Mary Ellen Ternes

Mary Ellen Ternes has long been recognized nationally in the fields of chemical engineering and environmental law and advocacy. Her practice brings over 30 years of in-depth experience at the intersection of energy, manufacturing, air quality, hazardous waste management, infrastructure and disaster response.

Prior to her 24 years as an environmental attorney, Mary Ellen served the U.S. EPA in emergency response, hazardous waste site remediation and permitting, then industry as a commercial hazardous waste incineration compliance management, and then back to U.S. EPA as a law clerk for EPA’s Office of General Counsel. With this background, she is able to draw on EPA administrative process, technical, chemical engineering and field experience in the most complex and technically challenging environmental matters.

This rare combination brings uncommon insights to environmental challenges revealing efficient solutions for commercial, industrial and governmental entities. Mary Ellen applies this experience to support a broad range of clients in evolving regulatory, transactional and litigation contexts, at a time when fundamental risk management concepts are being reconsidered and companies face an ever-shifting compliance landscape.

Mary Ellen received her B.E. in Chemical Engineering from Vanderbilt University (1984), and a J.D. with high honors, from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock (1995), where she was Managing Editor of the UALR Law Journal and clerked for the U.S. EPA Office of General Counsel, Air and Radiation Division. Mary Ellen is licensed in Arkansas, South Carolina, Oklahoma and the District of Columbia, as well as the U.S. District Courts for the Eastern and Western Districts of Arkansas, Eastern and Western Districts of Oklahoma, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit.

Mary Ellen began her career with U.S. EPA’s Superfund Emergency Response Program, utilizing her chemical engineering degree for chemical release response, remediation and treatment as an On-Scene Coordinator and federal “commander on the scene.” Trained and charged by EPA Region 6 with emergency field response, Mary Ellen characterized root cause, extent and fate of hazardous chemical releases, designing and implementing removal and remedial actions for uncontrolled hazardous waste sites throughout EPA Region 6, including projects like the Vertac dioxin waste site with its on-site incineration remedy in Jacksonville, Arkansas.

After several years in the field she moved to EPA’s Resource Conservation Recovery Act (RCRA) program, becoming an EPA Region 6 hazardous waste incineration RCRA Subpart O permit writer, leading the EPA’s national RCRA incineration permit writer workshop. She left EPA to work for the pervasively regulated hazardous waste incineration industry, managing RCRA, Clean Air Act (CAA) and Toxic Substances Control Act compliance programs for ENSCO, a commercial hazardous waste incineration facility. At ENSCO, Mary Ellen was responsible for permitting, compliance demonstrations and enforcement, including the on-site incineration project at the BROS Superfund Site in Bridgeport, New Jersey.

Through her work with ENSCO’s attorneys while chairing the Permitting Committee for the Hazardous Waste Treatment Council (predecessor to the Environmental Technology Council), Mary Ellen became interested in environmental law, particularly the CAA. While serving as an advisory expert in the litigation surrounding the Vertac on-site incineration project, Mary Ellen met the EPA’s Office of General Counsel staff, and later clerked for EPA’s OGC Air and Radiation Division, where her experience confirmed her decision to change careers from chemical engineering to environmental law.

Since 1995, Mary Ellen Ternes has become well-known for providing sophisticated environmental legal strategies informed by practical EPA, industry sector, and chemical process experience. Her early foundation in emergency response, hazardous waste site remediation, incineration and chemical process safety, permitting and compliance, followed by over twenty years counselling clients through complex regulatory and technical issues provides unique depth in developing effective legal strategies. Relying on this rare breadth and depth, she guides a broad spectrum of industrial, commercial and municipal sector clients through complex projects such as:

  • Permitting and compliance challenges and enforcement arising from exceptional process design and operating scenarios that interfere with efficient permitting and reasonable compliance demonstrations, subjecting permittee to unreasonable enforcement exposure;
  • Legal rapid response required for hazardous substance release disaster response, mitigation and remediation;
  • Risk management strategies for chemical process, water and waste treatment plants threatened by extreme weather events;
  • Transactions involving multi-faceted operational and/or pollutant scenarios that threaten stalling transaction closings and commercial development generally, including regulatory agency approvals and financing;
  • Litigation involving chemical processes or pollution events including class actions, breach of contract, common law actions and citizen suits, as well as civil and criminal enforcement proceedings before administrative agencies.

