Environmental

Overview

The strategic use of natural resources, responsible and sustainable growth and the effective yet efficient compliance with applicable environmental requirements place environmental law at the forefront of business concerns.

Determining which federal, state, and local environmental regulations apply to your project or business can be complex and fraught with pitfalls, large and small, as state and national regulations change and evolve. When matters turn to government charges of noncompliance, whether in the form of notices of violations or enforcement action, an effective response requires experienced counsel who not only can work with clients to quickly determine a course of action that will work, but who also have the respect of and credibility with government regulators to bring the matter to an appropriate and supportable resolution.

Blank Rome’s nationally-recognized environmental attorneys have broad experience working with clients in many business sectors, including but not limited to energy, chemical, manufacturing, transportation, real estate, life sciences and pharmaceuticals, public and private finance and investment, and healthcare. We also provide counsel to municipal and county governments, and redevelopment authorities. 

Our team brings a wealth of experience dealing with environmental issues and provides services as diverse as air and water-related operating permits and project development, internal investigations, and Resource Conservation and Recovery Act ("RCRA") and Superfund remediation and cost recovery actions. We stay ahead of regulatory developments to provide effective and relevant compliance strategies that help you avoid liability. We do this as a team, often drawing from the experience and expertise of others within the Firm, including attorneys specializing in private and public finance, real estate, maritime law, tax law, corporate law, and litigation.

How We Can Help

  • due diligence, compliance auditing, and environmental management systems
  • corporate, real estate, and lending transactions
  • construction and operating permits for project development
  • underground and aboveground storage tanks
  • medical waste management
  • civil and criminal enforcement and litigation
  • internal corporate criminal investigations
  • natural resource damages claims
  • toxic tort claims, including class actions
  • Clean Air Act ("CAA")
  • Clean Water Act ("CWA") and wetlands
  • Toxic Substances Control Act ("TSCA") and pesticide laws
  • RCRA and hazardous waste management
  • Superfund and voluntary remediation programs, including cost recovery actions
  • Hazardous Materials Transportation Act ("HMTA") 

What Sets Us Apart

  • The team includes former trial attorneys from the U.S. Department of Justice ("DOJ"), including the Environmental Crimes Section, former officials of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ("EPA"), and former Assistant United States Attorneys. 
  • One member served six terms as co-chair of the American Bar Association’s (“ABA”) Environmental and Energy Litigation Committee and is currently serving his 8th term as a member of what was previously the ABA’s Standing Committee of Environmental Law.
  • Members of the group write, lecture, and teach on environmental law topics, and have earned public recognition for their work.  
  • 2017 Chambers USA ranked Blank Rome for Environment in Pennsylvania
  • 2018 U.S. News & World Report—Best Lawyers (Woodward/White, Inc.) national ranks: Litigation – Environmental: Tier 2
  • 2018 U.S. News & World Report—Best Lawyers (Woodward/White, Inc.) regional ranks:
    • Litigation – Environmental: Tier 2, New Jersey and Philadelphia
    • Environmental Law: Tier 2, Philadelphia

 

Experience

  • For nearly 15 years, served as national coordinating counsel for a multinational chemical company in the defense of more than 20 class action cases involving toxic torts and alleged groundwater contamination. Certain of these cases involve the largest natural resource damages claims being litigated in the United States.
  • Defended a $6+ billion petrochemical facility designed to manufacture propylene CAA permit in an action filed by NGOs. 
  • Defended a publicly-owned treatment works in negotiations with DOJ and EPA in a multi- million dollar CWA enforcement matter.
  • Ongoing representation an energy company in all initial and ongoing permitting and related environmental regulatory matters relating to the acquisition and restart of a major oil refinery.
  • Ongoing representation of a pipeline company in state and federal enforcement actions arising from horizontal directional drilling.
  • Acted as lead counsel in defending several large manufacturing companies against private CERCLA and common law claims brought by the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles.
  • Counseled a venture capital company in the negotiation and acquisition of shale oil and gas leases.
  • Representing an international oil company in the negotiation of a contract for the disposal of wastewater from hydraulic fracturing activities in underground injection wells.
  • Defended a major oil and gas company charged in a 97 count federal criminal indictment alleging conspiracy, false statements, and violations of the CAA and CERCLA.
  • Provided ongoing compliance counseling to a manufacturer of chemical products seeking to address notices of violations under RCRA, CAA, CWA, the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act, the HMTA.
  • Assisted an international chemical company in several internal investigations in connection with potential violations under various state and federal environmental statutes.
  • Conducted environmental, health and safety compliance audits on behalf of numerous clients to identify potential and actual violations of environmental laws to assist with the development of environmental management systems, and to provide counsel regarding required disclosures to government agencies.
  • Represented client in NEPA review of Army Corps of Engineers gravel dredging permit and Endangered Species Act consultation regarding threatened and endangered species.
  • Ongoing representation of a client that operated, what was at the time, the largest oil refinery in the Western Hemisphere against multiple toxic tort bodily injury and property damage lawsuits filed by more than 600 plaintiffs for alleged exposure to numerous air releases.
  • Ongoing defense of, and successful jury verdicts against, numerous benzene exposure cases filed against several international oil companies.
  • Counsel in the Lore v. Lone Pine Corporation toxic tort case which resulted in the issuance of the first so-called “Lone Pine Order,” an approach to case management that is now relied on nationally in toxic tort, mass tort and product liability cases as one of the most effective methods of challenging plaintiffs’ causes of action before being required to engage in costly, time-consuming factual and expert discovery.
  • Represented the former United States Radium Corporation through nearly 12 years of litigation in a putative class action brought by 225 plaintiffs, who claimed their 61 properties had been damaged by radioactively contaminated soil and that they had suffered bodily injuries as a result of their alleged exposure to radiation. Following several mistrials, a 4 week evidentiary hearing in which we successfully challenged the admissibility of plaintiffs’ lead expert, and years of discovery, all matters were settled on favorable terms.

Team

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