Environmental Practice Overview

We listen to and understand our clients’ environmental and business needs and are driven to: 

  • Help make our clients’ business plans a reality.
  • Move our clients’ development projects forward.
  • Turn brownfields into greenfields.
  • Establish the connections to take full advantage of existing state and local assistance and reimbursement programs.
  • Expedite the permitting process.
  • Identify and secure the insurance that will close deal gaps.
  • Resolve enforcement matters quickly and in the clients’ best interests.
  • Steer our clients through the Industrial Site Remediation Recovery Act (ISRA) process.
  • Manage environmental litigation in the most cost-effective, results-oriented manner possible.
  • Put our years of experience and contacts to use for our clients.
  • Provide the best in transactional counseling, regulatory compliance and environmental litigation services.
Site Remediation and Brownfields Development

By partnering with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) from the inception of the Brownfields program, we have forged productive relationships with key NJDEP personnel and assisted in developing many of the policies and procedures that govern brownfields today. When it comes to serving our clients, we are instrumental in setting up that critical first meeting with NJDEP personnel—from the Office of the Commissioner to the case manager—that sets the tone for the successful resolution of development and remediation projects. Forms we developed at the onset of the program are still being used by the New Jersey Commerce and Economic Growth Commission for reimbursement claims for qualifying remediation costs. 

Together with the lawyers in our Land Use and Real Estate Department, we take projects from infancy to completion by:

  • Identifying available and emerging properties and opportunities.
  • Obtaining the necessary municipal approvals.
  • Focusing upon financial and tax incentives.
  • Expediting the permitting.
  • Managing the environmental investigation and remediation.

Maximizing the liability and financial protection that can be afforded through innovative insurance products. We serve as our clients’ primary liaison with the NJDEP and coordinate all aspects of the process from cost-effective investigations to any necessary permits for off-site access. We provide our clients with effective management of environmental issues including site acquisition, local and state permitting, municipal approvals, development strategies, reimbursement of remedial costs and final site development.

The sale and purchase of contaminated property often involve developing strategies for redevelopment and productive re-use. We vigorously pursue economic incentives provided by brownfields programs and counsel our clients in the negotiation and purchase of insurance policies to prospectively manage risk.

Real Property and Business Transactions

Real property and business transactions are dynamic, swift-paced, constantly changing, time-challenged and of the utmost importance to the individuals and corporations involved, representing significant emotional and financial investments. Environmental matters are often key to the resolution of these transactions. We understand these issues and are uniquely positioned to provide immediate and expert advice. 

Our attorneys assist in analyzing and managing liability and compliance issues associated with leases, real property sales and purchases, as well as corporate acquisitions and divestitures. We draft contractual provisions related to the environmental liability issues that arise in connection with such transactions, including terms necessitated by state environmental laws such as ISRA.

Natural Resource Damages

When clients face actions for the recovery of natural resource damages, we step in quickly, advising them on the status of the outstanding litigation challenging New Jersey’s Natural Resource Damages claims and providing them with strategic counseling as to how to proceed. Close monitoring of developments in the management and allocation of natural resource damage risks has enabled us to provide our clients with the most up-to-date information relevant to their situation.

Wetlands and Waterfront Development

Wetlands is one of the obstacles that developers dread most. In concert with noted wetlands experts, we have been able to fashion creative solutions acceptable to the NJDEP and our clients that have enabled the planned development to move forward while preserving the natural environment. 

We assist in planning and permitting projects that impact federal and state regulated wetlands. We advise on the scope of these programs and assist with applications for letters of interpretation, general and individual permits, and transition area waivers. 

Waterfront development regulations are as daunting as wetlands. Understanding and negotiating the necessary permits and authorizations are key to the majority of development projects that are designed to take advantage of the logistic and aesthetic benefits provided by New Jersey waterfront areas.

Cleanup Cost and Insurance Recovery

Litigation may not always be the best answer, but when it is our litigation team has the experience and depth to effectively and strategically manage the process. Whether it is representing clients in the recovery of environmental cleanup costs or negotiating and litigating claims among neighbors, landlords, tenants and prior owners and operators, we continuously evaluate the best method to resolve an environmental dispute, be it trial, arbitration or mediation. 

We represent insurance policyholders in the recovery of cleanup costs and the pursuit of declaratory relief of responsibility for future expenses in connection with site remediation matters.

Compliance Counseling, Permitting and Enforcement Defense

We counsel clients in all aspects of environmental regulation including: air emissions; wastewater discharges; solid and hazardous waste transportation and disposal; permitting; and the siting, construction and operation of facilities. We also defend clients when orders and penalty assessments are imposed by federal, state and county agencies.

Auditing

Our role in plant-wide and company-wide environmental audits includes formulating the audit scope, structuring the audit to maintain any legal privileges that may protect the audit results, retaining consultants, gathering information and providing substantive legal advice.

Occupational Safety and Health

We provide guidance to clients concerning the scope and application of regulations, the liabilities attendant to their activities, and the appropriate response to issues arising during inspections or upon the issuance of citations. We represent clients in OSHA actions, seeking to resolve any issues or penalties in the most time- and cost-efficient manner possible.