Our Environmental Practice Group guides clients through the maze of environmental laws and the often frustrating process of responding to and negotiating with state and federal regulatory agencies.
We regularly handle all manner of environmental regulatory counseling, transactional negotiations, permitting, and litigation in the traditional areas of water, waste, toxic substances, Superfund, and air. In addition, we handle matters that involve the redevelopment of contaminated properties, mining, traditional and renewable energy development, including hydraulic fracturing, reporting under both environmental and securities laws, development and implementation of environmental management systems and auditing programs. Our clients include municipalities, municipal authorities, commercial entities, educational institutions, and a range of businesses, from Fortune 100 companies to small, family-owned businesses. Being part of a premier litigation firm, we combine our regulatory expertise with an unparalleled and deep litigation bench in order to successfully represent clients in all aspects of environmental litigation both before agency tribunals and in federal and state court.Meet Our Environmental Law Team
We are led by Steven Miano, former Chair of the American Bar Association’s Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources and an Adjunct Professor of Law at Rutgers Law School – Camden, where he has taught courses in environmental law for more than 15 years. Before entering private practice, he was an Assistant Regional Counsel at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region III.
We regularly team with other members of the firm’s Litigation Group, as well as members of the firm’s Corporate, Real Estate, and Bankruptcy Groups to assist our clients as necessary.
Our Environmental Law Practice recently represented a Fortune 50 company in successfully defending against a toxic tort case based on vapor intrusion. We organized the case into three separate Motions for Summary Judgment, separately briefed and argued. All three were granted, ending the case.
We represent several municipalities and municipal authorities in challenges to Clean Water Act Total Maximum Daily Loads (“TMDLs”) developed by state agencies and the US Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) in state and federal court. We brought the first such challenge to a PA Department of Environmental Protection (“PADEP”) developed TMDL. In one case, the TMDL was withdrawn. In a second, the basis for the TMDL is being re-evaluated by the agency.
We defended a Fortune 500 company in a federal and state enforcement action for a release through a sewer system into a stream. After extensive negotiations with federal and state agencies and management of public relations, we obtained an extremely positive outcome for our client.
We represented a major energy company in defending against claims by federal and state regulators and environmental groups relating to a development project involving streams, wetlands, and endangered species in four states.
We are representing major industrial companies at significant Superfund sites in several states involving extensive sediment remediation. In one case we successfully negotiated a cash out with the major responsible party. In another, we are extensively involved in an ongoing allocation proceeding.
Practical counseling for effective environmental strategies
Environmental counseling is critical for most clients. Because of our experience with environmental laws and programs, we are able to provide practical and effective counseling on environmental issues, including counseling on compliance, environmental liabilities, and risk reduction. We have also assisted clients with establishing and managing environmental audits and environmental management systems.
Appeals, Superfund litigation, toxic torts, government enforcement
We have extensive experience in all aspects of environmental litigation. We defend clients against government enforcement actions, we defend and prosecute Superfund and other cost recovery claims, we handle appeals from administrative agency actions and permitting decisions, and we have appealed TMDLs. We also litigate toxic tort claims and other environmental cases.
Obtaining stormwater, construction, wetlands, and all other permits
Businesses and entities cannot legally operate without obtaining required permits. We routinely assist clients with all aspects of environmental permitting, including water, stormwater, construction, wetlands, air, and waste permits. In addition, we have extensive experience in representing clients in the defense of permitting enforcement actions by agencies and in permit appeals.
TMDLS, quality standards, flooding, and water allocation
We have substantial experience in the water resources area, including water quality standards and permitting, TMDLs, stormwater and municipal separate storm sewer system (MS4) controls, wetlands and associated endangered species issues, water supply, flooding, and water allocation.
Advising on environmental aspects for corporate clients
We team with our real estate and corporate attorneys in handling the environmental aspects of various corporate transactions. Typically our transactional work includes conducting due diligence, drafting environmental provisions of contracts, negotiating with permitting authorities, and allocating responsibility for environmental conditions.
Representing clients in negotiations, allocation proceedings, and cleanup
We have represented clients in numerous state and federal Superfund matters over the years. Our experience includes representing clients in responding to EPA and state information request letters (§104(e) letters), representing clients in negotiations with the government and potentially responsible party (PRP) groups, negotiation and implementation of cleanup requirements, settlements (including de minimis cash outs), representation of clients in sophisticated allocation proceedings and natural resources damages claims. We have also organized and headed up PRP Steering Committees. We have been involved in some of the most complex and expensive sites in the country, including large sediment sites that are expected to cost hundreds of millions of dollars. We also routinely work with scientific experts in helping clients negotiate appropriate and cost effective cleanup levels. In addition, we have been involved in many state remediation programs and have assisted clients in successfully negotiating state remediation claims.
Helping clients sell and develop brownfields
We have helped numerous clients sell or actively develop brownfields sites in multiple states. We have been extensively involved in all manner of Pennsylvania’s Act 2 voluntary brownfields program and similar programs in other states.
Representing government entities and serving as special environmental solicitors
We regularly represent municipalities and municipal authorities with respect to various environmental matters, including permitting of publicly operated treatment works (POTWs), TMDL appeals, brownfields redevelopment, waste management, and Superfund. We serve as special environmental solicitor for a number of municipal entities.
Assisting clients with traditional and alternative energy projects
We have been involved in projects to assist clients with both traditional and alternative energy projects. For example, we have assisted clients with myriad permitting aspects of wind farms, as well as permitting issues associated with the build-out of new pipeline systems. We have also been involved in representing landowners in negotiating agreements for the development of natural gas resources in the Marcellus Shale region.
Hiring, structuring, and negotiating
We have been involved in assisting clients with cleanups under the New Jersey Licensed Site Remediation Professional (LSRP) program. Our activities include hiring and structuring LSRP representations and negotiating NJ Spill Act cleanups.
Defending against a range of claims
We represent clients in the defense of toxic tort claims, including claims for property damage, diminution of property value, personal injury, and remediation requirements.
Leading the way on an expanding issue
Vapor intrusion involves the volatilization of chemicals from groundwater into soils and buildings, thereby creating potential exposure. Vapor intrusion is a quickly expanding issue and has the potential to result in additional and more costly cleanup requirements and new claims, even with respect to sites that were remediated many years ago. We have handled sensitive studies of vapor intrusion in residential neighborhoods and commercial buildings for Fortune 500 companies in several states, which has involved close work with state and local agencies. We have successfully defended a Fortune 100 company against a private toxic tort law suit based on vapor intrusion claims.
Representing clients in federal and state enforcement actions
We have represented clients in various matters involving air resources, including federal and state enforcement actions, as well as permitting at both the federal and state levels.