John J. Harris is a Partner in the Los Angeles office of Locke Lord LLP where he has more than 30 years of experience representing producers, working interest owners, land and mineral owners, financial institutions and public agencies on oil and gas, energy and environmental matters.
John has extensive experience in all aspects of energy law, including the wide range of operational problems faced by energy producers doing business in California and in other states. He also has significant experience representing oil and gas, industrial and local government clients in environmental litigation, transactional and regulatory matters.
With his broad transactional experience, John has helped energy industry clients in the purchase and sale of oil and gas producing properties and pipelines, operating agreements, financing transactions and production purchase and sales agreements, oil and gas lease negotiations, as well as agreements with governmental agencies. He provides mineral title opinions and assists clients in resolving complex title issues.
John has extensive experience in the day-to-day legal issues that face energy producers in California, from obtaining permits for oil and gas exploration and production operations and facilities to resolving issues with environmental regulators. He also advises clients and interacts with legislators and regulators regarding matters affecting the energy industry in California.
In litigation, John has represented clients in many different types of oil and gas cases, including lawsuits over the rights of working interest owners under joint operating agreements, accounting disputes, oil and gas lease litigation, drainage and development and subsurface trespass claims, actions for breach of implied covenants and fiduciary duty, quiet-title matters and other title disputes, claims for misuse of confidential information, constitutional questions, secured transactions issues and securities fraud cases.
John’s environmental litigation practice has included many Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) cases, contaminated property cleanup and cost recovery cases, as well as environmental insurance coverage claims.
His diverse and extensive experience has given him an opportunity to gain an understanding of the engineering, geologic and other technical issues, as well as the business, practical, environmental and political considerations, involved in oil and gas exploration and production operations in California.
John also regularly advises clients on the impact of federal and California environmental law on the operation and construction of energy facilities. He has worked with clients on obtaining permits and approvals from California environmental agencies, such as the California Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources, the Regional Water Quality Control Board, the Department of Toxic Substances Control and the South Coast Air Quality Management District, as well as other state and local agencies.
He has negotiated remediation agreements and consent decrees with California environmental agencies and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. John has worked with many local government agencies in their efforts to redevelop and remediate brownfields sites. He has represented landowners and oil companies in negotiations for the abandonment and remediation of oil producing properties.
He has advised clients throughout California on their environmental compliance efforts, and, in particular, issues relating to the control of storm water and urban runoff and National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System issues.
Representative Experience :
- Represented buyers and sellers in transactions for transfer and financing of oil and gas producing properties, coal seam gas properties, pipelines, oil and gas lease negotiations, operating agreements, and production purchase and sales agreements, as well as agreements with governmental agencies.
- Prepared title opinions relating to oil and gas property acquisitions and sales, and enforceability opinions for the financing of oil and gas acquisitions.
- Represented mineral owners and major oil companies in negotiations for oil and gas leases and seismic and exploration agreements.
- Represented oil producers in obtaining state and local permits for construction and operation of oil and gas exploration, production, transportation, storage and disposal facilities.
- Represented mineral owners in quiet-title action regarding termination of oil and gas lease and to recover damages for drainage and failure to operate in accordance with good oilfield practices.
- Represented surface and mineral owner in writ proceeding brought by environmental groups challenging oil and gas development.
- Represented city in administrative and judicial proceedings regarding the assessment of US$56 million utility users tax on natural gas used at an electrical generating plant.
Professional Affiliations :
- Member, State Bar of California
- Member, Environmental Law Section
- Member, Natural Resources Subsection of Real Property Section
- Member, Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation
- Member, California Independent Petroleum Association
- Member, Institute for Energy Law, The Center for American and International Law
- Member, Los Angeles County Bar Association, Environmental Law Section
- Member, California Redevelopment Association, Brownfields Committee
- J.D., University of California, Hastings College of Law, 1980
- B.A., University of California, Santa Barbara, 1974
Admissions : California
Admitted To Practice :
- U.S. District Court for the Central District of California
- U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California
- U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California
- U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California
Rate : $$$$