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 high level experience at the intersection of energy, manufacturing, air quality, hazardous waste management, infrastructure and disaster response.

Prior to her 20 years as an environmental attorney, Mary Ellen served as an emergency responder and permit writer for the EPA, a corporate hazardous waste incineration compliance manager, and law clerk for EPA’s Office of General Counsel. As a result, she is able to draw on technical, chemical engineering and field experience in the most complex and technically challenging environmental matters.

This rare experience brings uncommon insights to environmental challenges and practical solutions for corporate and government entities. Mary Ellen applies this experience to support a wide variety of clients in an evolving regulatory, adaptation and litigation context at a time when fundamental 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 highest 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 as a chemical engineer in the U.S. EPA’s Superfund Emergency Response Program as an On-Scene Coordinator where she responded to emergency releases of hazardous chemicals as the “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, design and implement removal and remedial actions for uncontrolled hazardous waste sites all over EPA Region 6, including hazardous waste sites and remedies for projects like the Vertac on-site dioxin incineration remedy.

After several years in the field, she moved to RCRA, becoming EPA Region 6 hazardous waste incineration RCRA Subpart O permit writer, leading EPA’s national RCRA permit writer workshops.  She left EPA joining regulated industry to manage the hazardous waste, air and TSCA programs for ENSCO, a commercial hazardous waste incineration facility, where she was responsible for all permitting, compliance demonstrations and enforcement.

Through her work with ENSCO’s attorneys, and 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 Clean Air Act, due to her incineration and air pollution control experience.  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.

For more than twenty years now, Mary Ellen has focused her law practice on environmental law, including environmental permitting, compliance strategies, enforcement defense, with remediation, and state and federal litigation especially citizen suits, as well as corporate disclosures and transactional matters. With a background in chemical engineering and hazardous waste remediation and combustion permitting, Mary Ellen particularly enjoys developing corporate compliance strategies and solving specific process based challenges in complex air and hazardous waste operations, permitting, regulatory interpretation and applicability, compliance strategies, enforcement resolution including developing rigorous defenses to civil and criminal enforcement and litigation.  Mary Ellen also has a very active transactional and voluntary cleanup practice, counseling clients regarding “All Appropriate Inquiry,” post-closing duties and disclosures.

With her unique combination of work experience, training and education in the fields of engineering and law, Mary Ellen has served in various leadership and liaison roles between the engineering community, the American College of Environmental Lawyers, and the American Bar Association to better integrate 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.

Since its debut in 2004, the International Who's Who of Environment Lawyers has named Mary Ellen to its prestigious list of pre-eminent environmental lawyers worldwide each year. In 2008, Mary Ellen was granted early election as a fellow of the American College of Environmental Lawyers, a professional association of private and public sector environmental lawyers recognized by their peers as pre-eminent in their field. Her achievements have also earned her inclusion in Chambers USA Guide to America's Leading Lawyers for Business, The Best Lawyers in America© (environmental law; environmental litigation) and Oklahoma Super Lawyers, in which she was named to its list of “Top 25 Women Oklahoma Super Lawyers." She was also recognized by Best Lawyers®  as 2011 and 2016 Environmental Law "Lawyer of the Year" in Oklahoma City, an honor only given to a single lawyer in each legal specialty in each community.

