Practice Update – Environment, Energy, and Resources Practice Group

Environmental Law

SWC - Environmental Law Practice

The Firm’s Environment, Energy, and Resources Practice Group is handling a diverse set of matters as the new year commences. From transactional matters to regulatory and compliance cases to hazardous waste investigation and cleanup sites, we are keeping busy.

The Firm has clients who are buying and selling commercial properties. One property is adjacent to or down gradient of more than one Superfund site and will require environmental assessments and carefully crafted environmental clauses for the contract of sale as a result. Another property is the former site of a dry cleaning establishment. Environmental assessments as part of an all appropriate inquiry, and environmental clauses to address the specific circumstances of this site are necessary. Whether our client is the buyer or the seller, we provide guidance to assist in protecting it from the impacts of environmental conditions.

One of the Firm’s clients owns property in a heavily contaminated waterfront area in which both the federal and state governments are overseeing and directing cleanups. The ultimate goal of the governments is to get the area cleaned up and developed in a manner that will benefit the entire community. We are negotiating on behalf of our client to accomplish an appropriate and cost-effective investigation and cleanup of the property under the regulatory program that will best suit the client’s property-development interests. In addition, since the client purchased the property after the alleged discharge, the Firm will litigate against prior property owners and operators in an effort to recover the costs of the environmental investigation and remediation.

A couple of our clients are potentially responsible parties (“PRPs”) at a multi-party Superfund site involving an area of widespread groundwater contamination covering three towns in Nassau County. Currently, we are negotiating with USEPA and the other PRPs the terms and conditions for implementation of the remedial design work.

Soil vapor intrusion is an environmental condition that many property owners in or adjacent to industrial areas are being directed by the regulatory agencies to address. We have several clients facing this issue. One has been directed to investigate a possible soil vapor condition on its property that is suspected to be the result of an off-site source of contamination. We are negotiating an agreement with USEPA that will be implemented by both the owner of the impacted property and the owner of the property that is the suspected source of the contamination. We are drafting a separate agreement between the two property owners that will determine the terms and conditions of their agreement to implement together the Order on Consent with USEPA.

We are finalizing our wetlands permitting work with one client, and advising others with regard to steps necessary before making any alterations to bulkheads, docks, and other waterfront construction.

Finally, we are looking forward to continuing our solar leasing work and our consultations with wind energy companies this year.

The Firm’s Environment, Energy, and Resources Practice Group looks forward to another full year advising and guiding our clients.

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