Scott Burton

Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP

Scott Burton

Scott Burton



Scott Burton leverages his extensive environmental, energy and natural resource experience to advise clients in the national and international public policy arenas on a broad spectrum of high-profile and high-risk issues. He advises clients both nationally and internationally on issues related to government enforcement, disputes, legislative and regulatory policy advocacy, as well as complex permitting, transactional and ESG matters.

Drawing on his power plant operations and natural resource economics consulting experience, Scott helps clients navigate complex issues affecting their business operations. He assists with adoption or amendment of legislative and regulatory programs, seeking government permits and authorizations, due diligence on acquisitions or divestitures of assets in California, across the US and foreign jurisdictions, and defending domestic and cross-border investigations and disputes. Scott has represented clients respecting clean energy and fuels regulation and projects; air, waste and water management standards and permitting; EHS, ESG and supply chain audits in numerous jurisdictions.

Scott maintains a broad practice, having defended federal and state civil and criminal enforcement matters involving numerous regulatory programs including the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation and Recovery Act (CERCLA), Clean Air Act (CAA), Clean Water Act (CWA), Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) and Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) among other federal and state programs. He frequently interacts with industry trade organizations, nongovernmental research and policy organizations, as well as US and foreign agencies, ministries and delegations.

Scott has advised numerous clients in the petroleum refining, upstream oil and gas, green energy, mining, chemicals, automotive, transportation and manufacturing sectors, among others, respecting their California facilities and operations. His California experience ranges from permitting of projects and expansions to regulatory compliance, rule development, variance petitions and site remedial matters before many of the key state regulatory agencies including SCAQMD, BAAQMD and several other state air districts, the California Air Resources Board (CARB), Los Angeles and other Regional Water Quality Control Boards, DTSC and OEHHA.

Professional experience

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  • JD, UCLA School of Law, 1994
  • BA, magna cum laude, University of California Irvine, 1989
  • California State Bar
  • District of Columbia Bar

Representative enforcement and disputes experience

  • Defense of multi-media civil and criminal allegations and related litigation involving virtually every major federal environmental program including claims brought pursuant to the CAA, CERCLA, CWA, EPCRA, SDWA/UIC, RCRA and related state law involving numerous petroleum refineries, terminals, upstream oil and gas exploration & production operations, mining, mineral processing, chemical manufacturing and automotive assembly and parts distribution facilities across the United States.
  • Defended high-profile class action lawsuits brought by plaintiffs' counsel associated with Erin Brockovich and Johnnie Cochran asserting personal injury and property damage claims related to a Japan-based client's Florida mining and chemical manufacturing subsidiary, and similar claims related to Canada-based client's Idaho mining and chemical manufacturing subsidiary.
  • Defended citizen suit claims asserting violation of federal and state environmental regulations governing operation of two US-based petroleum client terminal facilities in California, and similar claims related to a Japan-based client's Texas petroleum and chemical terminal operations.
  • Defended state and federal civil and criminal investigations and a personal injury/toxic tort lawsuit related to several petroleum and chemical manufacturing facility release incidents in California.
  • Advised a pesticide and agricultural products client regarding state and federal waste regulation and corrective action matters and negotiation of multi-party response measures and joint participation agreement respecting an ethanol plant site remedial investigation in Nebraska, including interface with NDEE and US EPA.
  • Defended US and international NGO claims related to Asia-based client's Indonesia forestry, palm oil, and energy operations.
  • Defended Canada- and Japan-based clients respecting state and federal investigation of several rail and highway chemical release incidents.
  • Defense of citizen suit claims asserting violation of federal and state environmental regulations governing operation of two US-based petroleum client terminal facilities in California, and similar claims related to a Japan-based client's Texas petroleum and chemical terminal operations.
  • Defended and prosecuted CERCLA, RCRA and state-law claims related to environmental impacts at multiple facilities across the country, including related litigation, negotiating consent orders and judicial consent decrees, management of site remedial investigation and corrective action.