With this unique combination of education, training and work experience in the fields of chemical engineering and environmental law, Mary Ellen has served in various leadership and liaison roles within and between the legal and engineering communities. As a Fellow of the American College of Environmental Lawyers (ACOEL), a Fellow of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE), and an active member of the American Bar Association (ABA), Mary Ellen focuses on better integrating law and policy with science and engineering. She is a frequent author and speaker particularly as it relates to improving applied science-based environmental policy.

Mary Ellen is recognized by the International Who's Who of Environment Lawyers (since 2004); Chambers USA Guide to America's Leading Lawyers for Business(since 2011), The Best Lawyers in America©(since 2007) (environmental law; environmental litigation; administrative /regulatory law), Oklahoma Super Lawyers (since 2009), in which she was named to its list of “Top 25 Women Oklahoma Super Lawyers," and Martindale-Hubbell as AV. She was also recognized by Best Lawyers® as Oklahoma City’s "Lawyer of the Year" for Environmental Law in 2011, 2016 and 2019, an honor only given to a single lawyer in each legal specialty in each community.

Presentations and Speaking Engagements

Publications and Conference Proceedings

Litigation and Published Cases

Professional and Community Involvement

Professional Experience


Presentations and Speaking Engagements
  • Speaker, Chemical Process Plants, Extreme Weather, Legal Implications and Risk Management through Resilience, University of Texas A&M Energy Institute, College Station, TX, June 17, 2019
  • Moderator, National Preparedness and Hazard Mitigation, Oklahoma City University School of Law Murrah Center for Homeland Security Law & Policy, 2019 National Summit, Oklahoma City, OK, April 19, 2019
  • Conference Co-Chair, What You Need to Know About Disaster Preparedness, Response and Recovery, Oklahoma City University School of Law Murrah Center for Homeland Security Law & Policy, 2019 National Summit, in collaboration with ACOEL, Oklahoma City, OK, April 19, 2019
  • Speaker, Implementing the National Contingency Plan, ACOEL Regional Conference, Oklahoma City, OK, April 18, 2019
  • Speaker, Environmental Regulations: Release Response and Preparedness, ACOEL Regional Conference, Oklahoma City, OK, April 18, 2019
  • Conference Co-Chair, ACOEL Regional Conference, Environmental Issues in Disaster Preparedness, Response and Recovery, in collaboration with the Oklahoma City University School of Law Murrah Center for Homeland Security Law & Policy, Oklahoma City, OK, April 18, 2019
  • Speaker, Legal Liability, Good Engineering Judgment and Adaptation, AIChE Center for Chemical Process Safety (CCPS) Global Congress on Process Safety (GCPS), New Orleans, LA, April 1, 2019
  • Speaker, Chemical Engineers: Environmental Law and Policy Making, AIChE Annual Meeting, Pittsburgh, PA, October 29, 2018
  • Speaker, EPA Deregulatory Actions Status 2018, PAIC Town Hall, AIChE Annual Meeting, Pittsburgh, PA, October 28, 2018
  • Speaker, Climate Change Task Force Policy Review Project: Critical Review of EPA’s Endangerment Findings, PAIC Townhall, AIChE Annual Meeting, Pittsburgh, PA, October 28, 2018
  • Speaker, Legal Liability Considerations: Remediation Contractors, 2018 Oklahoma Brownfields Conference, Oklahoma City, OK, September 27, 2018
  • Speaker, Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, Environmental Law Institute, Summer School (webinar), July 17, 2018
  • Speaker, Industrial Chemical and Petrochemical Operations: Climate Adaptation Lega and Engineering Issues in Context of Hazard Risk, EarthX 2018 Law & Policy Symposium – “Back to the Future,” Dallas, TX, April 20, 2018
  • Speaker, The Politics of Trump, Trudeau and Pena Nieto: Three Amigos or What? A Look at NAFTA, Immigration and Climate Change, ABA Business Law Section, Orlando, FL, April 13, 2018
