Start-up experience

Before law school, Pete served on the management team of a fledgling San Francisco company that collected used kitchen oil for biodiesel conversion. He deeply was involved with all aspects of the business, from personally running service routes and repairing equipment, to sales, to managing finances. This greasy experience gave Pete valuable insight into the myriad challenges of running a business, and informs his practical, client-focused approach to practicing law.

Scout's honor

A second-generation Eagle Scout, Pete spent his youth heavily involved with scouting. He remains a strong advocate for the scouting program.

An environmental lawyer at heart

Pete’s interest in environmental law stems from a lifelong love of the outdoors. He has camped, backpacked, fished, and built trails throughout the country, and is generally happiest with a pack on his back, a fly rod in his hand, or a tent over his head.

Read about the practice

Peter Keays represents corporate, municipal, and nonprofit clients in a wide range of regulatory, transactional, and litigation matters arising under federal and state environmental laws. Pete counsels clients on various issues regarding permitting, regulatory compliance, and the environmental aspects of real estate transactions. Although Pete strongly believes in the use of negotiation and collaboration to reach favorable results for his clients, he is also an experienced and effective litigator.

Pete has successfully tried cases before the Pennsylvania Environmental Hearing Board and currently represents clients in cases pending in various state and federal courts. He also represents clients in alternative dispute resolution proceedings, including the binding allocation of the remedial design costs for one of the most prominent and contaminated Superfund sites in the country. Well-versed in all aspects of environmental law, Pete maintains a particular focus on the Clean Water Act, the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (Superfund), and related state laws.

Prior to joining the firm, Pete served as a law clerk to the Honorable Peter W. Hall of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, and the Honorable Dana L. Christensen, Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Montana.

Pete earned his law degree, summa cum laude, from Vermont Law School, where he served as Editor-in-Chief of the Vermont Law Review, taught a Legal Writing I course, and worked as a teaching assistant for Contracts, Constitutional Law I and II, and Appellate Advocacy. During law school he worked as a judicial intern to the Honorable Marilyn Skoglund of the Vermont Supreme Court and as a summer associate at Beveridge & Diamond, a national environmental law firm based in Washington, DC. Within the firm, Pete serves as Co-Chair of the Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Committee.

Honors & Awards


2023 “Lawyer on the Fast Track,” The Legal Intelligencer

Listed among The Best Lawyers in America‘s “Ones to Watch” for Energy Law, 2024

Listed in Pennsylvania Super Lawyers “Rising Stars” for Environmental Litigation, 2021-2023

Jeff & Genie Shields Prize, Vermont Law School, 2022


Publications & Lectures

Planning Committee Member, ABA SEER 53rd Spring Conference on Environmental Law, April 3-5, 2024

PFAS Litigation—Like PFAS Itself—Is All Over the Place: Current State of Litigation,” The Legal Intelligencer, July 22, 2023 (with Steven Miano)

“PFAS Regulation: What Does it All Mean?” Philadelphia Bar Association CLE, November 16, 2022

Presenter, “The Forever Changing Regulatory Landscape of Forever Chemicals: A Primer for Environmental and Non-Environmental Lawyers on PFAS Regulation in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and at the Federal Level,” Hangley Aronchick CLE, January 20, 2022

“Pennsylvania Poised to Set Maximum Contaminant Levels for Two ‘Forever Chemicals,’” Hangley Aronchick Ampersand Alert, November 30, 2021 (with Steven Miano)

Moderator, “Industry Perspectives on Biden’s Environmental Agenda,” Panel Discussion Presented by Hangley Aronchick Segal Pudlin & Schiller and Roux, February 24, 2021

“As Superfund Turns 40, Courts Are Still Puzzling Over It,”, January 21, 2021

“Takeaways from the Ninth Circuit’s Recent CERCLA Contribution Ruling,” Bloomberg Law Environmental and Energy Report, August 21, 2020

“Second Circuit Narrows CERCLA Cost Recovery Single-Remediation Principle,” ABA Section of Environment, Energy and Resources’ Superfund and Natural Resource Damages Litigation Newsletter, August 18, 2020

“The Changing Landscape of Water Regulation in the US,” The Legal Intelligencer, July 28, 2020

“SCOTUS Superfund Ruling Will Have Ripple Effect,” Bloomberg Law, April 23, 2020

“Compliance with Environmental Obligations During the COVID-19 Pandemic,” Hangley Aronchick Ampersand Alert, April 7, 2020 (with Steven Miano)

“Pennsylvania Environmental Quality Board Extends Comment Period for Proposed PFAS Rulemaking,” Hangley Aronchick Ampersand Alert, March 30, 2020 (with Steven Miano)

Panelist and Moderator, “Becoming (and Remaining) a Bona Fide Prospective Purchaser: Lessons and Best Practices from the First Two Decades of the BFPP Defense,” Pennsylvania Brownfields Conference, State College, Pennsylvania, March 11, 2020

“SCOTUS to Decide How ‘Super’ Superfund Really Is,” The Legal Intelligencer, July 24, 2019

“When Sinkholes Become Legal Problems,” (with Steven Miano), prepared for the 15th National Sinkhole Conference, April 4, 2018

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Memberships & Community

ABA Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources –
Member, Leadership Development Program, 2020
Co-chair, In-House Counsel Committee, 2023

Delaware Valley Environmental American Inn of Court, Counselor and Executive Committee Member

Vermont Law School Alumni Association

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