The attorneys at Brown Duke & Fogel collectively have decades of experience providing counsel on the evolving federal, state and local environmental statutes, rules and regulations, including advising clients on the extensive environmental review processes required to successfully complete projects, counseling clients on regulatory compliance, and representing clients in administrative proceedings (permitting and enforcement) and in environmental litigation.
Our practice is broad, both in the types of matters we have handled and where we practice. Our work has involved a wide range of commercial and industrial facilities, including, mining operations, telecommunications tower systems used by emergency first responders, semi-conductor manufacturing facilities, major oil storage facilities, power plants, Portland cement plants, hot-mix asphalt plants, ready-mix concrete plants, landfills, tanneries, solid waste and hazardous waste facilities, and regional destination shopping centers, among others. Where we work is just as wide ranging. Our practice routinely takes us throughout New York State and the greater metropolitan area where we regularly appear before various administrative agencies and commissions, such as the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, the Army Corps of Engineers, the Adirondack Park Agency, the New York City Department of Environmental Protection, and the Long Island Central Pine Barrens Commission, just to name a few.
Environmental Regulatory Counseling
We counsel our clients regarding air quality, development and facility siting, hazardous waste, permitting, release reporting, safety and health, solid waste, site remediation, storage tanks, water quality, stormwater control and wetlands issues. We are fully familiar with the statutes, rules and regulations and guidance at the local, state and federal level that directly impact commercial and industrial operations. As a result, our attorneys are able to counsel clients to ensure compliance with environmental regulations and standards whether the client is seeking counsel on the permits necessary under local, state and/or federal law to embark on significant new development in potentially sensitive environmental areas or Brownfield sites or seeking counsel on securing or modifying permitted emissions to air or water from regulators. We pride ourselves in developing constructive, practical methods that are tailored to a client’s business and what they actually want to accomplish, while remaining compliant with applicable laws and regulations.
Environmental Enforcement Defense
We have extensive experience defending enforcement actions initiated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and other regulatory agencies in local, state and federal courts and administrative tribunals. These efforts include representing clients in matters brought under the Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act, the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) and applicable regulations, as well as under New York law, including the Environmental Conservation Law. In this context, we have substantial experience in negotiating settlements, including consent orders with the EPA and the DEC.
Our attorneys handle a variety of environmental litigation matters in state and federal court. Our experience includes defending and prosecuting claims under New York law (i.e., Navigation Law) and federal law (i.e., CERCLA), and State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) challenges and challenges to the adoption of regulations by administrative agencies. In the administrative context, our attorneys have represented parties in proceedings before the DEC, Army Corps of Engineers and the Mine Safety and Health Administration.
Site Remediation, Environmental Due Diligence, and Brownfield Redevelopment
Past contamination can pose a major problem for the development of new projects and the renovation and reuse of existing facilities. The Firm guides clients as they clean up sites ranging from small commercial properties to large industrial facilities. Whether the cleanup is voluntary or mandatory, whether the cleanup is conducted pursuant to a governmental order, decree or judgment, or whether the cleanup is conducted pursuant to a private contractual agreement, the goal is the same: develop a workable, cost-effective program to expedite remediation and redevelopment.
Our experience with site cleanups includes a vast array of facilities, including landfills, former manufactured gas plants, gasoline stations, dry cleaners, paper mills, and major chemical manufacturing plants. In this context, the Firm regularly manages the performance of site investigation and cleanup activities. The Firm works closely with clients to identify their goals prior to negotiating with regulators to develop feasible site investigation and remediation programs.
We are uniquely suited to assist clients in conducting practical and meaningful environmental due diligence by identifying environmental risks and liabilities that support informed decisions during real property transactions and corporate acquisitions of industrial assets. Members of the Firm regularly draft and negotiate the environmental provisions of purchase and sale agreements, consent orders, stipulations, remediation agreements, access agreements and various oversight documents that contractually allocate environmental liabilities among parties.
We also assist clients in navigating their way through the various Brownfield Cleanup Programs (BCP) on the local (New York City), State (New York and New Jersey) and federal level. This includes assisting in the preparation of BCP applications that give our clients the best opportunity of gaining acceptance into the respective BCP and working with the agencies in tailoring investigations and remedial solutions that meet regulatory requirements and optimize tax credits and liability protections for our clients.