Presentations and Speaking Engagements
  • Speaker, Climate Change Task Force: Climate Change Policy Review Project, Town Hall Meeting, American Institute of Chemical Engineers, Annual Meeting, October 29, 2017, Minneapolis, MN
  • Speaker/Moderator, Ethics Essentials for Environmental, Energy and Natural Resource Lawyers, 25th Fall Conference, October 19, 2017, Baltimore Maryland
  • Speaker, Clean Air Act Ambiguity, Misconceptions, and Challenges, Arkansas Bar Association, Environmental Law Section, October 10, 2017, Little Rock, AR
  • Speaker, Managing Environmental Business Risk in the New Administration, Oklahoma Bar Association, Environmental Law Section, September 28, 2017, Sulfur, OK
  • 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, September 21, 2017, Washington, DC
  • Speaker/Moderator, Carbon Capture, Utilization and Sequestration: Law and Policy Panel, Carbon Management Technology Conference, July 19, 2017, Houston, Texas
  • Speaker and American College of Environmental Lawyers Delegate, Lessons Learned: Effective Environmental Regulation of Critical Infrastructure Development & Operation, XI International Convention on Environment & Development, July 5, 2017, Havana, Cuba
  • Plenary Speaker, Adjusting to EPA Policy Changes with the New Trump Administration, American Institute of Chemical Engineers, March 1, 2017 Midwest Regional Conference, Chicago, IL
  • Speaker, Climate Change Policy Post 2015 Paris Agreement, American Institute of Chemical Engineers 2016 Annual Meeting, November 16, 2016, San Francisco, CA
  • Speaker, Corporate Drivers Toward Sustainability: Carrots & Sticks, American Institute of Chemical Engineers, 2016 Annual Meeting, November 16, 2016, San Francisco, CA
  • Host and Facilitator, AIChE San Francisco Area Climate Adaptation Workshop, American Institute of Chemical Engineers, 2016 Annual Meeting, November 15, 2016, San Francisco, CA
  • Speaker, AIChE and Resilient Climate-Change Responses, American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) 2016 Annual Meeting, November 13, 2016, San Francisco, CA
  • Speaker, Environmental Law: Oil and Gas Hot Topics, Oklahoma City Mineral Lawyers Society, October 2016
  • Moderator, Climate Change – Adaption in the Flesh, American College of Environmental Lawyers (ACOEL) 2016 Annual Meeting, October 27, 2016, New Orleans, LA
  • Speaker, Environmental Law: Smart Business Strategies, American Bar Association Business Law Section, August 25, 2016
  • Speaker, EPA Regulation of RCRA Exempt Oil and Gas Exploration and Production Derived Solid Waste, Oklahoma Corporation Commission Desk Sessions, August 2, 2016
  • Speaker, Webinar: 2015 Year in Review and Beyond, American Bar Association Section of Environment, Energy and Resources, 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,” Spring Meeting and 12th Global Congress on Process Safety, American Institute of Chemical Engineers, April 12, 2016, Houston, TX
  • Speaker, Sustainability Decisions in a Post COP21 Era, Spring Meeting and 12th Global Congress on Process Safety, American Institute of Chemical Engineers, 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, Annual Meeting, American Institute of Chemical Engineers, November 8, 2015, Salt Lake City, Utah.
  • Moderator/Speaker, Good Environmental Due Diligence: What Is It, 2015 American Bar Association Business Law Section Annual Meeting, September 18, 2015, Chicago, IL
  • Speaker, Hot Topics in Environmental, Energy and Natural Resources Law, American Bar Association Annual Meeting, August 2, 2015, Chicago, IL
  • 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, July 16, 2015, Oklahoma City, OK
  • Speaker, Criminal Enforcement of Environmental Law, American Bar Association Business Law Section Spring Meeting, April 18, 2015, San Francisco, CA
  • Speaker, A Day in the Life of a Hospital Administrator: Environmental Issues, 25th Annual Crowe & Dunlevy Healthcare Update, April 16, 2015, Oklahoma City, OK
  • Moderator, Year in Review 2013: Highlights of Developments in Environment, Energy and Resources Law, American Bar Association Sectiond of Environment, Energy and Resources 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, American Bar Association Annual Meeting, August 10, 2014
  • Speaker, Hot Topics in Environment, Energy and Natural Resources Law, American Bar Association Webinar, October 30, 2014
  • Speaker, Law Student and Young Attorneys Interested in Environmental and Energy Law, American Bar Association Section of Environment, Energy and Resources Forum, October 30, 2014, Oklahoma City, OK
  • Moderator & Speaker, Environmental Insurance: Protecting Your Investment, Oklahoma Brownfields Conference, November 5, 2014, Tulsa, OK
  • Moderator, BFPP & Continuing Obligations, Oklahoma Brownfields Conference, November 5, 2014, Tulsa, OK
  • Speaker, Air Emission Regulation and Shale Development Oklahoma Corporation Commission 2013 Oil and Gas Institute, Tulsa, Oklahoma | October 18, 2013
