Chicago-based counsel Sara Orr is described as an “extremely hard-working and knowledgeable environmental lawyer who does not miss a beat.”Legal 500 2016

Sara K. Orr

  • 330 North Wabash Avenue, Suite 2800
  • Chicago, IL 60611
  • USA

Sara Orr, counsel in the Chicago office, focuses her work on regulatory and transactional matters involving environmental, energy and natural resource issues. Ms. Orr advises clients on environmental issues related to the full life cycle of a project’s development: from permitting (including the preparation of Environmental Impact Statements or Environmental Assessments), to defending projects through subsequent litigation, through counseling on environmental compliance and sustainability issues during construction and operation. With over eleven years of experience working on federal regulatory issues while in the Washington, D.C. office of Latham & Watkins, she provides skilled advice on federal regulatory approvals and issues related to the Clean Water Act, the Federal Endangered Species Act, the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act, the Marine Mammal Protection Act, and the National Historic Preservation Act. She is particularly knowledgeable about issues related to project development on public lands, including lands and waters managed by the US Department of the Interior and the US Department of Agriculture.

As part of her transactional practice, Ms. Orr identifies and resolves environmental issues and liabilities in project finance, mergers and acquisitions, real estate development, securities offerings and corporate restructuring. She is particularly experienced with respect to the oil and gas, renewable energy, chemical and mining industries in the United States and abroad. Ms. Orr also provides environmental support during corporate restructurings.

With respect to her project finance work, Ms. Orr has significant experience regarding the application of the Equator Principles and the International Finance Corporation’s Environmental and Social Performance Standards to large-scale energy and other industrial infrastructure projects in connection with project financing by export credit agencies and other international lenders. She has represented multiple export credit agencies and commercial banks in project financing matters involving liquefied natural gas, power plants and petrochemical facilities on five continents.

In 2009, the President of the American Bar Association appointed Ms. Orr to the ABA Standing Committee on Environmental Law. She currently serves on the ABA Section of Environment, Energy and Resources Policy and Coordination Task Force. Ms. Orr also currently serves in a management role on Latham’s Global Mentoring Committee and formerly served as a member of Latham's Global Associates Committee, Global Pro Bono Committee and Global Knowledge Management Committee. She is a member of the Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation, Women’s Energy Network and Women in Mining.

Ms. Orr is ranked Tier 1 in Environmental: Transaction by The Legal 500 USA 2016.

Ms. Orr’s recent experience includes advising:

  • A major mining company in connection with the development of a new phosphate mine in the US, including counseling on public lands management issues, NEPA and litigation strategy

  • An international fertilizer company in connection with the permitting of an ammonia production plant in Louisiana, including successfully obtaining a bald eagle take permit

  • Thailand-based Indorama Ventures in connection with its purchase of an idled ethylene cracker facility in Louisiana

  • The sponsor, Sasol Chemicals (USA) LLC, in connection with the development and project financing of a multi-billion dollar petrochemical project in Louisiana that Infrastructure Journal Global and Project Finance International magazines named "America's Petrochemical Deal of the Year" of 2014

  • PTT Global Chemicals in connection with its development of a petrochemical facility in Ohio

  • Export credit agencies, commercial banks and underwriters in connection with the US$7.4 billion project financing of the Cameron LNG Terminal in the US, sponsored by Sempra Energy, GDF Suez, NYK, Mitsubishi Corp. and Mitsui & Co.

  • Eight export credit agencies and a syndicate of 33 commercial lenders in connection with the US$20 billion project financing of Ichthys LNG project in Australia, sponsored by Inpex Corporation and Total SA

  • Export credit agencies and commercial banks in connection with the US$8.5 billion financing of the Australia Pacific LNG project in Queensland, Australia

  • Export credit agencies in connection with the project financing of a petrochemical project in Qatar   

Thought Leadership

  • "Introduction to Corporate Sustainability," co-author, Practical Guidance at Lexis Practice Advisor (2016)

  • "US Fish and Wildlife Service Finalizes Eagle Rule Revision," co-author, Latham & Watkins Clean Energy Law Report (2016)

  • "The Department of Energy's Simplified IIP Process Goes Into Effect in November," co-author, Latham & Watkins Clean Energy Law Report (2016) 

  • "US Fish and Wildlife Service Moves Forward with Proposed Eagle Rule Revision," co-author, Latham & Watkins Clean Energy Law Report (2016) 

  • "White House Issues Final NEPA Guidance on Climate Change," co-author, Latham & Watkins Clean Energy Law Report (2016)

  • "US FWS Announces Record of Decision Streamlining Wind Energy Permitting for the Upper Great Plains," Latham & Watkins Client Alert (2016)

  • "Court Strikes Down BLM Hydraulic Fracturing Rule," Latham & Watkins Client Alert (2016)

  • Clean Energy Blog: US FWS Releases Draft Midwest Wind Energy Multi-Species Habitat Conservation Plan

  • Voluntary Sustainability Disclosure and Emerging Litigation

  • “Hydraulic Fracturing Update: Legal Developments and Trends – Q&A,” co-author, Q&A (April 7, 2014)

  • “Agency Sets The Stage For Fracking's Future In Calif.,” co-author, Law360 (December 6, 2013)

  • “California Agency Releases Draft Rules for Fracking, Begins to Implement Recent State Legislation,” co-author, Client Alert (November 25, 2013)

  • “Extra Layer of Rules on Fracking on Federal, Tribal Lands” co-author, Law360 (June 14, 2013)

  • “BLM Issues Revised Proposed Rule on Hydraulic Fracturing on Federal and Tribal Lands,” co-author, Client Alert (June 4, 2013) “The Rapidly Expanding Natural Gas Market,” author, Q&A (May 1, 2013)

  • "A 1st for Fracking: EPA's Air Emissions Regulations," co-author, Client Alert (May 11, 2012)

  • "EPA Issues First Air Regulations for Hydraulically-Fractured Gas Wells & Associated O&G Development Equipment," co-author, Client Alert (April 26, 2012)

  • “Snapshot: Pipeline Safety Rules,” co-author, Environmental Law360 (October 6, 2011)

  • “Pipeline Safety Snapshot: Potential New Legislative and Regulatory Changes to Pipeline Safety Requirements,” co-author, Client Alert (September 28, 2011)

  • “Obama Administration Accelerates Commitment to Offshore Wind Projects,” co-author, Client Alert (December 22, 2010)

  • Major Developments in Section 404 Permitting,” co-author, Coal Age (June 2009)

  • “Readying For CERCLA Financial Assurance,” co-author, Environmental Law360 (April 7, 2009)

  • “Pay Me Now Or Pay Me Later: Superfund Financial Assurance Is On Its Way,” co-author, Client Alert (March 13, 2009)

  • “A Green Light to PRP Cost Recovery Actions Under CERCLA: The Supreme Court's Decision in Atlantic Research,” co-author, Client Alert (June 14, 2007)

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