Environmental Law

Consideration of environmental consequences and liabilities is a common part of many governmental decisions, real estate transactions, land use planning, management business plans and deals. An increasingly complicated web of laws and regulations has proliferated from all levels of government. Our attorneys have a depth of knowledge and breadth of experience in this rapidly changing area of the law to provide our clients with comprehensive and innovative solutions for their environmental risks and problems.

Our clients and their consultants are very knowledgeable about their sites, businesses, deals, and projects—but they are often missing essential information about what is really required under the law to resolve their environmental challenges. Technical knowledge is often not sufficient to interpret agency regulations. Our legal training brings a unique set of skills to the understanding of regulatory laws. We know the rules judges use to interpret ambiguous language. Even when a regulatory requirement may be plain, it may not be valid. We have the tools to challenge the validity of environmental requirements and to negotiate reasonable resolutions with regulators.

Compliance. There are huge liabilities to companies and individuals—risks of large monetary penalties, damage awards or costly additional operational requirements—that come with violation of the environmental laws. There is even a risk of criminal penalties, including imprisonment and large fines. In many cases, monetary penalties may be assessed even if the person accused of violating an environmental law did not intend to violate it—or indeed, even if he or she did not know about the environmental law. We help our clients identify and avoid those risks. We also advise developers, manufacturers and remediation companies on how to comply with environmental requirements in the course of their operations, assist in negotiating and obtaining permits, and represent clients in administrative proceedings such as rulemaking hearings and permit appeals.

Transactions. We help clients in real estate and business transactions to recognize, allocate and manage environmental risks. This includes negotiating brownfield redevelopment deals, conducting environmental due diligence or “all appropriate inquiry,” negotiating contracts with remediation contractors, processing Voluntary Cleanup Program (VCUP) applications, obtaining permits and purchasing environmental insurance. We also assist with corporate entity formation as a device to manage environmental liability.

Substantive Experience. We have experience advising our clients about environmental compliance and planning, representing parties in negotiations and litigation, defending clients in civil and criminal enforcement actions, and obtaining permits in the following areas:

  • Water quality
  • Endangered Species Act compliance
  • Wildlife protection
  • Historical, recreational, archaeological and cultural resources protection
  • Environmental impact assessments and statements
  • Review of environmental audit reports
  • Safe drinking water
  • Underground storage tanks
  • CERCLA/SuperfundResource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA)/Solid waste disposal
  • Hazardous substances treatment, storage, and disposal

Our attorneys have worked as the sole environmental legal counsel for smaller projects; for large natural resources, environmental remediation and real estate development companies; and as part of multi-disciplinary teams on lengthy projects involving large geographic areas. We have worked on projects under scrutiny by multiple regulatory agencies from several layers of government, as well as by other interested corporate entities and the public. We understand the complexities of team-based resolutions, and how legal counsel can assist in successful environmental management.

For information on environmental litigation, click here.