Representative government regulation, policy & ESG experience

  • Extensive representation of diverse clients before numerous California air districts and other state agencies including DTSC, DOGGR and multiple Regional Water Quality Control Boards.
  • Advised numerous petroleum refineries, chemical, mining, thermal and green power, automotive and industrial facilities regarding CAA, CWA, RCRA, SDWA/UIC and state environmental permits, approvals and regulatory matters.
  • Advised foreign-based client regarding US legislative and executive branch strategy for seeking revision to federal statute and successfully opposing EPA rulemaking impacting US subsidiary operations.
  • Managed CEQA and NEPA matters including commenting on California environmental agency rulemaking proceedings CEQA compliance, challenging a Los Angeles landfill project resulting in EIR withdrawal and project amendment to address client piecemealing concerns, and advised on NEPA considerations for a cross-border gas pipeline project.
  • Developed and managed environmental, health & safety (EHS), environmental management systems (EMS), environment and social governance (ESG) and supply chain audit programs for US and North American operations of several US and foreign-based automotive, chemicals, mining, petroleum and transportation clients.
  • Comprehensive assessment of an Africa mine & mineral processing facility's Equator Principles ESIA conformance to local law and relevant international environmental, health, safety & social (EHSS) standards to support development of a global client's corporate ESG & supply chain audit program.
  • Advised Japan- and EU-based automotive manufacturing clients regarding CAA, CWA, RCRA and related state regulations and permitting programs affecting US manufacturing and assembly operations, and cross-border supply chain, waste management and recycling issues.
  • Advised EU-based solar energy development client respecting regulatory issues impacting its entry into the US market.
  • Advised several California municipalities respecting EPA CWA NPDES regulatory matters including municipal separate storm sewer (MS4) permits.
  • Worked with Washington DC and regional trade organizations to develop comments and legislative strategies to challenge or amend numerous federal and state environmental regulations and statutes impacting client operations.
  • Worked with Washington DC and local trade organizations and state Attorneys General regarding NGO litigation challenging EPA regulations pertaining to state water quality standards, petitions and federal solid waste and hazardous waste regulations and TSCA regulation impacting client operations.
  • Advised Japan-based client regarding state and federal environmental regulations governing US and cross-border chemical manufacturing and transportation matters.
  • Advised Republic of Korea (ROK) government ministry and R&D institute regarding US and international climate policy and environmental regulatory issues affecting South Korean government energy policy and international clean energy technology commercialization.
  • Facilitated MOUs between various US and ROK government and private sector parties regarding advanced clean energy technology R&D and commercialization.
  • Advised multinational energy client respecting international frameworks governing multi-modal hazardous materials transportation, related implementing legislation and environmental liability regimes in Singapore, Thailand and Malaysia.
  • Advised US client regarding cross-border spent battery reclamation, recycling and disposal in several jurisdictions.

