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Environmental Law

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Overview

Companies in the environmental sector face increasingly complex challenges, including evolving regulations, technological advancements and heightened public awareness. Our team brings decades of experience to bear on behalf of clients grappling with regulatory compliance, intricate litigation and transactional due diligence issues, as well as spills and other environmental catastrophes.

When crisis strikes, we manage risk through effective communications with lead investigative agencies, government organizations, potential claimants, employees and the media, facilitating a comprehensive plan to reduce the client’s litigation exposure. The group’s strong credentials in specialized fields such as geology and public health contribute to an outstanding track record of successful outcomes. Several professional engineers and a certified industrial hygienist on the team bring additional deep understanding of the risks — and opportunities — that can impact clients’ businesses and reputations. Our client roster encompasses the following diverse industries:

  • Property landowners
  • Chemical and other manufacturers
  • Utilities
  • Contractors, architects and engineers
  • Financial institutions
  • Insurance companies
  • Commercial energy producers and marketers
  • Logistics entities, including terminals and warehouses
  • Processing facilities
  • Oil and gas producers and refiners
  • Directors and officers
  • Import-export concerns
  • Mining and milling operations

Services

Connell Foley's Environmental Law practice is fluent in all federal, state and local environmental regulations. We provide sound advice regarding the Clean Air Act; New Jersey’s Industrial Site Recovery Act (ISRA), Brownfields and Contaminated Site Remediation Act and Hazardous Discharge Site Remediation Act (HDSRA); and the federal Superfund law (CERCLA). Our lawyers routinely appear before — and negotiate with — major governmental agencies, including OSHA, USEPA, USDOJ, USDOT, NJDEP and NYDEC.

Our interdisciplinary team of environmental practitioners provides counsel related to the following services:

  • Litigation
  • Environmental crisis management
  • Regulatory compliance/permitting
  • Transactions

Litigation

Environmental Law group lawyers strive to provide clients with cost-effective litigation strategies that achieve their business goals. We have significant experience with both state and federal environmental litigation, ranging from wetlands and coastal permit appeals to private disputes over cleanup responsibility. With extensive experience in allied areas of litigation — including mass and toxic tort, class actions, transportation and product liability — our team addresses each aspect of litigation with precision and cutting-edge legal knowledge. They are adept at creating strategies applicable to multiple disputes, in multiple venues and jurisdictions, with an eye toward crafting satisfactory, comprehensive solutions.

Environmental Crisis Management

Beyond day-to-day legal advice, our team has many years of experience providing counsel in mass toxic tort cases for large and small companies in addition to individuals. Our lawyers provide customized solutions in enforcement actions brought by federal, state and local governments. We are skilled at handling the multiple actions that can arise from high-profile environmental crises in the wake of accidents and/or allegations of mishandling or negligence.

Catastrophic events can be dramatic and emotional for company officers and directors as well as the individuals impacted. We offer a sure hand and sound judgment, from the critical initial stages of a crisis — such as the discovery of contamination — through its resolution, including spill and release reporting, public relations and any necessary litigation.

Regulatory Compliance/Permitting

We manage the entire development process for proposed projects containing wetlands, coastal or waterfront areas, flood plains and environmentally impaired property. This work includes filing permit applications and navigating the complex maze of statutes and regulations affecting a project and the surrounding community. Our compliance and permitting counsel includes matters related to:

  • Solid waste, hazardous waste and hazardous substance generation, transportation, disposal and remediation activities
  • Permits for air emissions and effluent discharges
  • Operations, safety, handling and materials transportation review
  • Identification, evaluation and allocation of environmental costs, rights and obligations with infill development, historic structures, greenfields, greyfields and brownfields
  • Negotiations and settlements in environmental litigation, lawsuits and directives
  • Operations management involving pollution control equipment, air emissions direction and industrial wastewater discharge and storage and disposal of retired equipment or process waste. When faced with alleged violations or seeking remedies in connection with emerging state law chemicals regulations, our team guides clients through the investigatory and litigation process.

The Environmental Law practice stays current with rulings on every environmental issue that could hinder clients’ operations. The team is often asked to participate in the policy process, providing advice on proposed regulations and insights about the consequences of an approach. Our representative matters address most environmental concerns that regional businesses may have, including:

  • Clean Air Act, Industrial Site Recovery Act (ISRA), Brownfields and Contaminated Site Remediation Act and Hazardous Discharge Site Remediation Act (HDSRA)
  • The federal Superfund law, including multiparty CERCLA sediment and site cleanup matters, and its state counterparts such as the New Jersey Spill Act and numerous other rules and regulations
  • Compliance matters relating to air emissions and New Jersey Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NJPDES) effluent discharges, solid and hazardous wastes, hazardous substance generation, transportation, disposal and remediation
  • Wetlands, coastal and waterfront areas, as well as stormwater and flood hazard area permitting
  • EPA, the Department of Transportation (DOT), OSHA and the NJDEP related to hazardous materials and worker health and safety, including Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasures (SPCC); Discharge Prevention, Containment, and Countermeasure (DPCC); Chemical Right-To-Know Strategy (CRTKS), Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act (SARA); Title III Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act (EPCRA); Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) requirements; underground storage tanks (USTs); asbestos; and lead abatement
  • Site investigation remediation and cleanups under the Site Remediation Reform Act (SRRA) and the Licensed Site Remediation Professional (LSRP) process. We were integrally involved in the 2009 drafting and enactment of the SRRA and subsequent NJDEP regulations, including establishment of LSRPs and SRRA’s new “affirmative duty to conduct remediation” according to NJDEP
  • Site investigation, remediation and cleanups, including reporting obligations with respect to spills, sampling results showing the exceeding of remediation standards and other information

Transactions

Clients turn to us for keen transactional advice when environmental issue resolution is key to successfully achieving business goals. Our group performs M&A due diligence to assist both buyers and sellers in identifying potential risks and insurance issues. We also advise companies and individuals seeking financing for brownfield and other projects covered by the New Jersey Hazardous Discharge Site Remediation Fund and through the Environmental Infrastructure Trust/Financing Program.

We regularly propose, prepare and plan regulatory compliance procedures and activities related to deal-making. Additionally, we coordinate necessary documentation to federal, state and local environmental agencies, and help clients identify and avoid potential risks and insurance issues. Our counsel includes advice on and drafting of transactional documents as well as recommendations on and procurement of public and private funding.

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