  • Speaker, Shale Gas Environmental Regulation Joseph Priestley Society Lecture Series, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, October 17, 2013
  • Speaker, EPA Next Generation Enforcement Initiative Environmental Federation of Oklahoma 22nd Annual Meeting, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, October 4, 2013
  • Speaker, Introduction to Environmental Law Energy Law Journal Regulatory Workshop, Tulsa, Oklahoma, 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, Illinois, 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, Texas | May 1, 2013
  • Shale Oil and Gas Q&A Session: Environmental Regulatory and Enforcement Developments, AIChE 2013 Spring Meeting and Global Congress on Process Safety, San Antonio, Texas, 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, Texas, February 7, 2013
  • Speaker, Greenhouse Gas 'Best Available Control Technology': Carbon dioxide injection for Enhanced Oil Recovery, 2013 Energy, Utility and Environment Conference, Phoenix, Arizona, January 28, 2013
  • Speaker, EPA's Next Generation Enforcement and Flare Enforcement Initiative, Integrated Environmental Management Consortium, Houston, Texas, January 23, 2013
  • Speaker, Regulatory Developments in Air Permitting, Reporting and E&P Waste Policy, Oklahoma City Mineral Lawyers Society, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, January 17, 2013
  • 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, Pennsylvania, November 1, 2012
  • Technology Forcing with Clean Air Act Best Available Control Technology, AIChE Annual Meeting, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, October 31, 2012
  • EPA's Clean Air Act Authority to Regulate Greenhouse Gases, AIChE Annual Meeting, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, October 29, 2012
  • Greenhouse gas update: EPA rule challenges, cap and trade, LCFS, common law litigation and public trust, 20th Section Fall Meeting: The American Bar Association Environment, Energy, and Resources Law Summit, Austin, Texas, October 12, 2012
  • EPA Greenhouse Gas Reporting Rule: Lessons Learned, AIChE and the Air & Waste Management Association Webinar, September 12, 2012
  • Rethink: Impacts of Social Media, 2012 Oklahoma Brownfields Conference, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, May 22, 2012
  • 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, Oklahoma, April 19, 2012
  • Speaker, Climate Change and Greenhouse Gas Regulation Update, 2012 AIChE Spring Meeting and 8th Global Congress on Process Safety, Houston, Texas, April 4, 2012
  • Speaker, Environmental Liability: Regulation, Compliance and Litigation Risk, AIChE Spring Meeting and 8th Global Congress on Process Safety, Houston, Texas, April 2, 2012
  • Speaker, Carbon, Capture and Sequestration: Regulatory and Policy, Carbon Management Technology Conference, Orlando, Florida | February 8, 2012
  • Speaker, Counting Sequestered Carbon: CCS/EOR Conversion, Carbon Management Technology Conference, Orlando, Florida | February 8, 2012
  • Speaker, Business Risks of Carbon Counting, Carbon Management Technology Conference, Orlando, Florida, February 7, 2012
  • Speaker, Greenhouse Gas Reporting, 2011 Emerson Global Users Exchange, Nashville, Tennessee, October 26, 2011 - October 27, 2011
  • Speaker, Legal Implications and Drivers in Sustainable Energy, AIChE Annual Meeting, Minneapolis, Minnesota, October 18, 2011
  • Speaker, Climate Change and Greenhouse Gas Emissions: Current Law, Voluntary Initiatives and Future Implications, AIChE Annual Meeting, Minneapolis, Minnesota, October 17, 2011
  • Speaker, Adaptation for Engineers, 2011 Oklahoma Engineering Conference, Norman, Oklahoma, June 9, 2011
  • Speaker, Greenhouse Gas Measurement and Legal Implications, American Institute of Chemical Engineers 2011 Spring Meeting, Chicago, Illinois, March 16, 2011
  • Speaker, Climate Change Legislation and Regulation, American Institute of Chemical Engineers 2011 Spring Meeting, Chicago, Illinois, March 16, 2011
  • Speaker, Environmental and Administrative Law 101, with Greenhouse Gas and Sustainability Update, American Institute of Chemical Engineers 2011 Spring Meeting, Chicago, Illinois, March 15, 2011
  • Speaker, Climate Change Regulation and Litigation, American Institute of Chemical Engineers Annual Meeting, Salt Lake City, Utah, November 10, 2010
  • Speaker, Environmental and Administrative Law 101, American Institute of Chemical Engineers Annual Meeting, Salt Lake City, Utah, 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, Oklahoma, June 11, 2010
  • Speaker, Greenhouse Gas Law and Policy Developments, Association of Energy Engineers, Oklahoma Chapter, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, May 19, 2010
  • Speaker, Climate Change Developments - Climate Regulation is Here to Stay, Arkansas Bar Association 14th Annual Environmental Law Conference, Rogers, Arkansas, May 7, 2010
  • Speaker, Legal Issues Arising in Dry Cleaner Remediation, 2010 Oklahoma Brownfields Conference, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, April 28, 2010
