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Environmental

Overview

Offering guidance through the extraordinarily complex issues of environmental regulation and compliance, our Environmental Practice Group helps clients achieve their business goals without undue interference or delay. When environmental disputes arise, we also assist clients in navigating federal, state, local, and agency litigation as it relates to environmental and toxic tort actions. We have advised clients on their environmental needs since the 1970s, and we now represent companies throughout the Southeast, across the nation, and around the world.

Our clients are engaged in numerous industries, including construction, steel and iron production, textiles, mining, chemicals (including PFAS), wood products, electronics, pharmaceuticals, industrial and medical gas production, drum reconditioning, banking, and commercial real estate development. In addition, we provide legal assistance to individuals and governmental entities, such as counties and municipalities.

Clients have remarked on our unique understanding of their perspective and their businesses — and the perspective of regulators — because of our backgrounds. Our team includes attorneys who have worked for leading chemical and paper companies, the United States Army Corps of Engineers, the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC), and have served on the North Carolina Environmental Management Commission.

Each of the past six years, Chambers USA gave our team the highest possible ranking, Band 1, for our practice area in North Carolina. Chambers develops its rankings using in-depth interviews and objective research conducted year-round.

Representative Experience

Compliance

  • PFAS advice and counseling – We have been on the cutting edge advising clients on the federal government’s aggressive regulation of PFAS and the fallout at the state agencies and in the private sector.
  • Issuance of and compliance with environmental permits – We negotiate such permits as Title V and PSD air permits, NPDES wastewater and stormwater permits, wetlands permits, POTW pretreatment permits, public water supply permits, RCRA hazardous waste permits, landfill permits, landfill franchise agreements, and others for all sectors of industry.
  • Environmental audits and assessments – We perform and participate in environmental audits and assessments for our clients, report audit findings to agencies under self-disclosure policies, and negotiate self-disclosure agreements with the agencies.
  • Generation, storage, and disposal of hazardous and solid waste – We advise clients on the federal, state, and local regulation of materials and waste management in business.
  • Regulation of underground storage tanks (USTs) – We advise clients on all aspects of USTs, including installation, operation, maintenance, reporting, and cleanup of releases from USTs, and eligibility for reimbursement under state UST trust funds.
  • Preparation of environmental policies and regulatory procedures – We prepare policy and procedure manuals and environmental management systems for clients and advise clients on practical compliance with such policies, procedures, and systems.
  • Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) – We advise clients on the TSCA, including enforcement, inventory update rule compliance, premanufacture notification, and import/export certification.
  • State and federal inventory and release reporting and cleanup requirements – Many of our clients are required to submit regular Tier II and Form R reports under the federal Emergency Preparedness and Community Right to Know Act (EPCRA) and similar state laws. We advise our clients on routine reporting as well as unexpected spill and release reporting requirements.
  • Assessment and remediation of impacted properties – We work closely with environmental consultants and other professionals to assess and clean up environmentally impacted properties. This process generally requires coordination with state and local agencies. We work with clients to meet the common goal of protecting the environment, while striking an economic balance beneficial to our clients.

Transactions

  • Environmental aspects of business transactions – A significant share of our practice concerns issues faced by sellers and purchasers of businesses, real estate lenders, and borrowers. We are involved in all aspects of business transactions, including due diligence, risk allocation, permit transfers, environmental assessments, representations and warranties, indemnities, access agreements, remediation agreements, and other related environmental aspects. We work closely with our corporate, banking, and real estate and commercial development practice groups to provide guidance in these transactions.
  • Brownfield redevelopment and evaluation of risks in property transactions – We have broad experience in negotiating Brownfield agreements and tax incentives in the Carolinas and nationally. Examples of our experience range from recently securing a Brownfield agreement with the state of North Carolina for redevelopment of a large textile mill in Kannapolis to obtaining one of North Carolina's earliest Brownfield agreements, which allowed the development of a Brownfield site in Raleigh into condominiums, offices, and a charter high school.
  • Insurance coverage for environmental liabilities or conditions – A recent trend has been for our business clients to consider environmental insurance as an option for resolving risk allocation issues in business transactions. We work with our clients to evaluate environmental insurance and also have prosecuted and defended environmental insurance litigation.
  • Site and project development – We often partner with attorneys in our Business Expansion & Location Solutions Team to provide permitting, zoning, Brownfield, and POTW use agreements for clients seeking to move to an existing facility or build a new facility. We also negotiate landfill permits and franchise agreements for municipalities and private party clients.

Litigation

  • Agency enforcement actions – We regularly defend clients in administrative proceedings before state and federal agencies involving permitting issues, administrative enforcement actions, and state and federal multimedia enforcement efforts at targeted industries. We assist clients in responding to notices of violation informally or through more formal administrative proceedings.
  • Environmental litigation – We defend and prosecute complex federal and state court, agency, and private party environmental litigation, including insurance-related cases.
  • Superfund/Potentially Responsible Party (PRP) – We advise clients on PRP status at Superfund sites, including strategies to reduce or eliminate liabilities at such sites and the defense of claims by the EPA and others.
  • Class actions/toxic torts – We defend environmental class actions, mass tort, and toxic tort actions and related common law actions such as trespass and nuisance. For example, we are at the forefront of helping clients navigate PFAS multidistrict litigation, including national class action defense.

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Professionals

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