Image: Clare Bienvenu
Clare
Clare M. Bienvenu
Of Counsel, New Orleans
Hancock Whitney Center
701 Poydras Street
Suite 5000
New Orleans, Louisiana 70139

Overview

Clare Bienvenu is an experienced environmental regulatory and litigation attorney, who has practiced in both Louisiana and California. Clare counsels clients regarding regulatory problems spanning the major federal environmental statutes, including the Clean Air Act, CERCLA, RCRA, the Clean Water Act, the Endangered Species Act, and NEPA, and advises clients concerning various state environmental statutes and regulations.  Her regulatory and transactional experience includes assisting energy, petrochemical, and industrial clients in compliance matters concerning air quality, water quality, hazardous waste, land remediation, and renewable energy projects.  She has significant litigation experience, including CERCLA cost recovery and tort actions for land contamination, tort actions associated with storm water damage, environmental products liability actions, and environmental insurance coverage disputes.

Clare has assisted clients in several substantial site clean-up matters. Her experience includes the representation of clients as part of potentially responsible party groups formed to negotiate cleanup orders and response actions with state and federal environmental regulatory agencies.  In connection with these sites, she has worked with consultants regarding site evaluations and remedial alternatives to implement clean-up goals. 

Clare represents clients in connection with administrative proceedings and agency enforcement actions. She has participated in consent decree negotiations with the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Justice, as well as settlement negotiations with the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality and the California Air Resources Board.

Clare has counseled several non-California companies distributing or selling products in California regarding California Proposition 65 and the environmental aspects of California’s consumer products regulations.

Clare received her Juris Doctor, magna cum laude, from Tulane University Law School, where she served as senior notes and comments editor on the board of the Tulane Environmental Law Journal.  She also holds a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering, magna cum laude, from Texas A&M University.  She has practiced environmental law at firms in San Francisco and Los Angeles, in addition to New Orleans. 

Experience

  • Represented developer with claims against a municipality arising under CERCLA based on groundwater contamination caused by leaking sewer.
  • Represented adjacent landowner in lawsuit involving a Superfund site, including common law tort claims and CERCLA claims, and involving issues related to acid mine drainage, statutes of limitations, continuing tort, and restoration damages.
  • Represented industry client with legacy CERCLA liabilities attributable to former chemical manufacturing and recycling subsidiaries at Superfund site.
  • Represented multiple clients in environmental cleanups across the country and developed investigations and remediations in accordance with state laws, including Louisiana’s Voluntary Remediation Program and Risk Evaluation Corrective Action Program (RECAP).
  • Provided regulatory counsel concerning numerous compliance issues, including advising natural gas company as to how new National Emissions Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants regulations applied to its facilities under the Clean Air Act and advising chemical companies regarding solid waste and hazardous waste classification of materials used in production process, pursuant to the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA).
  • Counseled clients with respect to oil and gas regulatory issues, including advising oil company regarding discharge release reporting requirements under NPDES permit and the Clean Water Act.
  • Facilitated, negotiated, and enforced insurance coverage for environmental claims on behalf of water utility company.
  • Represented television manufacturer in constitutional challenge against electronic waste program under dormant Commerce Clause and other constitutional provisions.
  • Performed due diligence for a large portfolio sale of gasoline service stations.
  • Provided environmental law compliance and environmental land use advice to developer of a major water storage and solar energy project.
  • Defended and settled California Proposition 65 enforcement claims and counseled clients regarding Proposition 65 compliance issues and risks.
  • Resolved regulatory enforcement claims brought by the California Air Resources Board based on alleged violation of California consumer products emission standards.
  • Counseled client and negotiated with state and local agencies regarding diesel truck and generator emission issues.
  • Represented large well-known hotelier to resolve flood damage claims based on historic California storm incidents, including a 500-year storm.
  • Represented excess insurance carrier in multimillion-dollar bad faith claim against primary insurance carrier.
  • Assisted in negotiating Consent Decrees on behalf of two different natural gas companies involved in enforcement proceedings for potential violations of the Clean Air Act within tribal air sheds in Utah. Parties to the Consent Decree included EPA Region 8 and the U.S. Dept. of Justice.

Involvement

Professional

  • Air & Waste Management Association, Louisiana Section (Member)
  • Louisiana State Bar Association (Member, Section of Environmental Law)

Presentations

  • “Overview of Brownfields and LDEQ’s Voluntary Remediation Programs,” Liskow & Lewis and U.S. Risk Management, New Orleans, LA, January 16, 2008.
  • “Louisiana Environmental Regulations,” Louisiana Land Law for Civil Engineers and Land Surveyors, New Orleans, LA, July 19, 2007.
  • “Recent Developments,” Liskow & Lewis, Environmental Compliance: Hot Issues and Recent Developments, New Orleans, LA, April 26, 2007.

Publications

  • “Federal Court Dismisses CERCLA Suit based on Lack of Necessary Response Costs,” September 25, 2012.
  • “Federal District Court Allows Chevron to Proceed with a CERCLA § 107 Cost Recovery Action to Attempt to Hold Non-Settling “Smaller Responsible Parties” Jointly and Severally Liable for All Response Costs,” September 11, 2012.
  • “California Supreme Court Invalidates the Last Vestiges of the Common Law Release Rule – Plaintiffs May Recover the Unsatisfied Portion of All Awarded Damages from Nonsettling Joint Tortfeasors, Even in the Absence of a Good Faith Settlement,” September 6, 2012.
  • “State of California v. Continental Insurance: California Supreme Court Ruling Paves the Way for ‘Stacking' Multiple Insurance Policy Limits in Response to Certain Environmental Cleanup Claims,” August 30, 2012.
  • “LDEQ May Require Louisiana Facilities Exempt from Air Permitting to Maintain Emission Records,” July 10, 2008.
  • “Ninth Circuit Vacates EPA Rule Excepting Oil and Gas Construction Discharges from NPDES Permitting,” June 25, 2008.
  • “Violations of Environmental Terms in Federal Oil and Gas Lease Insufficient to Support a Claim under the False Claims Act,” March 12, 2008.
  • “New EPA Air Toxics Rule Affects Facilities with TEG Dehydrators,” February 8, 2007. -"Recent Developments," Louisiana Bar Journal, April/May 2008.
  • Casenote. United States v. Shell Oil Company: The Tension of CERCLA Arranger Liability for Government Wartime Production Facilities. Tulane Environmental Law Journal, Vol. 16, Winter 2003

After Hours

“My biggest thrill is exploring through travel.  I’ve visited 28 countries and 5 continents, and I met my husband on one of those trips. At home, I enjoy involving our children in my hobbies, and we’ve recently taken up vegetable gardening.”