  • Speaker, Climate Change Task Force: Climate Change Policy Review Project, PAIC Town Hall, AIChE Annual Meeting, Minneapolis, MN, October 29, 2017
  • Speaker/Moderator, Ethics Essentials for Environmental, Energy and Natural Resource Lawyers, ABA SEER 25th Fall Conference, Baltimore, MD, October 19, 2017
  • Speaker, Clean Air Act Ambiguity, Misconceptions, and Challenges, Arkansas Bar Association, Environmental Law Section, Little Rock, AR, October 10, 2017
  • Speaker, Managing Environmental Business Risk in the New Administration, Oklahoma Bar Association, Environmental Law Section, Sulfur, OK, September 28, 2017
  • Speaker, Industrial Chemical and Petrochemical Operations: Climate Adaptation Issues in Context of Hazard Risk Analysis and Plant Design, NASA Interagency Forum on Climate Risks, Impacts and Adaptation, Washington, DC, September 21, 2017
  • Speaker/Moderator, Carbon Capture, Utilization and Sequestration: Law and Policy Panel, Carbon Management Technology Conference, Houston, TX, July 19, 2017
  • Speaker and ACOEL, Lessons Learned: Effective Environmental Regulation of Critical Infrastructure Development & Operation, XI International Convention on Environment & Development, Havana, Cuba, July 5, 2017
  • Plenary Speaker, Adjusting to EPA Policy Changes with the New Trump Administration, American Institute of Chemical Engineers, AIChE Midwest Regional Conference, Chicago, IL, March 1, 2017
  • Speaker, Climate Change Policy Post 2015 Paris Agreement, AIChE Annual Meeting, San Francisco, CA, November 16, 2016
  • Speaker, Corporate Drivers Toward Sustainability: Carrots & Sticks, AIChE Annual Meeting, San Francisco, CA, November 16, 2016
  • Host and Facilitator, AIChE San Francisco Area Climate Adaptation Workshop, AIChE Annual Meeting, San Francisco, CA, November 15, 2016
  • Speaker, AIChE and Resilient Climate-Change Responses, AIChE Annual Meeting, San Francisco, CA, November 13, 2016
  • Speaker, Environmental Law: Oil and Gas Hot Topics, Oklahoma City Mineral Lawyers Society, Oklahoma City, OK, October 20, 2016
  • Moderator, Climate Change – Adaption in the Flesh, ACOEL 2016 Annual Meeting, New Orleans, LA, October 27, 2016
  • Speaker, Environmental Law: Smart Business Strategies, ABA Business Law Section (webinar), August 25, 2016
  • Speaker, EPA Regulation of RCRA Exempt Oil and Gas Exploration and Production Derived Solid Waste, Oklahoma Corporation Commission Desk Sessions, Oklahoma City, OK, August 2, 2016
  • Speaker, 2015 Year in Review and Beyond, ABA SEER (webinar), June 30, 2016
  • Speaker, Environmental Issues in the Power Industry, American Society of Mechanical Engineers Power & Energy Conference & Exhibition, June 28, 2016, Charlotte, NC
  • Speaker, Staying on Track: Environmental Issues for Healthcare Providers, 26th Annual Crowe & Dunlevy Healthcare Update, May 3, 2016, Oklahoma City, OK
  • Speaker, Threading the Needle, Crowe & Dunlevy Oil and Gas Upstream Business Risk Management Symposium, April 20, 2016, Cushing, OK
  • Host and Facilitator, AIChE Houston Area Climate Adaptation Workshop, AIChE Spring Meeting and 12th Global Congress on Process Safety, April 12, 2016, Houston, TX
  • Speaker, Sustainability Decisions in a Post COP21 Era, AIChE Spring Meeting and 12th Global Congress on Process Safety, April 11, 2016, Houston, TX
  • Speaker, Management After Operator is Finished with the Water – Subsurface Focus, Water Acquisition and Management for Oil & Gas Development Conference, Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation, April 8, 2016, Houston, TX
  • Speaker, Fine Tuning Environmental Diligence in a Dynamic Transactions Market, Bloomberg BNA (webinar), March 24, 2016
  • Speaker, Critical Public Policy Issues for Every ChemE: Climate Change, AIChE Annual Meeting, Salt Lake City, UT, November 8, 2015
  • Moderator/Speaker, Good Environmental Due Diligence: What Is It, ABA Business Law Section Annual Meeting, Chicago, IL, September 18, 2015
  • Speaker, Hot Topics in Environmental, Energy and Natural Resources Law, ABA Annual Meeting, Chicago, IL, August 2, 2015
