Charles Irvine

Bio

Charles represents clients in state and federal court, and in matters before the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, and the State Office of Administrative Hearings. Previous cases include challenges to air permits, Clean Air Act citizens suits, Endangered Species Act litigation, and NEPA litigation. He is an Adjunct Professor at the University of Houston law Center, where he teaches classes in Texas Coastal and Ocean Law, Environmental Law, Endangered Species and Biodiversity Law, and Practice of Environmental Law since 2008.

Before entering the legal field, he worked for five years in Greece as a program leader on environmental projects that protected sea turtles and marine mammals in coastal areas. During this time, he participated in extensive efforts to design and establish protected areas, eventually resulting in a new National Park. As an independent consultant, he researched and wrote comprehensive management plans for seven Mediterranean protected coastal areas under contracts with the World Wildlife Fund and European Union funded initiatives.

Education

  • J.D., University of Houston Law Center, 2006
  • M.Sc. in Conservation, University College London, 1992
  • B.Sc., Human Sciences, University College London, 1991

Bar and Court Admissions

  • Texas
  • Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals
  • U.S. District Court. Southern District of Texas
  • U.S. District Court. Western District of Texas
  • U.S. District Court. Eastern District of Texas
  • U.S. Court of Federal Claims

Honors & Awards

Winner of the Buck J. Wynne Memorial Scholarship for environmental law (2004)

Teaching

University of Houston Law Center

  • Texas Coastal & Ocean Law: Spring 2008, Spring 2009, Spring 2010, Fall 2011, Spring 2014, Spring 2015, Spring 2016, Spring 2017
  • Environmental Law: Fall 2008, Fall 2014, Fall 2016
  • Endangered Species & Biodiversity Law: Spring 2011, Fall 2012, Fall 2015, Fall 2017
  • Practice of Environmental Law: Fall 2009

Multiple CLE presentations on wetlands, endangered species, clean air act, and general environmental law in Houston, Austin, San Antonio and New Orleans.

Representative cases

  • Represented client-city suffering harms due to frequent air pollution from an adjacent smelting facility. The federal citizen’s suit resulted in a settlement involving repairs to damaged city property and installation of new pollution controls at the facility.
  • Represented client landowners sued in state court by a drainage district and other landowners for commenting on a federal permit. This was a classic SLAPP suit. Client responded with a civil rights lawsuit in federal court and obtained a favorable settlement of both matters.
  • Obtained satisfactory settlement for client landowner facing condemnation lawsuit.
  • Obtained temporary injunction against Governor and state agency to prevent illegal fast-tracking of air permits for new coal power plants. The power plants were never constructed.
  • Represented a fenceline community group in Port Arthur in their opposition to an air permit for a refinery expansion. The matter settled favorably for the client with the establishment of an innovative community enhancement fund to address environmental justice issues.
  • Represented a national environmental organization in negotiations of a settlement of an air permit challenge to a petcoke power plant.
  • Representing citizens in an Endangered Species Act suit against officials of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ). The litigation sought to protect the endangered Whooping Crane.
  • Represented a national environmental organization in a suit against the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for erroneous flood elevation maps in Harris County.
  • Represented an association of landowners and environmental groups seeking review of  the impacts on migratory birds of two large coastal wind farms.
  • Represented regional environmental organization on a clean air act citizen suit against a coal fired power plant.
  • Represented a citizen group in its opposition to the siting of nuclear power plant for safety and environmental concerns. The litigation was before the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s Atomic Safety and Licensing Board. The applicant abandoned the project during the litigation.
  • Representing a national citizen group in its challenge to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality seeking to force state agency to consider carbon dioxide in air permit matters.