Practice Areas & Industries: Greenberg Traurig, LLP

 





Group Profile Lawyers in this Group Offices Locations for this Group
 

Practice/Industry Group Overview

Greenberg Traurig’s Environmental Practice assists our clients with issues under the environmental and natural resource laws that  affect their businesses.  We assist them in transactions, defend them in enforcement actions, represent them in other litigation, help them understand and comply with regulatory requirements, support them as they prepare for and respond to emergencies, craft approaches for their legacy cleanup issues, and develop solutions for their product regulation, market access, and environmental policy challenges.     Our client-focused, problem-solving approach has led major national companies in a variety of industry segments, as well as municipalities, to turn to GT with their most challenging environmental issues. Our attention to fitting service to the client’s needs has also led much smaller organizations facing less daunting environmental challenges to trust us to resolve their issues cost-effectively.

Our Lawyers

More than 65 lawyers at GT practice environmental law in more than 20 of GT’s 36 offices around the United States and the world.  The Environmental Practice is not dominated by lawyers inside the Capital Beltway, but instead by lawyers closer to the facilities, resources, regulators, and courts that matter to our clients.  We have the ability to be on-site or in court quickly, while still offering our clients effective regulatory and legislative advocacy.

We are the lawyers of choice for clients who want to try a different approach tailored to the situation.  They anticipate that the conventional approach to their problems will yield conventional outcomes, but that those outcomes will be unacceptable and therefore they need another option. As a result, you will find our lawyers recognized broadly by publications like the Chambers & Partners guides, and Best Lawyers in America

Clients’ Needs Right Now and in the Future

The services our clients request do not remain the same as business shifts and the priorities of regulators and environmental groups change.  Our recent engagements have clustered in several areas.

  • Infrastructure projects – We help clients meet the regulatory and litigation problems posed by development of pipelines, ports, roads, dams, and the like under the laws requiring environmental impact review like the National Environmental Policy Act; laws for the protection of specific resources like the Endangered Species Act and Clean Water Act; the air pollution laws; land management regulations of the United States, states, and tribes; and private tort law.
     
  • Energy projects – We counsel clients and litigate on their behalf with respect to similar NEPA, ESA, CWA, Clean Air Act, and land management problems posed by development of power plants, wind farms, transmission lines, biomass facilities, and solar power projects.
     
  • Mines, oil and gas wells, and other extraction projects – We represent clients in regulatory disputes and litigation under the mining laws, the wetlands rules, and the Clean Air Act that have arisen during development and operation of phosphate mines, oil and gas wells, hard rock mines, and coal mines, including disputes over the safety and effects of high-volume hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) of shale oil and gas deposits.
     
  • Complex redevelopment projects – We help clients evaluate and manage risk from environmental conditions on old industrial, military, and other brownfields sites, and advise them on how to apply insurance or other risk transfer  tools, along with more conventional voluntary cleanup programs, to manage those risks under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (“CERCLA” or “Superfund”) and other clean up programs.
     
  • Superfund sites – We represent clients in enforcement and allocation disputes and litigation arising under the Superfund program, the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (“RCRA”), and similar authorities, including complicated problems at contaminated sediment sites and sites with claims for natural resources damages.
     
  • Facilities with allegedly injured neighbors – We represent clients in litigation over alleged toxic torts arising from groundwater contamination, surface spills, and air emissions.
     
  • Facilities with newly or differently regulated air emissions – We counsel clients, negotiate with regulators on their behalf, and represent them in litigation over disputes engendered by adoption or application of new rules mandated by Congress and the courts under the Clean Air Act regulating everything from greenhouse gas emissions and climate change to hazardous air pollutants to particulates.
     
  • Product stewardship and market access – We help clients manage the rising tide of product and chemical regulation that is creates market access challenges and opportunities, such as chemical regulation under the Toxic Substances Control Act (“TSCA”), California’s Green Chemistry initiative, the European Union Regulation on Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation, and Restriction of Chemicals (“REACH”), its Regulation on Classification, Labelling, and Packaging of Substances (“CLP”), the EU Directives on Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (“WEEE”) and Restriction of Hazardous Substances (“RoHS”), energy efficiency standards, and value chain management, including compliance with the SEC’s recent conflict minerals rule.

