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Steve Morton

Steve Morton is a partner in the firm’s Austin office. He has 34 years of experience obtaining necessary environmental permits, defending government or third-party claims before administrative agencies and courts, and assisting clients on regulatory and statutory developments before administrative agencies and the Texas Legislature. Steve advises clients on a wide range of environmental issues. He recently obtained air quality permits for an $18 billion dollar LNG export facility on the Texas Gulf Coast. He is experienced in negotiating cost recovery and remedy settlements with state and federal agencies and advising clients in connection with hazardous waste remediation projects, including negotiations over Environmental Insurances Policies. Steve has a background in hydrogeology and helps clients with the management, purchase, lease, sale and other conveyances of groundwater and surface water in Texas. He has also been responsible for environmental due diligence and contract review for over $1 billion of M&A, IPO, financing and asset transfers in Texas, California, Florida and 20 other states. He has developed expertise in industrial and oil and gas waste management, including remediation, Superfund, underground storage tanks, underground injection disposal wells, water quality, wetlands, and transactional issues involving the sale and acquisition of contaminated properties. Steve routinely advises lenders on environmental aspects of loan transactions and environmental due diligence. His practice also focuses on remediation of “Brownfield” commercial sites in Texas, Washington, Florida, California, Montana, New York and other states.

Prior to joining the firm, Steve was a partner at prior Austin law firms for over 25 years.

  • Rated AV-Preeminent
  • Rated Best Lawyers - Environmental
  • Rated Texas Super Lawyer - Environmental
  • Texas State Bar Foundation Fellow, Life Member
  • Chambers Rated
  • General Counsel to the Industry Council on the Environment, a trade association of corporations in the transportation, communications, petroleum refining/marketing, and utility industries.
  • Editor, “What to do When the Environmental Client Calls.” American Bar Association. 1994.
  •  Texas Commission on Environmental Quality Steering Committee on Risk Reduction Program Rule Guidance, 1999-Present
  •  Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission Industry Work Group on the Texas Risk Reduction Rules, 1998
  • Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission Task Force 21 Subcommittee on Spill Reporting, 1995
  • Texas Water Commission Petroleum Storage Tank Remediation Fund Advisory Committee: Member 1989-1990
  • National Interscholastic Cycling Association, Texas Advisory Board member
  • “Confessions of an Environmental Lawyer” Austin, Texas. December 2017.
  • “Retail Resuscitation: Re-Animator Environmental Challenges” 51st Annual William W. Gibson, Jr. Mortgage Lending Institute. Austin, Texas. September 2017.
  • “The Trump Transition: A Changing Enforcement Climate” Houston, Texas. February 2017.
  • “Implementation of Environmental Change under the Trump Administration” Houston, Texas. January 2017.
  • “Recent Environmental Developments” Austin, Texas. December 2016.
  • “Environmental Due Diligence” Austin Bar Association Real Estate Section Meeting. Austin, Texas. October 2016.
  • “Environmental Law Confidential: Useful Tips and Urban Myths in Real Estate Transactions” 50th Annual William W. Gibson, Jr. Mortgage Lending Institute. Austin, Texas. September 2016; Dallas, Texas. October 2016.
  • “Environmental Regulation: An Update on Under the Radar Environmental Developments” Aluminum Anodizing Council Winter Meeting, New Orleans, Louisiana. January 2016.
  • “The Legal Pitfalls in Recycling Anodizing Waste Streams” Aluminum Anodizers Council, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. September 2014.
  • “Litigation Against TCEQ: Survey of Selected Pending Cases, Travis County District Court/Recently Appealed” 26th Annual Texas Environmental Superconference, Austin, Texas. August 2014.
  • “Making the Most of Agency Brownfields Programs: The Texas Experience” National Association of Environmental Professionals Annual Conference, St. Petersburg, Florida. April 2014.
  • “Confessions of an Environmental Lawyer: Revealing the Urban Myths, Half-Truths, and Misconceptions About Environmental Issues in Real Estate Transactions” February 2013.
  • “Legal and Ethical Considerations in the Self-Disclosure of Environmental Non-Compliance” Industry Council on the Environment, Austin, Texas. October 2012.
  • “Lawyers and Consultants: Into the Matrix.” Air and Waste Management Association Annual Meeting, Austin, Texas. May 2012.
  • “Lawyering Up: Environmental Consulting Agreements, Phase I ESAs and Phase II ESIs.” 23rd Annual Advanced Real Estate Drafting Course, Irving, Texas. March 2012.
  •  "Developments in Industrial and Hazardous Waste Management - Litigation Update." Air and Waste Management Association Annual Meeting, Orlando, Florida. June 2011.
  • "Back to the Future: RCRA and CERCLA Update" Air and Waste Management Association Annual Meeting, Calgary, Alberta, Canada June 2010.
  • Update on NAPL Investigation and Remediation Regulatory Issues; Industry Council on the Environment, January 2009.
  • “Tools for Managing Homeland Security Risks: The History and Fate of the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act.” American Association of Port Authorities - Legal Issues Seminar. Seattle, Washington. July 2005.
  • Local Austin Terrorism legal expert reaction to London bombings, July 7, 2005; television interview with Fox news affiliate and radio interview aired during Morning Edition, KUT FM.
  • “Protecting the Client: Recent SEC and Corporate Environmental Developments.” In-house CLE presentation. March 2005.
  • “Homeland Security.” Trinity Industries, Dallas, Texas. November 2004.
  • Business Associates Environmental Training. In-house CLE presentation. Dallas, Texas. September 2004.
  • “Homeland Security & International Trade Presentation.” Valero Energy Corporation. San Antonio, Texas. June 2004.
  • "Homeland Security, U.S. Customers & Export, and Immigration Law Developments.” Association of Corporate Counsel of America. New York, New York. May 2004.
  • “Brownfields Toolbox: Legal Strategies for Redevelopment.” Industry Council on the Environment. October, 2003.
  • “Homeland Security - Protecting the Client.” Business Lawyers Roundtable. Dallas, Texas. August 2003.
  • “Phase I Environmental Site Assessments.” In-house CLE presentation. Dallas, Texas. May 2003.
  • “Due Diligence after the 2002 Superfund Amendment.” Industry Council on the Environment. Austin, Texas. September 2002.
  • “Groundwater Regulation.” CLE International Texas Water Law Conference. Houston, Texas. May 2000.
  • “Fundamentals of Commercial Leasing: Environmental Issues.” American Bar Association 11th Annual Real Property Symposia. Miami, Florida. March 2000.
  • “Texas Risk Reduction Program Rules” Air & Waste Management Association, Dallas, Texas. February 2000.
  • “Underground Storage Tank Compliance.” Industry Council on the Environment. Austin, Texas. December 1999.
  • “Groundwater Regulation.” CLE International 9th Annual Texas Water Law Conference. Austin, Texas. October 1999.
  • “Historic Contamination.” 11th Annual Texas Environmental Superconference. Austin, Texas. August 1999.
  • “Recent Superfund Developments.” 9th Annual Texas Environmental Superconference. Austin, Texas. 1997.
  • “Port Development: Environmental Opportunities for Development of Contaminated Property.” American Association of Port Authorities. Quebec City, Quebec, Canada. 1996.
  • “Federal and State Spill Reporting Requirements.” South Texas College of Law 6th Annual Environmental Law Symposium. 1995.
  • “Release Reporting Requirements.” 1994 Annual Texas Environmental Law Superconference, Texas State Bar Environmental and Natural Resource Section.
  • Graduate work in hydrogeology at the University of Texas at Austin
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