Practice/Industry Group Overview
We handle issues related to environmental regulations, compliance and permitting across a wide range of industries and businesses uses. Those services include:
- Siting, permitting and operating industrial, manufacturing, service, public, and research and development facilities
- Purchase of and lending for industrial properties
- Environmental insurance coverage litigation
- Compliance advice
- Enforcement defense
Guiding you through site selection and evaluation
Property buyers and lenders can significantly reduce future business risks and costs by being smart when they select and evaluate real estate. A Transaction Screen or Phase I Environmental Site Assessment of the site and adjoining areas is a must to minimize potential environmental liability for prospective purchasers and lenders.
In addition to the environmental assessment, a wetlands delineation of the purchased property is mandatory if federal permits are needed for dredging and filling wetlands. Also, endangered species and historic preservation issues, often regulated by the federal government, may need to be addressed.
Managing property remediation challenges
Companies, government agencies, lenders and others often face complex challenges when dealing with sites where petroleum products or other hazardous materials, such as solvents, may be present. Our lawyers are adept at advising our clients through the process of assessing the site, evaluating remedial options, negotiating with government agencies and third parties, and marketing the property.
Navigating complex regulations and litigation
There are a variety of regulatory issues that property owners, facility operators or lenders may face when using a site for certain uses. Nexsen Pruet’s environmental law attorneys have the skills and experience to successfully guide you through these matters. Nexsen Pruet represents clients in litigation involving environmental insurance coverage. These include companies attempting to invoke coverage, as well as insurers who have denied coverage. Several of our attorneys have extensive experience with all aspects of environmental insurance issues.
We handle matters related to:
COASTAL AND WETLAND PERMITTING
State and Federal permits for construction impacting tidal waters must be obtained for projects including docks, piers, marinas, impoundments, dredging, and erosion control. In addition, state certifications, including coastal zone consistency certifications and 401 water quality certifications must be obtained prior to issuance of any federal permits.
Almost any manufacturing facility is likely to result in air emissions that required permits. These would include activities such as the installation of boilers emitting particulates and steam, dust collectors controlling particulates, or process equipment emitting volatile organic compounds.
Unless otherwise exempt, a construction permit is required prior to starting any site activities. Certain facilities may also be subject to the federal/state Title V operating permit program.
WASTEWATER AND STORMWATER PERMITTING
New industrial or publicly owned facilities will require permits, before construction, for wastewater treatment and pretreatment facilities for process and sanitary wastewater. Also, a federal/state permit is required for a direct discharge into a waterway or an industrial user permit for a discharge to a publicly owned treatment system.
Stormwater discharge permits are required for construction activities that involve disturbances greater than two acres. A stormwater discharge permit may also be required for ongoing industrial activities.
SOLID AND HAZARDOUS WASTE
All industrial solid waste must be characterized to determine proper management requirements. Government regulations strictly control the transportation, treatment, storage, and disposal of hazardous wastes. Land disposal facilities for non-hazardous waste, including industrial sludge, are also regulated. Solid waste management facilities, such as compactors, transfer stations, recycling or recovered materials processing facilities, may also require permits.
On-site drinking water systems for employees may require pre-construction permits and operating permits. Your drinking water system may also have additional regulatory requirements.
Underground storage tanks (for petroleum and hazardous substances) are regulated, and financial responsibility requirements apply to petroleum USTs. Government regulations require periodic filing of inventory reports and emission reports for certain chemicals. These requirements may vary considerably depending on the activity at the site.
Articles Authored by Lawyers at this office:
EPA's Proposed Cross-State Air Pollution Update Rule
Charles S. Carter, December 07, 2015
On November 16th, EPA proposed an “update” to its Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR) ozone season requirements. Starting in 2017, the proposal is intended to reduce summertime emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx) from power plants in 23 eastern States. The NOx limitations are...
Beachfront Management Bill S.139
Bob Coble, November 27, 2015
South Carolina state Senator Ray Cleary’s Beachfront Management Bill S.139 has been scheduled for the Senate Environmental Subcommittee the morning of December 1, 2015.
EPA Strengthens Power Plant Water Discharge Regulations
James W. Potter, October 22, 2015
On September 30, 2015, the EPA finalized a revision to its wastewater effluent standards for power plants. The new regulation (which takes effect sixty days after Federal Register publication of the revision) updates a 1982 standard for power plant wastewater discharges.
Update 2 on WOTUS
James W. Potter, September 10, 2015
The federal district judge in North Dakota who granted an injunction to thirteen states for changes to the scope of the jurisdiction of the Clean Water Act has refused to expand his injunction nationwide. EPA has stated that it will only respect the injunction in the thirteen states granted...
Update on New Clean Water Act Rule
James W. Potter, September 02, 2015
On August 27, 2015, a federal District Court Judge in North Dakota issued a preliminary injunction blocking the implementation of the newly promulgated “Waters of the U.S. rule (WOTUS) (one day before the rule was to take effect). North Dakota et al v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency et...
The Uncertain Status of “Stigma Damages” for Property Claims in South Carolina
James W. Potter, August 10, 2015
In Chestnut, et al v. AVX Corporation, Appellate Case 2012-212143 (S.C. Supreme Court August 5, 2014), the State Supreme Court was faced with the issue of whether “stigma damages” could apply for environmental contamination which did not directly impact a plaintiff’s property -...
EARL e-News: EPA Releases EJ Mapping and Screening Tool
Ronald E. Cardwell, June 26, 2015
On June 10, 2015, EPA released EJScreen, an environmental justice (EJ) screening and mapping tool which replaced EJView, a previous publicly available EJ screening tool. EJScreen will provide EPA with a nationally consistent database and approach for combining environmental and demographic...
EARL e-News: EPA's Carbon Dioxide Plan Can Proceed
Charles S. Carter, June 26, 2015
On June 9th, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit rejected two petitions seeking to block EPA’s proposed Clean Power Plan to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from existing electric generating plants. A three judge panel of the court held that since EPA’s plan is...
EPA Updates its Audit Disclosure Policy
James W. Potter, June 26, 2015
In April 2000, the EPA issued its "Incentives for Self-Policing: Discovery, Disclosure, Correction and Prevention of Violations," 65 Federal Register 19, 618 (4/11/2000) (known as The Audit Policy). The purpose of a company's self-disclosure of a potential violation is to avoid criminal...
EPA, Corps of Engineers Issue New Clean Water Act Rule
James W. Potter, June 18, 2015
On May 27, 2015 the EPA and the Corps of Engineers issued a prepublication version of its final rule to define "waters of the United States" 40 CFR 230. Soon the final rule will be published in the Federal Register and will take effect sixty days after publication.