Industry Shakers: Dentons Attorney Talks Pruitt; Noble Energy Hires

Global law firm Dentons has named Michael E. Sandgren a partner in its litigation and dispute resolution practice in Oakland, Calif.

Sandgren represents manufacturers and distributors of industrial products, and has more than 20 years of experience in toxic torts and environmental litigation. He previously worked at Selman Breitman LLP in the San Francisco Bay Area.

As a conversation turned to the Environmental Protection Agency, Sandgren told Bloomberg Environment that Administrator Scott Pruitt’s performance “concerns me, to be honest.”

“The EPA serves an important function, and there’s an effort now to limit or to hinder what the EPA can do—it’s sort of a sad moment and it’s tough on their staff on what they’re going through now,” he said.

There are plenty of legitimate plaintiffs’ claims in his line of work, “but the most important aspect of my job is to show how plaintiffs have not matched their claim with the right defendant,” Sandgren told Bloomberg Environment.

“My job is to get the case dismissed through summary judgment or before trial,” he said.

Noble Energy

In other moves, Rachel Clingman joined Noble Energy Inc. this month as the organization’s senior vice president, general counsel, and corporate secretary.

Clingman, who will take on the company’s legal and compliance teams, replaces Arnold J. Johnson, who departed the company in November, according to Securities and Exchange Commission documents.

Noble Energy explores for and produces crude oil, natural gas, and natural gas liquids. The company operates primarily in the Rocky Mountains, deepwater Gulf of Mexico, Israel, the North Sea and West Africa, according to Bloomberg data.

Clingman joined the company the same week that Noble Energy executives presented at the UBS Global Oil & Gas Conference.

At the conference, Gary W. Willingham, the company’s executive vice president of operations, talked about the possibility of a Colorado ballot measure that would require buffer zones around fracking activity that could affect Noble Energy’s operations in Denver.

“There is a ballot initiative out there right now that’s been titled, but it does not have the signatures yet to make it to the ballot. So I’m not too concerned about it right now. But it is an election year in Colorado, so it will get a little noisy.”

Environmental nonprofit Colorado Rising is calling for a state statute that would create a 2,500-foot buffer zone between fracking zones and certain “vulnerable areas” like playgrounds and irrigation canals.

Clingman most recently was vice president and general counsel for BHP Billiton’s Petroleum and Mineral Americas businesses, according to a press release.

To contact the reporter on this story: Fatima Hussein in Washington at fhussein@bloombergenvironment.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Rachael Daigle at rdaigle@bloombergenvironment.com