J. Derek Hardberger

Shareholder, Practice Group Leader

(405) 552-2327
Oklahoma City

Derek Hardberger is an environmental lawyer with more than 25 years of experience practicing before agencies in numerous states and with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. His practice encompasses nearly every aspect of environmental law ranging from regulatory guidance for existing facilities and guidance for construction of new facilities to environmental litigation. Over the course of his practice, he has developed a business-oriented approach and works closely with not only the environmental leadership of his clients, but with the business leaders as well.

Derek has worked with a variety of facilities, including chemical manufacturers, refineries, metal equipment manufacturers, food additive manufacturers, electric power plants, aircraft maintenance facilities, waste management companies including landfills, glass manufacturers, oil and gas exploration companies, midstream facilities, and mining companies. In addition, he works closely with McAfee and Taft’s Business Transactions and Finance and Real Estate practice groups to provide support for transactions that include environmental issues.

While working with these companies, he has provided advice on a variety of issues including compliance with the Clean Air Act (CAA), Clean Water Act (CWA), Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act (EPCRA), Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) hazardous waste and solid waste regulation, groundwater and surface water use permitting, Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), Chemical Security Act, Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) and Comprehensive Environmental Compensation and Liability Act (Superfund) and their state counterparts. He has extensive experience with injection well permitting and compliance along with associated issues such as induced seismicity claims.

Derek currently serves as the leader of the firm’s Environmental Law Group.

His achievements have earned him inclusion in Chambers USA Guide to America’s Leading Lawyers for Business and The Best Lawyers in America (energy regulatory law; environmental law; environmental litigation).  Derek was selected by Best Lawyers as “Oklahoma City Energy Regulation Lawyer of the Year” for 2022, an honor given to a single lawyer in each legal specialty in each market.

Derek holds an LL.M. with an emphasis in environmental law from the George Washington University National Law Center. While pursuing his master’s degree, he concentrated his thesis on Superfund allocation amongst small potentially responsible parties.

Honors and Awards

  • Listed in Chambers USA Guide to America’s Leading Lawyers for Business
  • Selected by peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America (energy regulatory law; environmental law; environmental litigation)
  • Named “Oklahoma City Energy Regulation Lawyer of the Year” for 2022 by The Best Lawyers in America

Professional Organizations and Memberships

  • Oklahoma County Bar Association
  • Oklahoma Bar Association


Speaking Engagements

  • Oklahoma, 1994
  • LL.M. (Environmental Law), George Washington University, 1997
  • J.D., University of Tulsa, 1994
  • B.B.A. (Finance), University of Oklahoma, 1991