Industry Shakers: Superfund Attorney Talks Gold King Mine Blowout

Peter Hsiao says the EPA’s credibility is at stake amid litigation over the effects of the Gold King Mine blowout.

In 2015, 3 million gallons of toxic mining wastewater spilled out of the Gold King Mine near Silverton, Colo. Environmental Protection Agency personnel, along with workers for Environmental Restoration LLC, triggered the release into the Animas River watershed through three states and into the Colorado River Basin.

Hsiao is working on litigation on behalf of the state of Utah in the matter. The state has asked for nearly $2 billion in damages resulting from the spill.

“The last administration took responsibility” for the disaster, Hsiao told Bloomberg Environment, adding that former EPA administrator Scott Pruitt also formally accepted responsibility for the disaster.

“Now we have [Acting Administrator Andrew] Wheeler, and I’m hopeful,” Hsaio says, “Nevertheless, they have chosen not to work with Utah. If the court rules in our favor, the possibility of settlement would be much more realistic.”

Hsiao recently joined the Los Angeles office of King & Spalding LLP as a partner and head of its environmental, health, and safety team.

He comes from Morrison & Foerster LLP, where he practiced for more than 20 years.

In other moves:

Steven Goldenberg has joined Giordano Halleran & Ciesla PC as a shareholder after spending nearly 14 years at Fox Rothschild LLP.

Goldenberg represents energy service companies, engineering companies, and manufacturers and has chaired former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s Energy Master Plan Task Force on Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.

He is a registered lobbyist and represents clients before the New Jersey Legislature, the Governor’s Office, and state administrative agencies over energy and procurement matters.

Goldenberg focuses on developing energy infrastructure public-private partnerships, microgrid and cogeneration projects, and he practices environmental, real estate, land use, construction, government procurement, and redevelopment law, according to the firm’s website.

Dave Franchina has joined McGuireWoods LLP as a partner in the firm’s Charlotte, N.C., office. Franchina has more than 30 years’ experience advising clients in project development, environmental remediation and dispute resolution, and multi-million dollar cleanup projects.

He represents institutional clients and regional developers in brownfields redevelopment projects across the Southeast and provides environmental compliance advice to large manufacturers.

“Dave has guided numerous clients through challenging site cleanup and redevelopment projects,” said Vishwa Link, chairman of the firm’s regulatory and compliance department. “His experience in critical regulatory matters adds value in many areas, including our energy industry team and McGuireWoods Consulting’s infrastructure and economic development group.”

Hunain Sarwar has joined Scarinci Hollenbeck LLC‘s Environmental & Land Use practice group as an associate. Sarwar represents both public and private entities in environmental law matters. His practice includes regulatory compliance counseling, environmental litigation, solid waste management, management of environmental liabilities in corporate, and financial transactions.

Sarwar previously worked as a summer associate at the firm. Founded in 1988, Scarinci Hollenbeck has offices in New Jersey, New York City, San Francisco, and the District of Columbia.

To contact the reporter on this story: Fatima Hussein in Washington at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Rachael Daigle at

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