 

Services Available

Our Experience

Our clients benefit from our decades of practice in the environmental area.  GT’s environmental lawyers have handled matters involving issues under each of the federal environmental laws and many state and tribal laws in the United States, as well as national and EU regulations in Europe and elsewhere.  Those engagements fall in several broad areas.

Regulatory Advice and Counseling

  • We represent some of the largest rock mining companies in the United States in connection with obtaining wetlands and other permits in connection with mining the Miami-Dade Lake Belt in Florida for limestone.
     
  • We represent the owner of a manufacturing facility in northern New York in connection with a RCRA corrective action seeking cleanup of soils on scores or hundreds of neighboring properties allegedly contaminated with arsenic.
     
  • We advise the developer of a copper mine in the southwestern United States in connection with National Historic Preservation Act, NEPA, federal environmental, and tribal regulatory matters.
     
  • We are counseling and advocating for the owner of a power plant in New Jersey seeking to convert from coal to natural gas on the implications of the cooling water intake requirements under section 316(b) of the Clean Water Act.

Regulatory and Enforcement Litigation

  • Lozman v. City of Riviera Beach, 133 S. Ct. 735 (2013):  We served as co-counsel for Mr. Lozman, who successfully challenged the assertion of federal maritime jurisdiction over a permanently moored floating home.
     
  • American Electric Power Co., Inc. v. Connecticut, 131 S. Ct. 2527 (2011):  We filed a brief on behalf of amicus curiae Business Round Table in opposition to an effort by state attorneys general to regulate greenhouse gas emissions through a public nuisance suit.
     
  • We recently negotiated a consent decree resolving enforcement claims of the United States arising from a spill response drill at an oil terminal in Maryland.
     
  • We are representing a Gulf Coast manufacturer in Clean Water Act enforcement actions.
     
  • We are defending clients in matters involving allegations of the unauthorized use, disposal or decontamination of PCBs.

Toxic Tort Litigation

  • Franco v. Coronet Industries, Inc.:  We represent the defendant against claims by more than 1100 plaintiffs of personal injuries arising from groundwater, soil, and air releases from a former manufacturing facility.
     
  • Curd v. Mosaic Fertilizer, LLC and related natural resource damages litigation:  We represent the defendant against claims by a putative class action of commercial fishermen and against NRD claims by federal and state natural resource trustees arising from a release to Hillsborough Bay in Florida during Hurricane Frances.
     
  • Met-Coil Systems Corporation bankruptcy:  We represented the parent of a metal-forming company in reorganization. We resolved significant personal injury and property damage litigation relating to the alleged release of chlorinated solvents into the drinking water of a residential area. Our efforts in this matter have been described as a "new legal model for resolving mass tort claims against a company as a result of environmental contamination.  . . . [The model] offers significant advantages to companies and claimants in other mass tort situations in which the universe of future claims is uncertain but potentially overwhelming." Eric Green, et al., Future Claimant Trusts and "Channeling Injunctions" To Resolve Mass Tort Environmental Liability in Bankruptcy: The Met-Coil Model, 22 Emory Bankr. Dev. J. 158 (2006).

Superfund and Natural Resources Damages Enforcement and Litigation

  • United States v. NCR Corp. and Appleton Papers Inc. v. Geo. A. Whiting Paper Co.:  We represent a responsible party in connection with enforcement and natural resources damages litigation and private allocation litigation arising from PCB contamination in the sediments of the Lower Fox River and Green Bay in northeast Wisconsin.  We also represent a different responsible party in connection with the nearby Sheboygan River and Harbor PCB sediment NRD claim.
     
  • We represent clients engaged in a dispute with the United States Department of Energy over its obligations to fund cleanup of uranium mill tailing sites in the southwest.
     