  • Speaker, Climate Change Legislation and Regulation, 2010 American Institute of Chemical Engineers Spring Meeting, San Antonio, Texas, March 23, 2010
  • Speaker, Greenhouse Gas Emissions Documentation, Tracking and Reporting, 2010 American Institute of Chemical Engineers Spring Meeting, San Antonio, Texas, March 22, 2010
  • Chair, 2010 American Institute of Chemical Engineers Spring Meeting, San Antonio, Texas, March 21-25, 2010
  • Speaker, Applied Science in Policy Making, 2010 National Association of Environmental Law Societies Annual Meeting, New Orleans, Louisiana, March 6, 2010
  • Speaker, Drivers, Science and Policy of Climate Change, 2010 National Association of Environmental Law Societies Annual Meeting, March 5, 2010
  • Speaker, U.S. Climate Change: Legislation Update, 2009 American Institute of Chemical Engineers Annual Meeting, Nashville, Tennessee, November 11, 2009
  • Speaker, The Final Rule on Mandatory Reporting of Greenhouse Gases, McAfee & Taft and Cardinal Engineering Environmental Law Seminar, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, October 13, 2009
  • Moderator, The Clean Air Act and Nanotechnology, ABA SEER Program Three in the Nanotechnology Teleconference Series, 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, Colorado, March 12, 2004
  • Chair, 33rd Annual Conference on Environmental Law, ABA Section of Environment, Energy and Resources (Keystone Conference), Keystone, Colorado, March 11-14, 2004
  • Producer and Speaker, ABA Center for CLE Clean Air Act Satellite Seminar, 2002
  • Speaker, Managing Mercury: It’s Sources, Fate and Regulation, Moderator’s Overview, 31st Annual Conference on Environmental Law, ABA Section of Environment, Energy and Resources (Keystone Conference), 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, 2001
Publications
  • Author, Critical Issues: Trends in Corporate Sustainability, American Institute of Chemical Engineers Chemical Engineering Progress, August, 2017
  • Co-Author, The ChE in Context: Members will Shape AIChE’s Climate Change Policy, American Institute of Chemical Engineers Chemical Engineering Progress, July, 2017
  • Author, Highlights, American Bar Association Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources’ 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, American Institute of Chemical Engineers Chemical Engineering Progress, 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, American Bar Association Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources’ Year in Review (2016, for YIR 2015)
  • Co-Author, CRC’s Air Pollution Control Technology Handbook, Second Edition (co-authored with Karl B. Schnelle, and Russell F. Dunn), 2015
  • Author, Highlights, American Bar Association Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources’ 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, American Bar Association Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources’ 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, American Institute of Chemical Engineers 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, American Institute of Chemical Engineers’ 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, American Institute of Chemical Engineers Chemical Engineering Progress, August 2011
  • Author, Environmental Regulatory Update, Wiley’s AIChE Environmental Progress & Sustainable Energy (quarterly Environmental Division Newsletter, 2011)
  • Co-Author, Submitting Your First GHG Report, American Institute of Chemical Engineers 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, Environmental Regulatory Update, Wiley’s AIChE Environmental Progress & Sustainable Energy (quarterly Environmental Division Newsletter, 2010)
  • Author, LexisNexis Global Climate Change Special Pamphlet Series (EPA's Mandatory Greenhouse Gas Reporting Rule; ed. Bradley M Marten, 2010)
  • Author, Environmental Regulatory Update Environmental Division Newsletter, Wiley’s AIChE Environmental Progress & Sustainable Energy (quarterly, 2009)
  • 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, Environmental Regulatory Update, Wiley’s AIChE Environmental Progress & Sustainable Energy (quarterly Environmental Division Newsletter, 2008)
  • Author, Basic Practical in Nanotechnology, American Bar Association Best Paper Award, Section of Environment, Energy and Resources Fall Meeting, 2007
  • Author, Environmental Regulatory Update, Wiley’s AIChE Environmental Progress & Sustainable Energy (quarterly Environmental Division Newsletter, 2007)
  • Author, Clean Air Act Nanotechnology Briefing Paper, American Bar Association, Section of Environment, Energy and Resources 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, Secretary, 2016-present.
  • 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: Chair, Climate Change Task Force, 2016-present; 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
  • 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