Environmental

KEEPING YOUR BUSINESS HEALTHY, SAFE, AND PROSPEROUS

Sudden environmental issues can not only affect your bottom line, but left unaddressed can lead to long term and far reaching liability with regulatory agencies and abutters, and other complicated and costly consequences. Our Environmental Practice Group is comprised of experienced environmental and land use attorneys who work diligently to resolve environmental issues while protecting the legal and property rights of our clients, including property owners, lessees, developers, real estate investors, landlord and tenant, insurers, contractors, engineers, and public entities. We provide all legal services that may be needed in environmental matters, including counseling, permitting, regulatory compliance, transactional services, due diligence, and litigation including mediation and arbitration of environmental disputes.

WE COVER ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH, SAFETY, AND LAND USE REGULATIONS, AT FEDERAL, STATE, AND LOCAL LEVELS, INCLUDING:

  • Oil and Hazardous Material (OHM);
  • Environmental impact reviews;
  • Solid waste;
  • Air emissions;
  • Indoor air;
  • Facility siting;
  • Underground storage tanks;
  • Asbestos and lead paint;
  • Worker safety;
  • Wetlands and floodplains;
  • Wastewater and stormwater discharges;
  • Tidelands;
  • Endangered species

GROUP MEMBERS

Group members are available to provide regulatory compliance counseling and audits, provide environmental advice related to SEC compliance, conduct internal investigations, and participate in the planning for and response to governmental inspections and investigations.

Our group’s litigation services encompass both affirmative and defensive actions at the administrative, trial, and appellate levels, and include:

  • Oil and Hazardous Materials under Chapter 21E and the Massachusetts Contingency Plan (MCP), and CERCLA (cleanup obligations, cost recovery, diminished property value, natural resource damages, or economic loss);
  • Environmental permitting and land use appeals;
  • Environmental enforcement actions;
  • Penalty and remedial actions under OSHA and other workplace safety regulations;
  • Asbestos and other toxic tort claims;
  • Landlord/tenant disputes involving alleged health, safety, and environmental risks; and
  • Insurance coverage.

WE REGULARLY REPRESENT PROPERTY OWNERS, BUSINESSES, AND OTHER CLIENTS IN ENVIRONMENTAL PERMITTING, COMPLIANCE, REGULATORY, AND TRANSACTIONAL MATTERS, INCLUDING:

  • Obtaining local, state, and federal environmental approvals and permits;
  • Advice and representation, concerning real estate environmental issues, including environmental site assessments, implementation of remedies and permanent solutions including Activity and Use Limitations; and the evaluation and monitoring of compliance;
  • MEPA and NEPA compliance;
  • Brownfields redevelopment;
  • Title 5 septic system issues;
  • LEED-Certified Building Rating Implementation; and
  • Due diligence reviews, environmental disclosures, and other assistance in connection with corporate and real estate transactions.

Contamination

  • Prevailed at trial and on appeal in a case involving contamination of commercial property, recovering cleanup costs, and lost rental income.
  • Convinced a state radiation safety agency to reverse a decision that was impeding settlement of a major landlord/tenant dispute involving alleged contamination of an industrial building.
  • Represented the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority on environmental matters, including litigation involving gasoline contamination at Turnpike rest areas.
  • Settled hundreds of asbestos personal injury claims against a client for an average paid claim value of less than $1000.
  • Successfully tried a toxic tort insurance coverage action.

Brownfields

  • Successfully negotiated the ground lease of a brownfields site for a retail development and helped a condominium association ensure proper closeout of a brownfields site by a developer.

Water Quality

  • Negotiated a consent order for conversion of an apartment complex from septic systems to a private onsite wastewater treatment system.

Environmental

  • Addressed global environmental issues for a major multinational public company.
  • Provided environmental compliance counseling to clients in the life sciences, construction, energy, health care, financial services, and hospitality industries.
  • Won a trial against the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection before its own hearing officer, reversing state and local wetlands permitting and enforcement actions that had prevented a subsided commercial parking lot from being returned to its previously permitted elevation.
  • Settled a $3.8 million environmental property damage claim against a client for $450,000.
  • Obtained from state officials an unprecedented covenant not to sue, an agreement to establish a Special Review Procedure for a phased development project under MEPA, and a decision not to prosecute an alleged environmental crime in light of evidence of governmental acquiescence.
  • Helped draft the provisions of the Massachusetts Contingency Plan relating to Activity and Use Limitations and the Massachusetts Licensed Site Professional regulations, and helped reorganize the state’s approach to environmental enforcement actions to ensure greater consistency and predictability and distinguish criminal violations from those better redressed civilly or administratively.
  • Obtained a landmark decision from the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court upholding the state’s Hazardous Waste Facility Siting Act and developed a legal argument accepted by that court regarding application of the “discovery rule” in connection with statute of limitations defenses in private actions for environmental property damage.
  • Submitted appellate briefs to the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court and the Rhode Island Supreme Court that, respectively, opposed judicial expansion of the scope of MEPA to cover health risks unrelated to environmental releases, and helped reverse a trial court’s expansion of public nuisance doctrine to impose retroactive, unforeseeable, no-fault liability for the lawful sale of lead paint.
  • Helped “write the book” on assessment of indoor air contamination.
  • As common counsel to about 40 waste generators, negotiated an early settlement of a complex  private Superfund action, with settlement payments by each equaling less than the transaction costs of continued litigation alone.
  • Write and lecture extensively on topics of environmental law and litigation.