Enforcement Defense

When mistakes are made, you want someone who has “been there and done that” to help get you through something outside your comfort zone–the environmental enforcement process.

Defended Civil Enforcement Action Involving Steel Facility

Represented a major manufacturer charged with violation of its surface water discharge permit. Retained after the company had missed the relevant compliance timeline. Immediately put the client on a time path to compliance and defended the client in a civil enforcement proceeding during which the state demanded penalties in the amount of $2 million. The Court was impressed with the actions taken by the client to achieve compliance and, although it ultimately found in the state’s favor, assessed a penalty of only $50,000. Successfully used a site visit as a way of illustrating to the Court the company’s compliance efforts.

Defended Municipality in Sewage Enforcement Action

Represented a major city in an enforcement and compliance action relating to sewage treatment and disposal. Relations between the City and the State were very hostile. Met repeatedly with the mayor and City Council, designed a compliance strategy and successfully negotiated a settlement with the State. In addition, helped the City bring claims against one of its prior consultants for the defective design of its sewage storage system.

Resolved Contaminated Municipal Airport Crisis

Represented a city that wanted to expand its airport and had obtained federal funding for the expansion, but was about to lose that funding because the construction would have disturbed a pesticide landing strip. Retained experts and negotiated a successful compliance agreement. The solution required creativity because soil cleanup standards did not exist. Negotiated the removal of some of the pesticide-contaminated soil and the placement of the remaining soils under the runway (which served as a “cap” to prevent migration to groundwater).

Defended Civil Enforcement Action Against Paper Mill Facility

Represented a paper mill that discharged its effluent into a river that hosted rare and endangered sturgeon. Discharges from the manufacturing facility constituted 95 percent of the discharges into the municipal treatment system. The initial treatment system was defectively designed. To accommodate a plant expansion, retained consultants to design an advanced treatment system and demonstrated that discharges from the redesigned system would not adversely affect the sturgeon population.

Defended Use of Fluorocarbons

Represented a manufacturer of chlorofluorocarbons on proposed legislation that would have restricted their use in aerosol containers. Prepared a successful defense for the product even though significant research did not exist at the time.

Defended Use of Pesticides

Represented a manufacturer to defend the continued use of one of its pesticide products. The product, through normal use, had contaminated large areas of groundwater. The active ingredient in the product had been involved in an accidental release in a foreign country that killed several thousand people and caused an international incident. During the course of the case, additional incidents occurred in Canada and the United States which led to widespread opposition to the product’s use. In addition, a major university released a study suggesting that the product suppressed the human immune system. Regardless of that announcement, defended the product.

Defended Use of Herbicides

Represented a maker of a defoliant used by the forest industry to “knock down” broad-leaf vegetation that competes with the industry’s soft wood “crops.” Because the product contained minute amounts of dioxin as a result of the manufacturing process, the product was associated with the defoliant used in the Vietnam War. Successfully defended the use of the product.

Defended Chemical Manufacturer

Represented a company with respect to used chemicals in railroad cars stranded in a foreign state. The chemicals had been rejected by a recycling facility and could not be returned to the state of origin. Retained consultants to characterize the materials and then successfully represented the client before the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the applicable state environmental agencies. The material was eventually deemed not to be hazardous waste and was

Defended Claims of Groundwater Contamination

Represented a manufacturer against claims that its products had contaminated municipal drinking water supplies. Worked with a variety of consultants to quantify the number of wells affected and the cost to remediate the water produced by those wells. Helped develop a sophisticated hydrogeologic defense against claims asserting speculative damages.

Defended Municipality in Wastewater Discharge Enforcement Action

Represented a municipality that had “privatized” its wastewater treatment operations. After privatization, the plant operator experienced severe performance and personnel problems. As a result, the State brought serious enforcement actions against the municipality. Successfully negotiated a settlement with the state and contractor.

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