  • Speaker, Operational Safeguards, Risk Management and Mitigation Strategies, Crowe & Dunlevy's Avoiding a Shakedown: Induced Seismicity and the Legal, Regulatory and Operational Impacts of Earthquakes in Oklahoma, Oklahoma City, OK, July 16, 2015
  • Speaker, Criminal Enforcement of Environmental Law, ABA Business Law Section Spring Meeting, San Francisco, CA, April 18, 2015
  • Speaker, A Day in the Life of a Hospital Administrator: Environmental Issues, 25th Annual Crowe & Dunlevy Healthcare Update, Oklahoma City, OK, April 16, 2015
  • Moderator, Year in Review 2013: Highlights of Developments in Environment, Energy and Resources Law, ABA SEER (webinar), May 13, 2014
  • Speaker, Stay Sharp: Looking Beyond Biohazard Exposure Control, Crowe & Dunlevy Healthcare Practice Group (webinar), June 25, 2014
  • Speaker, 2014 Environmental Hot Topics, ABA Annual Meeting, Boston, MA, August 10, 2014
  • Speaker, Hot Topics in Environment, Energy and Natural Resources Law, ABA SEER (webinar), October 30, 2014
  • Speaker, Law Student and Young Attorneys Interested in Environmental and Energy Law, ABA SEER Forum, Oklahoma City, OK, October 30, 2014,
  • Moderator & Speaker, Environmental Insurance: Protecting Your Investment, 2014 Oklahoma Brownfields Conference, Tulsa, OK, November 5, 2014,
  • Moderator, BFPP & Continuing Obligations, 2014 Oklahoma Brownfields Conference, Tulsa, OK, November 5, 2014
  • Speaker, Air Emission Regulation and Shale Development, Oklahoma Corporation Commission 2013 Oil and Gas Institute, Tulsa, OK, October 18, 2013
  • Speaker, Shale Gas Environmental Regulation, Science History Institute, Joseph Priestley Society Lecture Series, Philadelphia, PA, October 17, 2013
  • Speaker, EPA Next Generation Enforcement Initiative, Environmental Federation of Oklahoma 22nd Annual Meeting, Oklahoma City, OK, October 4, 2013
  • Speaker, Introduction to Environmental Law, University of Tulsa School of Law, Energy Law Journal Regulatory Workshop, Tulsa, OK, August 23, 2013
  • Speaker, Emission Control and Compliance Issues in the Chemical & Petroleum Industries: EPA's Next Generation Compliance and Flare Enforcement Initiative, Air & Waste Management Association, 106th Annual Conference & Exhibition, Chicago, ILl, June 25, 2013
  • Speaker, Environmental Compliance Approaches in Manufacturing, and the Future of EPA Enforcement, American Institute of Chemical Engineers 2013 Spring Meeting and Global Congress on Process Safety, San Antonio, TX, May 1, 2013,
  • Speaker, Shale Oil and Gas Q&A Session: Environmental Regulatory and Enforcement Developments, AIChE Spring Meeting and Global Congress on Process Safety, San Antonio, TX, April 29, 2013
  • Speaker, The Future of EPA Enforcement and EPA's Flare Initiative, 16th Annual A&WMA Gulf Coast Chapter's Hot Air Topics Conference, Houston, TX, February 7, 2013
  • Speaker, Greenhouse Gas 'Best Available Control Technology': Carbon dioxide injection for Enhanced Oil Recovery, 2013 Energy, Utility and Environment Conference, Phoenix, AZ, January 28, 2013
  • Speaker, EPA's Next Generation Enforcement and Flare Enforcement Initiative, Integrated Environmental Management Consortium, Houston, TX, January 23, 2013
  • Speaker, Regulatory Developments in Air Permitting, Reporting and E&P Waste Policy, Oklahoma City Mineral Lawyers Society, Oklahoma City, OK, January 17, 2013
  • Speaker, Water Law and Policy: Implications for Water Sourcing in Shale Development, AIChE-A&WMA Joint Workshop: “Shale Oil and Gas E&P – Water Challenges and Opportunities,” Pittsburgh, PA, November 1, 2012
  • Speaker, Technology Forcing with Clean Air Act Best Available Control Technology, AIChE Annual Meeting, Pittsburgh, PA, October 31, 2012
  • Speaker, EPA's Clean Air Act Authority to Regulate Greenhouse Gases, AIChE Annual Meeting, Pittsburgh, PA, October 29, 2012
  • Speaker, Greenhouse gas update: EPA rule challenges, cap and trade, LCFS, common law litigation and public trust, ABA SEER 20th Section Fall Meeting, Austin, TX, October 12, 2012
