Practice/Industry Group Overview
The Environmental Law Department of Phillips Nizer was formed in 1979. Its attorneys offer a full range of experience in the laws, rules and regulations affecting hazardous and solid waste, clean water, environmental due diligence, land use, air, resource recovery, transportation and energy. The department has a national practice, representing the firm's diverse client base, which includes major corporations, lenders, real estate purchasers, owners and developers, medium and small-sized manufacturers, and other businesses in all aspects of environmental law.
Although environmental representation often follows the initiation of governmental or private action in litigation or administrative proceedings, the department encourages environmental and planning compliance counseling services to assist the firm's clients in operating both lawfully and profitably. Importantly, the department's historical familiarity with all aspects of environmental law enables it efficiently to evaluate risk and counsel its business and financial sector clients in all phases of environmental due diligence.
DIVERSITY OF PRACTICE
The department represents clients before federal and state courts and administrative agencies at all levels of government and handles transactional and compliance matters involving environmental considerations. For example, the department has been involved with:
- Defense of lawsuits and proceedings brought by governmental agencies and citizen groups under all major federal and state statutes
- Development of and negotiation with administrative agencies on clean-up programs
- Defense of injury and property damage claims involving hazardous substances
- Representation of corporate clients in insurance coverage litigation involving alleged hazardous waste and toxic tort liabilities
- Planning and management of toxic and solid waste disposal and clean-up compliance programs
- Preparation and evaluation of comprehensive environmental due diligence audits in connection with loans, business acquisitions and internal compliance reviews
- Preparation of governmental regulatory compliance filings, including permits, variance applications and environmental impact statements
- OSHA compliance
Some of the matters in which members of the Environmental Law Department have represented clients include:
- Representation of a Fortune 100 chemical company in highly publicized court and agency proceedings related to Superfund sites located around the country.
- Representation of a leading chemical company in obtaining the first commercial permit in the United States to incinerate dioxin contaminated liquids.
- Representation of world's largest sanitary landfill in all aspects of permitting and regulatory compliance.
- Representation of major environmental disposal company in successful appeal of unilateral administrative order before EPA Environmental Appeals.
- Representation of a chemical company in connection with its environmental due diligence review of acquisitions in the United States.
- Successful appeal to Environmental Protection Agency Environmental Appeals Board of CERCLA administrative order resulting in precedent-setting decision and payment to client from federal Superfund.
- Successful appeal to US Court of Appeals (2nd Circuit) establishing precedent-setting ruling on landlord-tenant liability under Superfund.
- Representation of a major British corporation in connection with its environmental due diligence review of acquisitions in the United States.
- Representation of a solid waste recovery and recycling operation.
- Representation of a substantial hazardous waste and industrial wastewater treatment facility in connection with Resource Conservation and Recovery Act and Clean Water Act permitting, corrective action and closure matters.
- Development and negotiation of precedent setting multi million dollar technical cleanup programs in response to a governmental lawsuit against a leading chemical company.
- Representation of a Fortune 500 manufacturing company involved in the defense industry in connection with claims concerning aquifer damage.
- Representation of a shipyard in New York State's first Clean Water Act shipyard permit.
- Representation of site owners and generators in multi-party Superfund sites throughout the United States.
- Advice as insurance counsel to major corporations in connection with potential hazardous waste and toxic tort liabilities.
- Advice to developers in connection with wetlands and other land use permits.
- Advice and representation of a major producer of graphic arts products on various issues including air emission controls and hazardous waste facility closure plan.
PUBLICATIONS, LECTURES AND TEACHING
Members of the department publish and lecture extensively on a wide range of environmental law topics, including environmental due diligence, Superfund, and insurance coverage issues. In addition, members of the department serve in advisory capacities on industry and banking association councils, evaluating and commenting on proposed legislation and other issues affecting the financial, business and industrial communities.