  • Los Angeles Unified School District v. Cronimet Corp.:  We represent defendants in CERCLA cost recovery and contribution litigation brought by the School District.

Transactional Advice and Support

  • We represent the lender in the refinancing of an existing natural gas- and oil-fired electric power station in Florida and the developer of a new solar power project in Arizona. We are assisting the developer of a 20-story life-care facility in Manhattan with its required environmental impact statement.
     
  • We are assisting one of our clients in development of a wildlife habitat conservation bank and another client in development of a wetlands mitigation bank.

Liability Management, Liability Transfer, and Bankruptcy

  • We serve as lead environmental counsel in connection with the Base Realignment and Closure and the development of the South Weymouth Naval Air Station in Massachusetts.
     
  • On behalf of our client EnviroFinance Group, we have crafted the first of its kind remediation and redevelopment agreement for the site of a large copper smelter in Colorado owned by the Asarco remediation trust, including some redevelopment funding from the Department of Housing and Urban Development, environmental insurance, and trust money.
     
  • We are assisting our client in replacing and restructuring a liability transfer transaction involving the construction of a large mixed-use development on a closed municipal landfill.
     
  • We assisted our private equity client in evaluating and structuring a risk mitigation program,  including a comprehensive program of environmental insurance, for its acquisition of a 6 million square foot retail and industrial building in New York.
     
  • We negotiated complicated sale, leaseback, development, cost-sharing, and insurance agreements on behalf of our clients when development of the largest commercial real estate project in Arizona encountered an historic landfill.

Citizen Suits and Third-Party Permit Appeals

  • El Paso Natural Gas Co. v. United States.  We represent a plaintiff on its RCRA and CERCLA citizen suit claims against DOE, EPA and other agencies; EPNG seeks to have the federal government clean up residual radioactive contamination left from uranium ore milling in the 1950’s for the U.S. nuclear weapons program.
     
  • Sierra Club, Inc. v. Mosaic Fertilizer, LLC:  We represent the permittee in third-party challenges to Clean Water Act section 404 “dredge and fill” permits required to extract phosphate ore from a nearly 11,000 acre property.
     
  • We represent third-party landowner representative Miami-Dade Limestone Products Association in connection with approvals for the transmission corridor to serve the Turkey Point Nuclear Power Plant expansion.

Criminal Enforcement and Internal Investigations

  • We are defending a natural gas exploration and development company in the Marcellus Shale region accused of building unpermitted ponds on its lessees’ farms.
     
  • Our lawyers have defended a manufacturing company in a years-long criminal Clean Air Act investigation which concluded with no indictments.

Our Thinking

Please visit our E2blog, www.environmentalandenergylawblog.com, for some of our lawyers’ most current thoughts on recent developments.

Our lawyers publish regularly.  Three recent examples are:

  • Russo and Silverman, Environmental Audit – New York Looks to Expand the Scope of Its Policy While EPA Seeks to Target Applicability, 24 Envt’l L. in N.Y. 155 (Oct. 2013)
     
  • Weinstein and Torres, Managing the Complex:  A Brief Survey of Lone Pine Orders, 34 Westlaw J. Envt’l L.  No. 3 (Aug. 21, 2013)
     
  • Mandelbaum, Regulation of Unconventional Natural Gas Development, 25 Probate & Property No. 5 (Sept./Oct. 2011)

We write a monthly practice column for the Pennsylvania Law Weekly, a publication of American Lawyer Media.

Our lawyers also teach law as adjunct faculty at law schools where they practice and speak regularly.


 
Group Presentations
  WLI 20th Annual Conference, November 14, 2013
RCA Commercial Super Conference, October 18, 2013
IMN - Real Estate General Counsel Forum (East) 3rd Annual, September 30, 2013
2013 APA Florida Conference, September 10, 2013
GT/PLF Webinar- Koontz v. St. Johns River WMD, July 17, 2013
See more...