  • Speaker, EPA Greenhouse Gas Reporting Rule: Lessons Learned, AIChE and the Air & Waste Management Association (webinar), September 12, 2012
  • Speaker, Rethink: Impacts of Social Media, 2012 Oklahoma Brownfields Conference, Oklahoma City, OK, May 22, 2012
  • Speaker, Shale Development: Air Quality Permitting Challenges and Compliance Strategies, Air & Waste Management Association and American Institute of Chemical Engineers (webinar), May 1, 2012
  • Speaker, A Conversation with Mary Ellen Ternes, Energy Law Journal Forum, Tulsa, OK, April 19, 2012
  • Speaker, Climate Change and Greenhouse Gas Regulation Update, AIChE Spring Meeting and 8th Global Congress on Process Safety, Houston, TX, April 4, 2012
  • Speaker, Environmental Liability: Regulation, Compliance and Litigation Risk, AIChE Spring Meeting and 8th Global Congress on Process Safety, Houston, TX, April 2, 2012
  • Speaker, Carbon, Capture and Sequestration: Regulatory and Policy, Carbon Management Technology Conference, Orlando, FL, February 8, 2012
  • Speaker, Counting Sequestered Carbon: CCS/EOR Conversion, Carbon Management Technology Conference, Orlando, FL, February 8, 2012
  • Speaker, Business Risks of Carbon Counting, Carbon Management Technology Conference, Orlando, FL, February 7, 2012
  • Speaker, Greenhouse Gas Reporting, 2011 Emerson Global Users Exchange, Nashville, TN, October 26, 2011 - October 27, 2011
  • Speaker, Legal Implications and Drivers in Sustainable Energy, AIChE Annual Meeting, Minneapolis, MN, October 18, 2011
  • Speaker, Climate Change and Greenhouse Gas Emissions: Current Law, Voluntary Initiatives and Future Implications, AIChE Annual Meeting, Minneapolis, MN, October 17, 2011
  • Speaker, Adaptation for Engineers, 2011 Oklahoma Engineering Conference, Norman, OK, June 9, 2011
  • Speaker, Greenhouse Gas Measurement and Legal Implications, AIChE Spring Meeting, Chicago, IL, March 16, 2011
  • Speaker, Climate Change Legislation and Regulation, AIChE Spring Meeting, Chicago, IL, March 16, 2011
  • Speaker, Environmental and Administrative Law 101, with Greenhouse Gas and Sustainability Update, AIChE Spring Meeting, Chicago, IL, March 15, 2011
  • Speaker, Climate Change Regulation and Litigation, AIChE Annual Meeting, Salt Lake City, UT, November 10, 2010
  • Speaker, Environmental and Administrative Law 101, AIChE Annual Meeting, Salt Lake City, UT, November 10, 2010
  • Speaker, Clean Air Act Update, Environmental Federation of Oklahoma Annual Meeting, October 14, 2010
  • Speaker, Barriers to Implementing Sustainable Approaches, 9th Annual Oklahoma Sustainability Network Conference, Edmond, OK, June 11, 2010
  • Speaker, Greenhouse Gas Law and Policy Developments, Association of Energy Engineers, Oklahoma Chapter, Oklahoma City, OK, May 19, 2010
  • Speaker, Climate Change Developments - Climate Regulation is Here to Stay, Arkansas Bar Association 14th Annual Environmental Law Conference, Rogers, AR, May 7, 2010
  • Speaker, Legal Issues Arising in Dry Cleaner Remediation, 2010 Oklahoma Brownfields Conference, Oklahoma City, OK, April 28, 2010
  • Speaker and Conference Co-Chair, Climate Change Legislation and Regulation, AIChE Spring Meeting, San Antonio, TX, March 23, 2010
  • Speaker, Greenhouse Gas Emissions Documentation, Tracking and Reporting, AIChE Spring Meeting, San Antonio, TX, March 22, 2010
  • Conference Co-Chair, 2010 American Institute of Chemical Engineers Spring Meeting, San Antonio, TX, March 21-25, 2010
  • Speaker, Applied Science in Policy Making, 2010 National Association of Environmental Law Societies Annual Meeting, New Orleans, LA, March 6, 2010
  • Speaker, Drivers, Science and Policy of Climate Change, 2010 National Association of Environmental Law Societies Annual Meeting, New Orleans, LA, March 5, 2010
  • Speaker, U.S. Climate Change: Legislation Update, AIChE Annual Meeting, Nashville, TN, November 11, 2009
  • Speaker, The Final Rule on Mandatory Reporting of Greenhouse Gases, McAfee & Taft and Cardinal Engineering Environmental Law Seminar, Oklahoma City, OK, October 13, 2009