Representative project and transaction experience

  • Managed due diligence, negotiation of PSA and environmental allocation & indemnity agreements related to acquisition and divestiture of numerous petroleum refining, mining and chemical manufacturing, and related terminal and distribution assets across the United States for US and foreign-based multi-national clients, and defense of various government and third-party claims related to issues identified during the due diligence.
  • Advised financial services underwriter client regarding UAE petroleum refining and terminal facility environmental due diligence.
  • Advised multinational energy clients regarding cross-border US-Mexico natural gas purchase, transportation and related regulatory matters.
  • Managed EHS/ESG evaluation of Mexico petroleum refinery waste water treatment plant project for Japan-based conglomerate client.
  • Managed Mexico mining and chemical facility M&A project EHS/ESG due diligence for Canada-based multi-national client.
  • Managed EHS/ESG due diligence respecting Africa mine and processing facility for China (PRC)-based client, including conformance with host country and international standards.
  • Managed due diligence team regarding a US uranium recovery and processing facility joint venture project for a Japan-based client, focusing on nuclear and environmental regulatory, project finance, government and public relations, and product off-take and export.
  • Managed interface with ROK-based EPC and investment parties regarding US coal gasification and chemical manufacturing project.
  • Advised US electric utility client in relation to siting and environmental regulatory approvals for two California utility-scale PV solar projects.
  • Advised US energy project development client in relation to regulatory issues impacting development of wind power project in Washington and PPA governing sale of electricity to California-based offtake party.
  • Advised US financial services client regarding environmental remediation and related state and federal regulatory issues impacting California properties in which the client held a security interest.
  • Managed due diligence for US client acquisition of competitor's financial services operations in South Korea, and managed local counsel regarding post-acquisition resolution of ROK law and international treaty issues identified during the due diligence.
  • Advised US startup client and ROK affiliate and managed Korean counsel regarding evaluation of ROK and US law issues pertaining to development of recycling technology prototype project in South Korea and commercialization in the United States.
  • Managed evaluation of regulatory issues, intellectual property rights, licensing and joint venture arrangements for a US-based energy technology startup company seeking investment from Asia-based strategic partners.
  • Managed US client interface with ROK government and private parties regarding development of integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) and related carbon capture, use and storage (CCUS) project in South Korea.
  • Advised US energy client regarding partnership with ROK parties to develop clean energy projects in Europe, People's Republic of China (PRC) and the Middle East.
  • Advising several multi-national energy, chemicals and transportation clients respecting green hydrogen and blue ammonia projects, joint ventures and investments in the US and other overseas jurisdictions.
  • Legal 500 US, Recommended Lawyer, Environment: Litigation, The Legal 500, ​2023
  • Who's Who Legal, Environment, 2021
  • "Trends in Social and Environmental Responsibility," Natural Resources & Environment, Vol. 33, No. 4, Spring 2019
  • Environment, Human Rights and Corruption CSR Risk Management, speaker, Energy and Natural Resources Panel, International Association of Korean Lawyers (IAKL) annual conference, Seoul National University, Seoul, South Korea, September 21, 2019
  • Extractive Industries, Environmental Sustainability and Economic Development – the Golden Triangle for Growth in Africa, co-chair and panelist, International Bar Association (IBA) African Regional Conference on the Environment, Cape Town, South Africa, 30 November 2018
  • Advisory Panel Participant, Perspectives on an Energy Transition in the Republic of Korea, ROK Ministry of Trade Industry & Energy (MOTIE), the Korea Institute for Energy Technology, Evaluation & Planning (KETEP) and the Global America Business Institute (GABI), Washington, DC, December 12, 2017
  • "Not in My Backyard" – Challenges and Strategies for Domestic & Cross-Border Energy & Natural Resource Projects, co-chair, moderator and panelist, IAKL annual conference, Hanyang University, Seoul, South Korea, September 16, 2017
  • Clean Energy and Energy Directions Under the New Administration, organizer and panelist in round-table program sponsored by the Korea Institute for Energy Technology, Evaluation & Planning (KETEP) and the Global America Business Institute (GABI), National Harbor, MD, February 28, 2017
  • Climate Policy Challenges & Choices in Developing Economies, California State University, Los Angeles (CSULA) Geography department honors course on Global Climate Change in the Developing World visiting lecture, May 17, 2016
  • Low Rank Coal TRIG™ IGCC Workshop, lead organizer of conference co-sponsored by Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO), Korea Institute of Energy Research (KIER), Korea Association of Gasification Technology (KAGT), Korea Society for New & Renewable Energy (KSNRE), KBR and Southern Company, Seoul, South Korea, March 24, 2015
  • The US-Korea Clean Energy Partnership: Technical Approaches and Solutions, lead organizer and host of conference co-sponsored by the Global America Business Institute (GABI), Korea Institute of Energy Research (KIER), and the American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE), Washington, DC, June 19, 2014
  • Shifting Imperatives – ROK International Energy and Climate Policy Case Study, delivered to the Harvard Kennedy School Ash Center's Asia Energy Leaders Program, Washington, DC, June 2, 2014
  • Insights on the 'Green Rush' from the Golden State, delivered at Carbon Expo panel "The Dawning of a New Era: US Carbon Policy Under the Obama Administration," Barcelona, Spain, May 24, 2009
  • What's on the Horizon: Federal Developments Impacting Green Energy and Related Investment Opportunities, and California Initiatives Likely to Influence National Policy, delivered at the "Renewable Energy and the 2009 Stimulus Act: Structures, Strategies and Opportunities" symposium, San Francisco, CA, March 12, 2009
  • International Bar Association (IBA)
  • International Association of Korean Lawyers (IAKL)
  • Korea International Trade Association, 한국무역협회 (KITA) Washington Trade Advisory Council (2018-2020)
  • Vice Chair Environmental Law Committee, Energy & Natural Resources Law Committee, Inter-Pacific Bar Association (IPBA) (2015-2017)
  • International Advisory Committee, American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) (2014-2016)
  • Korea Institute of Energy Research, 한국에너지기술연구원 (KIER) International Advisory Board, two terms (2013 & 2014)
  • UCLA Journal of Environmental Law & Policy
  • UCLA Federal Communications Law Journal