media, which were litigated before the State Office of Administrative Hearings and ultimately presented to the TCEQ Commissioners for final agency decision.

During his tenure at TCEQ, Terry resolved to conclusion over 90 enforcement actions. In addition to litigating enforcement actions, Terry served as legal counsel to the Executive Director’s branch of TCEQ and was a member of the Excessive Emissions Event Committee, where he assisted in the evaluation of emissions events from regulated facilities and provided recommendations as to whether the events should be deemed “excessive” under state law.

Terry also served on TCEQ’s Litigation Committee, tasked with evaluating cases being handled by other Litigation Division attorneys and assisting with overall litigation strategy and planning. Additionally, he served as liaison counsel to the Texas Attorney General’s office for cases referred for civil enforcement.

Terry earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Texas at Austin and his law degree from the University of Houston Law Center.

Hunton Andrews Kurth’s global environmental practice of over 50 attorneys have assisted with development and financing of new energy sources and retirement of traditional energy sources, participated in the policy development process, helped clients navigate regulatory changes affecting the industry, and counseled clients on strategic opportunities to diversify their energy portfolios and achieve a greener economy. The practice and many of its lawyers are ranked Band 1 nationally by Chambers USA and Chambers Global, as well as by many other well-respected ranking publications.