  • Moderator, The Clean Air Act and Nanotechnology, ABA SEER Program Three in the Nanotechnology Teleconference Series (webinar), January 16, 2007
  • Speaker, Moderator’s Summary, Hot Topics 33rd Annual Conference on Environmental Law, ABA Section of Environment, Energy and Resources (Keystone Conference), Keystone, CO, March 12, 2004
  • Chair, 33rd Annual Conference on Environmental Law, ABA SEER, Keystone, CO, March 11-14, 2004
  • Producer and Speaker, ABA Center for CLE Clean Air Act Satellite Seminar, Washington, D.C., 2002
  • Speaker, Managing Mercury: It’s Sources, Fate and Regulation, Moderator’s Overview, 31st ABA SEER Annual Conference on Environmental Law, Keystone, CO, March 14-17, 2002
  • Speaker, Practical Implementations of Becoming a Non-Attainment Area, 5th Annual Joint Environmental Law Conference, Arkansas and Oklahoma Bar Associations, Environmental Law Sections, May 18-19, 2001
  • Producer, ABA Center for CLE Clean Air Act Satellite Seminar, Washington, D.C., 2001
Publications and Conference Proceedings
  • Author, A Different Kind of Carbon Exchange, Natural Resources & Environment, ABA SEER, Summer 2019
  • Co-Author, What You Need to Know About Disaster Preparedness, Response and Recovery, The Murrah Center for Homeland Security Law & Policy, 2019 National Summit, Oklahoma City, OK, April 19, 2019
  • Co-Author, Environmental Issues in Disaster Preparedness, Response and Recovery, ACOEL Regional Conference,Oklahoma City, OK, April 18, 2019
  • Author, Yes, You too Can Be Sued, or Legal Liability, Good Engineering Judgment and Adaptation, AIChE Spring Meeting and 15th Global Congress on Process Safety, New Orleans, LA, April 1, 2019
  • Author, Climate Change Adaptation by Any Other Name, Natural Resources & Environment, ABA SEER, November 15, 2018
  • Author, The Politics of Trump, Trudeau and Pena Nieto: Three Amigos or What? A Look at NAFTA, Immigration and Climate Change: Climate Change, ABA Business Law Section, Orlando, FL, April 13, 2018
  • Author, Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle Carbon Dioxide, Natural Resources & Environment ABA SEER, February 14, 2018
  • Author, Ethics (wake up!), Trends, ABA SEER, January 1, 2018
  • Author, Critical Issues: Trends in Corporate Sustainability, AIChE Chemical Engineering Progress, August 2017
  • Co-Author, The ChE in Context: Members will Shape AIChE’s Climate Change Policy, AIChE Chemical Engineering Progress, July 2017
  • Author, Highlights, ABA SEER Year in Review (2017, for YIR 2016)
  • Co-Author, Thomson Reuters’ Successful Partnering Between Inside and Outside Counsel (Chapter 13: Communications), 2017
  • Co-Author, The ChE in Context: Adjusting to Policy Changes: Full Reversal in Washington, DC, AIChE, January 2017
  • Author, The Herrmann Environmental Writing Award: This Year’s Outstanding Entry in a Crowded Field, ACOEL Blog, November 2016
  • Author, Cuba Delegation Part 3: Environmental Law and Policy Wonks Wanted, ACOEL Blog, October 2016
  • Co-Author, American Bar Association's Clean Air Act Handbook (Chapter 6: New Source Review; co-authored with Bernard F. Hawkins, second ed. Robert J. Martineau Jr. and David P. Novello, third and fourth edition, ed. Julie Domike), 2016
  • Author, Highlights, ABA SEERYear in Review (2016, for YIR 2015)
  • Co-Author, Air Pollution Control Technology Handbook, CRC Press (2nd ed., co-authors Dr. Karl B. Schnelle, and Dr. Russell F. Dunn), 2016
  • Author, Highlights, ABA SEER Year in Review (2015, for YIR 2014)
  • Author, Where Are We Now? EPA’s Audit Policy, Next Generation Compliance and Budgetary Implications, ACOEL Blog, January 2014
  • Author, Highlights, ABA SEER Year in Review (2014, for YIR 2013)
  • Author, Another Blow to EPA’s NSR/PSD Enforcement Initiative, ACOEL Blog, August 2013
  • Author, EPA Audit Policy Options: What Do You Think? ACOEL Blog, January 2013
  • Author, Special Section: Energy-Regulatory Programs Governing Shale Gas Development, AIChE Chemical Engineering Progress, August 2012
  • Author, Greenhouse Gas and Climate Change, Oklahoma Bar Journal, February 2012
  • Author, Back to Basics: Environmental Law for Chemical Engineers, AIChE Chemical Engineering Progress, February 2012
  • Author, Monthly Columns, Slice Magazine, 2011 through 2012 (Recycling perfection; Cutting-edge ecotourism; Anticipating adaptation; Hexa-what?; Adding it up; Taking it outside; Scenic route; Frugally yours; Arts and science; Eco-services rendered; Geothermal journal; Raindrops on roses…; A sustainable new year; A gray (water) area; Harnessing the sun)
  • Co-Author, Energy Supplement: Carbon Capture and Storage - Navigating the Legal Landscape, AIChE Chemical Engineering Progress, August 2011
  • Author, Environmental Regulatory Update, Wiley’s AIChE Environmental Progress & Sustainable Energy (quarterly Environmental Division Newsletter, 2007 -2011)
  • Co-Author, Submitting Your First GHG Report, AIChE Chemical Engineering Progress, March 2010
  • Author, Monthly Columns, OKC Downtown Monthly, 2009 through 2010 (Smart: An easy way to appreciate sustainability; Sustainability and energy; Coal. Really?; Water sense makes sense; It looks like greenhouse gas regulation is here, one way or another; Habit forming; Less is more healthy; Recycling cities; Earth Day 2010; Power to the people; Water, water everywhere?; The future is NOW!; Falling from the sky; Mixing it up; Grassroots to massroots; Beyond nutrition)
  • Author, LexisNexis Global Climate Change Special Pamphlet Series (EPA's Mandatory Greenhouse Gas Reporting Rule; ed. Bradley M Marten, 2010)
  • Author, Even in Oklahoma, you can't hide from GHG regulations, The Journal Record, December 17, 2009
  • Author, It’s Here: EPA’s Final Mandatory GHG Reporting Rule, ACOEL Blog, September 2009
  • Author, Clock Ticking on Comments in Response to EPA’s Proposed Mandatory GHG Reporting Rule, ACOEL Blog, April 2009
  • Author, American Bar Association's Nanotechnology Environmental Law, Policy and Business Considerations (Chapter 4: Clean Air Act and Nanotechnology; ed. Lynn L. Bergeson, 2008)
  • Author, Basic Practical in Nanotechnology, Awarded “Best Paper”, ABA SEER Fall Meeting, 2007
  • Author, Clean Air Act Nanotechnology Briefing Paper, ABA SEER Fall Meeting, June 2006
Litigation and Published Cases
  • Sierra Club v. Chesapeake Operating, LLC, et al., Case No. CIV-16-134-F (W.D. Okla.). Developed defensive strategy on the briefs for Defendant Devon responding to Sierra Club’s novel Resource Conservation and Recovery Act citizen suit claims alleging imminent and substantial endangerment caused by induced seismicity resulting from injection of wastewater derived from oil and gas production. Defendants Motions to Dismiss were granted, with case dismissed on April 4, 2017.
  • Lowrimore v. Severn Trent, Case No. CIV-15-475-RAW (E.D Okla.). Provided rigorous defense against plaintiffs’ class action claims alleging breach of contract and common law actions against private drinking water treatment plant operator, removing case from state court to federal court, prevailing against plaintiffs’ Motion to Remand, and then winning defendants’ Motion to Dismiss prior to class certification.
  • Karr v. Hefner, 475 F.3d 1192 (10th Cir. 2007). Provided rigorous defense resulting in dismissal of initial and subsequent Clean Water Act citizen suit and all pendant state law claims against natural gas producer, prevailing on appeal as well. Achieved initial dismissal due to lack of jurisdiction arising from insufficient notice, while in parallel negotiations with the EPA and Department of Justice to resolve noncompliance allegations resulting in agreed Consent Order entered prior to second attempted citizen suit filing. Dismissal of second citizen suit attempt resulted from filing of consent order which constituted diligent prosecution. Prevailed on appeal in the 10th Circuit.
  • Stephens v. City of Anadarko, et al, Case No. 5:06-cv-1357 (W.D. Okla.). Provided rigorous defense resulting in favorable settlement of Solid Waste Disposal Act citizen suit action alleging violations of municipal landfill closure standards and breach of contract action against municipality. Settlement effectively nullified citizen suit in resolution of contract claims. Coordinated closely with state attorney general in defense of co-defendant state environmental agency.
  • Steve Lindsey and Kristi Lindsey v. SGL Carbon, LLC, Civil No. 07-2105 (W.D. Ark.). Provided rigorous defense resulting in favorable settlement of Clean Air Act citizen suit action alleging violations of Clean Air Act permit, state fugitive emission and solid waste disposal regulations against manufacturing entity by adjacent neighbor. Due to previous resolution of state compliance issues, achieved very efficient settlement with plaintiffs beneficially resolving state common law claims.
Professional and Community Involvement
  • American College of Environmental Lawyers, Fellow and Chair, Strategic Planning Task Force, 2018 to present; Secretary, 2016-2018.
  • American Bar Association, Section of Environment, Energy & Resources: Member Editorial Board, NR&E, 2017 to present; Chair, Special Committee on Year in Review, 2012-2017; Co-Chair, Climate Change, Sustainable Development and Ecosystems Committee 2009-2012; Chair, Ethics Committee, 2007-2009; Council Member, 2004 - 2007; Chair, Annual Conference on Environmental Law, 2004; Technical Chair, ABA Center for CLE Clean Air Act Satellite Seminar, 2002-2004; Chair, Air Quality Committee, 1999-2001.
  • American Bar Association, Business Law Section: Chair, Environmental Committee, 2017 to present.
  • American Institute of Chemical Engineers, Fellow and Chair, Legal Developments Subcommittee, Public Affairs and Information Committee; Chair, Climate Change Task Force, 2016-2019; Founder and Former Chair, Public Affairs and Information Committee; Founder and Former Chair, Chemical Engineering and The Law Forum; Former Chair, Legislative and Regulatory and Climate Change Sections for the Environmental Division; Representing Nanoscale Science and Engineering and ChE&L Forums within Center for Energy Initiatives; United Engineering Foundation Founders Society Technology for Carbon Management Project; Chair, AICHE 2010 Spring National Meeting.
  • Vanderbilt University, Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, External Affairs Committee, 2017-present (former Secretary, Vanderbilt University School of Engineering Alumni Council).
  • Oklahoma Bar Association, Environmental Law Section
  • Oklahoma City Mineral Lawyers Association
  • Air and Waste Management Association (Chair, Central Arkansas Chapter, 2001; Technical Chair, Hazardous Waste and Combustion Specialty Conference, 1999)
  • Commissioner, Ward 3 (through 2014) Environment, Health and Sustainability Commission for the City of Nichols Hills, Oklahoma
  • International Women's Forum, Oklahoma Chapter
Professional Experience
  • Partner, Earth & Water Law, LLC, 2017 to present
  • Shareholder, Crowe & Dunlevy, PC, Oklahoma City, OK, 2014-2017
  • Shareholder, McAfee & Taft, PLLC, Oklahoma City, OK, 2003-2014
  • Of-Counsel, Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough, Columbia, SC, 2001-2003
  • Partner, Mitchell, Williams, Selig, Gates & Woodyard, Little Rock, AR, 1995-2001
  • Law Clerk, EPA Office of General Counsel, Washington, D.C., Summer 1994
  • Law Clerk, Mitchell, Williams, Selig, Gates & Woodyard, Little Rock, AR, 1994-1995
  • Law Clerk, Rose Law Firm, Little Rock, AR, 1991-1993
  • Regulatory Project Officer, ENSCO, 1989-1991
  • RCRA Incinerator Permit Writer, U.S. EPA Region VI, Hazardous Waste Division, 1988-1989
  • On-Scene Coordinator, U.S. EPA Region 6, Superfund Division, Emergency Response, 1985-1988. Significant Superfund projects included: Hardage Criner, Criner, Oklahoma; Vertac, Inc., Jacksonville, Arkansas; Tar Creek - Picher, Oklahoma; Old Henley Oil Reprocessing, Norphlet, Arkansas.

Main: (202) 280-6362

Direct:  (405) 286-2042

Cell: (405) 706-5794

Maryellen.ternes@earthandwatergroup.com

5030 North May Avenue, No. 324, Oklahoma City, OK 73112